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. MarkedMan says:

    Happy Mothers Day, to all the OTB comment section moms!

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nearly every day after it first opened, painter John Kinnear and his wife Audrey enjoyed lunch at the Villa, a restaurant run by the Demases in London, Ontario. And each day, the only meal Kinnear would ever order was a grilled cheese sandwich.

    “Mind you, it wasn’t just an ordinary grilled cheese. It was a great sandwich, with a five-year-old cheddar and beautiful bread,” said Irene.

    Demas would visit artisan bakeries each morning before the restaurant opened, selecting freshly baked loaves and a “wonderful cheddar that John just loved”.

    She’d slather on butter, grilling the slices of whole grain bread until crisp, all for C$2.95. But the repetitive order nonetheless frustrated Demas, who would try to coax her stubborn patron into trying new dishes and daily specials. “He never budged. He just loved that sandwich.”

    The first painting the couple received from Kinnear was a watercolour of Jumbo, a famous elephant who was hit and killed by a train in the town of St Thomas, Ontario.

    One day, Kinnear came in with a selection of new paintings. Demas emerged from the kitchen and saw half a dozen pieces propped up on the tables and chairs of the restaurant.

    “I just sat there in silence for quite a while. I’d never ever seen any art like that before. At first I thought they might be playing or some sort of trick on me,” she said of the bright colours and simple content of the works. “Did a kid do some of these?”

    Kinnear told the couple of an artist he’d met out in the province of Nova Scotia, a woman who was “so poor she didn’t have the right things to paint on”, resorting instead to scraps of wood and the leftover paint fishermen used on their boats.

    “He felt sorry for her,” said Demas. Kinnear sent Lewis some boards prepped for painting, a handful of which she returned to him with completed works.

    Of the selection that day, the only painting that stood out to Demas was one of a black truck. She was pregnant at the time and thought the scene might look nice on her son’s wall, where it has remained until now.

    It might go for as much as $35K(Canadian) at auction. That’s one hell of a grilled cheese sandwich.

  3. Kathy says:

    the side effects from the AZ vaccine wore off around 10 am yesterday. By then it was too late to go to the store for groceries (too crowded), but I had planned on going Sunday to the office to finish some work.

    Alas, I was too sleepy, so I took a mid-morning nap.

    Oh, well. I woke up around noon. then watched some TV*, then had lunch at 2, then took another nap until 4 pm. By then it was too late to go to the office or the store (sure it was).

    So, it’s almost 9 am and I’m at the office finishing some work, after having gone to the store. Next I have to cook (chicken milanesas on a bed of fettuccine with mushroom and garlic sauce). For the life of me, I can’t see how I’ll have time to finish season 1 of Star trek Prodigy.

    BTW, the first ep, where there are robots and no one speaks the same language and there’s no Federation around, felt more like Star Wars than Star Trek to me.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On a spring morning three years ago, a new recruit to a loyalist Syrian militia was handed a laptop belonging to one of Bashar al-Assad’s most feared security wings. He opened the screen and curiously clicked on a video file, a brave move given the consequences if anyone had caught him prying.

    The footage was unsteady at first, before it closed in on a freshly dug pit in the ground between the bullet-pocked shells of two buildings. An intelligence officer he knew was knelt near the hole’s edge in military fatigues and a fishing hat, brandishing an assault rifle and barking orders.

    The rookie militiaman froze in horror as the scene unfolded: a blindfolded man was led by the elbow and told to run towards the giant hole that he did not know lay in front of him. Nor did he anticipate the thud of bullets into his flailing body as he tumbled on to a pile of dead men beneath him. One by one, more unsuspecting detainees followed; some were told they were running from a nearby sniper, others were mocked and abused in their last moments of life. Many seemed to believe their killers were somehow leading them to safety.

    When the killing was done, at least 41 men lay dead in the mass grave in the Damascus suburb of Tadamon, a battlefront at the time in the conflict between the Syrian leader and insurrectionists lined up against him. Alongside piled heaps of dirt that would soon be used to finish the job, the killers poured fuel on the remains and ignited them, laughing as they literally covered up a war crime just several miles from Syria’s seat of power. The video was date-stamped 16 April 2013.

    A paralysing nausea took hold of the recruit, who instantly decided the footage needed to be seen elsewhere. That decision has led him, three years later, on a perilous journey from one of the darkest moments of Syria’s recent history to the relative safety of Europe. It has also united him with a pair of academics who have spent years trying to get him – the prime source in an extraordinary investigation – to safety while identifying the man who directed the massacre and persuading him to admit his role.

    It’s a bit of a long read, more than a little like something John le Carre would write, but well worth the time.

  5. gVOR08 says:

    Apparently Meghan McCain has a book out and blames Steve Schmidt for her father picking Sarah Palin. Schmidt says Palin was all Rick Davis’ responsibility. Davis of the consulting firm Davis-Manafort.

    Well, Schmidt is not having it anymore. He beholds his field and finds it bereft of fucks.

    He’s been posting long Twitter threads,

    Schmidt informs MM that her dad spent his 70th birthday aboard Oleg Deripaska’s yacht and that it was Davis’s grotesque Russia connections that caused McCain’s campaign to implode in the summer of 2008.

    Schmidt says of Meghan,

    I was the first adult that @MeghanMcCain ever encountered that she heard the word NO from. I told her she was unimportant and that the Presidential election wasn’t about her. I left her on the tarmac when she didn’t make the plane because as I explained to her, the 5000 peoplewho were waiting to see her father speak and took the time to do it deserved to have him show up on time. That was the way John McCain saw it. He was appalled by @MeghanMcCain conduct on the campaign. Appalled and embarrassed. The tantrums were beyond anything I have ever witnessed from any other human being. They were epic meltdowns that would test the range of Meryl Streep, Kate Winslett, Jodi Foster and Anne Hathaway on their best days. Raging, screaming, