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:

    In addition to Orrin Hatch, Louisa Solano, 80, has died. I realize most of you have no idea who she was, but she ran the country’s most famous all-poetry bookstore in Cambridge, Ma. for decades.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On 19 February, Seminole county deputies arrived at a community clubhouse where fire rescue personnel were treating multiple wedding guests for “symptoms consistent with that of someone who has used illegal drugs”.

    Upon asking the bride and groom whether they had consented to or requested any of the food to contain cannabis products, the groom, Andrew Svoboda, “stared at [a deputy] with a blank expression for a few moments before stuttering through a ‘no’,” said their arrest warrant affidavit.

    Authorities tried to locate the manager of the catering service but found all of the catering staff leaving the premises. They collected used glassware and utensils, as well as food including lasagna, chocolate-covered strawberries and pudding “shots”.

    Wedding guests who were treated for symptoms reportedly said they felt “high”, “ill”, and “stoned”.

    One guest who ate the Caesar salad, tortellini and bread with an olive oil and herb dip said he “felt tingly, his heart started to race, and was having crazy thoughts”, adding that he had used marijuana years ago but that this experience “felt different to him”.

    Another guest who ate the salad, dip and three meatballs said he felt “weird, tingly, fidgety, and had extreme dry mouth”.

    One guest began vomiting, and another grew paranoid that her son-in-law had died and her family had not told her.

    One of the guests claimed to have seen the caterer reach into a punch bowl and remove a green substance, saying she could detect a “strong odor of marijuana”. So, according to the affidavit, she asked the caterer if there was marijuana in the food. The caterer “giggled and shook her head yes”, she said; the guest asked “if this was for real” and the caterer repeated “yes”.

    She wanted her wedding to be a high point of their lives.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Tigers star Miguel Cabrera delivered the 3,000th hit of his decorated career Saturday, becoming the 33rd major leaguer to reach the mark and the first player from Venezuela to accomplish the feat.

    Still an imposing presence at 39, Cabrera made history by grounding an opposite-field single to right through the shift in the first inning of Detroit’s game against Colorado. Cabrera immediately raised his right arm as he headed toward first base. The crowd at mostly full Comerica Park gave him a rousing ovation and chanted “Miggy! Miggy!” while fireworks were shot off from beyond the center field fence.

    The milestone hit came on a 1-1 pitch from Antonio Senzatela, a fellow Venezuelan, in the first game of a day-night doubleheader. Rockies shortstop José Iglesias, who played with Cabrera on the Tigers, came over to give his former teammate a big hug. By then, all the Tigers were streaming from the dugout to greet the newest member of baseball’s elite 3,000-hit club. Moments later, Cabrera went behind home plate to embrace his mother, wife, son and daughter on the field.
    Cabrera became just the seventh player with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. He joined an exclusive club with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Eddie Murray, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez.

    That has to be the most exclusive club in the world.

  4. Beth says:

    So, fun story. I’m currently at the hospital waiting to get admitted to the ER. It feels like my stomach just died. Omg. This hurts so bad.

    Fun way to spend a Sunday.

  5. Jon says:

    @Beth: Good luck! Happy thoughts your way.

  6. CSK says:

    Well, that sounds awful. Keep us abreast of what happens.

  7. Beth says:

    What has me really freaked out is this hurts way worse than when I had diverticulosis. Feels like lava poured in my abdomen. The anti-nausea meds helped for about 5 minutes, but they’re not helping any more.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: If it were up to me, I would put it even a bit more exclusive: Alex Rodriquez shouldn’t be included in any official stats as far as I’m concerned.

    [Grumpy old man flamethrower off]

  9. MarkedMan says:

    Beth, we are rooting for you

  10. Michael Cain says:


    That has to be the most exclusive club in the world.

    Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets became the first NBA player to ever get 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a single regular season this year.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Yeah, I get the gripe, I just don’t feel quite that strongly about it.

    @Michael Cain: Too cool.

    @Beth: Not fun. Fingers and toes crossed.

  12. Beth says:

    Thank you everyone. I’m mostly trying to talk to all sorts of people to take my mind off the incredible pain and because I’m a drama Queen.

    I got admitted and the nurse gave me the morphine so fast I almost rocketed out of the bed. It still hurts so bad though.

  13. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “The caterer “giggled and shook her head yes””

    This makes me crazy when I see it in scripts — and here, too. You can’t shake your head yes. A head shake means no. You nod yes.

    I despair for this country…

  14. CSK says:

    I agree. Nod: Yes. Shake: No.

    The fact that you have to qualify shaking your head with yes proves that the expression is meaningless because it’s self-contradictory.

  15. Kathy says:


    In your next conversation, try saying “yes” while shaking your head, or “no” while nodding.

    People get really confused when I do that.

    One time someone asked me to change a large bill. I shook my head and said “sure, no problem, ” and they walked away disappointed, holding their large note.


    If you want to test whether people pay attention to a written narrative, insert something less conventional than that, like “They then let go of the cup sitting on the table ten feet away.”

  16. Mimai says:


    My instinct is to join you in despair.

    Upon reflection… We often do send “contradictory” signals. And especially when under stress. In this case (stressful, IRL), I can absolutely imagine the person shaking their head while verbalizing a “yes.”

    Now, do I think the reporter is intentionally capturing this “contradiction” in their article? I wouldn’t bet on it.

    More interestingly, you are both writers (I’m 99% confident this is accurate), so I’m wonder how you capture these “contradictions” in your work. That is, do you have a way of capturing this that the reader understands is intentional (rather than sloppy writing) and that vividly depicts the complexity of human communication? But that doesn’t insult the reader with an explicit explanation.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: In your next conversation, try saying “yes” while shaking your head, or “no” while nodding.

    Heh, I used to do that with my sons just to mess with them. It’s harder to do than one might think.

  18. CSK says:

    A sentence such as that one could only appear in a self-published book.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @wr: In Fiji they nod “no” and shake “yes”. Very disorientating

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @Beth: It might be a gallbladder attack. I had two episodes last year which I was convinced was indigestion, got myself over to the hospital in the second case, and was quickly diagnosed for gallstones etc.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  21. Beth says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The Dr is starting to suspect that. The X-ray and MRI were negative except for some “sludge” in the gall bladder. Next stop is ultrasound.

    The morphine was doing a decent job of controlling the pain until I had to drink the barium goop. Then all hell broke loose.

  22. mattbernius says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    As a martial arts instructor of a “soft” martial art, I dealt with this sort of attitude a lot.

    Jay, I just saw this one on the Tucker Carlson Testicle Tanning post and wanted to follow up on which art you teach. My guess from the use of “soft” was Aikido or one of the Chinese Internals.

    I have a background in Chinese and Filipino arts. Most of my focus these days is BJJ (just got my purple belt). I keep thinking about Judo, but I feel to dang old for it’s particular form of “gentle.”

  23. Matt bernius says:

    How you feel better soon Beth and they are able to properly diagnose what you have ASAP!

  24. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Just got caught up on the threads from the last few days. Been a little busy lately to OTB on a daily basis. The Dems losing thread was particularity of interest…. Highly likely that happens but there are options to be deployed despite structural disadvantages.

    But frankly that would require Democrat’s self examinations of themselves and their objectives. In my view, the Party is a coastal party defined by a white collar coalition that is highly educated and/or highly skilled across its spectrum. As such, it speaks to those types of people in what appears to be a strategy to turn out more of those than Republicans. The downside of this is that strategy bakes in geographic disadvantages that amplifies Republican influence from the areas the Democrats base do not live in.

    What can be done Michael asks ? First, a commitment to engage R-leaning and solid R voters on their terms in their love language. Democrats message as if every voter is or should be an academic. Non-Academically inclined people do not resonate with academically packaged appeals. For this reason, I take a different tact in communicating with my blue collar employees than with my managers. Yes, even if that means an occasional dirty, non-PC joke with the right audience. I play to win.

    Second, commit to messaging on the mediums to counter R mis-information. This means radio and public access. You can frame anything in the language of Techocrats and avoid overt Partisan branding. For example, DeSantis could be ripped on the implementation of the Disney special district policy…without virtue signaling the overall culture war in the backdrop. There’s assholey, freedom of speech, a LOT there to trash him with Rs as incompetent and un patriotic. I just focus tested those arguments with a break room of Rs and they ate it up. They know he’s an idiot…but he’s THEIR idiot. Fox News sits at the top of a very large ecosystem of information media. Living the past year in DeSantistan, I know Fox is where they go to have their views repeated and corroborated. The foundation is shaped WELL before that. Fox previously shaped views but spun off a cottage industry of media that does that for them.

    Which leads to my final point. The dynamic I just described is only possible through the dehumanization campaign which Ailes borrowed from the Russians. R voters tolerate their standard of living and R politician assholery because the RW media ecosystem has successfully dehumanized them. This has to be accounted for in messaging. I should see images of prominent Dems at Church and other normal things as tangible counter narratives.

    Hope is not lost…but if Democracy is indeed in peril, the activities one would expect to see in preparation of this November are not occurring. Since they are not occurring, it’s probably not that in-peril and more so a tactic to drive turnout of their own choir which is simply not going to be enough to do governance. Turnout theory was a paradigm change that produced…now the well is dry. The first one to move back to the persuasion model will win. That will require a vast retooling of the Party plumbing towards outreach…which Stacy Abrams test piloted…and proved the concept. The voters are there and waiting to be engaged.

  25. Jay L Gischer says:

    @mattbernius: I taught jujitsu, also known as ‘the way of bending’. Yeah, the mat beats the crap out of you, but it’s good for you! One woman I trained with, a delightful gray-haired small lady with a black belt, said her doctor said not only did she have no issue with osteoporosis, she had the bones of a 25-year-old. Mild bumping or jarring stimulates this – in her case the falling down.

    And as you get better at falling, the falls don’t get you as much as the getting back up again.

    But the falling down thing is a big part of the psychology. To most who walk in the door, falling down is BAD. It means I LOSE. MUST NOT DO!

    We rewire them to think, “Falling down is fun! Let’s fall down together! OH, what? You don’t know how? You don’t like it? Such a pity!!!”

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Thanx for that little tidbit. I had always wondered if it was cultural conditioning or somehow hard wired into our DNA. Now I know.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:


    Also in Sri Lanka. Years ago, I worked with 2 Ceylonese women, a conversation with them had you paying much closer attention to head movement than you might otherwise.

  28. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: That does not sound fun.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: One thing I learned about morphine when I collapsed my lung: It doesn’t make the pain go away, but it’s a beautiful pain.

  30. Matt bernius says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Thanks for the reply. I love traditional Japanese Jujitsu… Specifically stuff in the Aiki branches.

    Honestly I don’t mind falling in general. I think the spectrum of Judo that scares me is the slightly less cooperative aspect to it. And the coming up to speed on learning to throw yourself instead of getting thrown if you know what I mean.

    We are supposedly getting a crash pad at our school. Once we have that in place I think I will give it a try.

  31. Matt bernius says:

    Shoot, not Aiki… Diato-Ryu branch. I know a bunch of folks who do that.

  32. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Matt bernius: Right. My ryu is Danzanryu, founded by an immigrant, Henry Okazaki, who lived in Hawaii.

    And excessive rigidity is somehow in my mind associated with a sort of old-school masculinity: I am tall and proud and unbending and always right. That attitude has physical manifestations and consequences that are painful and unhealthy.

    It can take a while to drill that out of people but they are much happier once we do it.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I should see images of prominent Dems at Church and other normal things as tangible counter narratives.

    On of the things I like about Pete Buttigieg is that he wears his religion on his sleeve, and his actions are guided by it — he demonstrates that one can pick and choose the good parts of Christianity rather than just the bad parts.

    I’m not religious, but I recognize that the vast majority of Americans are. The aggressive secularism of the left — the condescension towards religion as a whole among the further left, and the quiet religion on the down low of the moderate left — cedes a lot of ground to the Republicans.

    Mayor/Secretary Pete has a lot of other issues (have you seen the man eat a cinnamon bun? pure insanity), but he does that well.

    That said, it’s not like the Christian Conservatives rallied around a particularly devout man. But they do rally around who their religious leaders rally around, so more aggressively opening up the possibilities of acceptable religion will have an effect.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: the quiet religion on the down low of the moderate left — cedes a lot of ground to the Republicans…. That said, it’s not like the Christian Conservatives rallied around a particularly devout man.

    And when a devout liberal Christian like Obama shows his bonafides, they call him a Muslim, or if a devout Catholic like Biden goes to Mass every Sunday they say… I’ll be honest, what do they say about Biden’s life long Catholicism? Do they just call him a papist?

    Let’s face it guys, no Liberal can ever be Christian enough for a certain breed of Christian, while all a Republican has to do is hold an upside down Bible in his hand while standing in front of a church and they will hold a prayer circle for him while announcing to the world that he is the chosen one. It’s almost like they don’t believe a damn thing they are saying.

  35. Kurtz says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Yes, even if that means an occasional dirty, non-PC joke with the right audience. I play to win.

    This is an art that seems to be oft overlooked IMO. If one can tell the same joke to two audiences with opposite views and both groups laugh, one is a master.

  36. Matt Bernius says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    I want familiar with Danzanryu before now. I know a lot of West Coast styles come through Hawaii. It’s interesting how much martial arts in the US tend to align to coastal cities.

    Looking at the history I see that Wally Jay based a lot of Small Circle Jujitsu on Danzanryu. That I am sadly familiar with (sadly for my fingers in this case).

  37. Mimai says:

    @mattbernius: Major congrats on your purple belt. That’s a big deal!

    I didn’t really understand top pressure until I rolled with an advanced purple belt. Popped an intercostal in the process. Oof. [Additional context: I’m built like a runner. He’s built like a fire hydrant.]

    Re judo, in my experience, good coaching is especially important in this domain. And especially difficult to find. Caveat emptor, choose wisely, etc. But of course, you already know this. Good luck!

  38. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Matt Bernius: Yes, Wally Jay’s thing is definitely based on the same transmission, though he and his group were not in my organization. I have worked out with them at a couple of things, though. Good stuff, and very familiar. We don’t focus as much on fingers, but we absolutely do that stuff.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: I eat cinnamon buns by unrolling them from the outside, but still holding the bun frosted side up. Is that wrong?

  40. Beth says:

    I’ve been admitted to the the hospital for observation. It sounds like the issue is hall stones. They are trying to decide whether or not they take the gall bladder out today or sometime in the next week or so. It’s apparently no infected or inflamed, but given the circumstances it’s gonna have to go at some point.

    I was actually feeling better and resting comfortably until I ate some broth that tasted like feet and had some apple juice. Now everything is going bonkers again.

  41. CSK says:

    Sorry to hear about the necessity for surgery, but you’ll feel a lot better after it’s done.

  42. Beth says:

    Well, in the “My Life is Absurd” department:

    The hospital just went on lock down because there is a guy claiming to have a gun in an elevator.

    They had an alarm go off that said “armed intruder present, shelter in place”

    Oi vey

  43. Matt Bernius says:

    Thanks for the congrats. I was definitely very proud of the accomplishment (more so than any other rank I’ve earned in other martial arts). The funny part was I didn’t know I was testing until I got to that class (I had assumed I would be in the next group testing). So that was a bit of pressure.

    I take it from what you wrote that you’ve done some BJJ or submission grappling. We tend to be a pressure heavy school, so even our blue belts are pretty good at dropping it. That said, man the amount it goes up by rank is incredible. In particular their ability to really concentrate it in one spot. Roy Harris, we’re in his organization, said something so helful during his last visit to our school. He talked about essentially using top pressure to target specific pressure points on the body to bake people. That really has changed my practice.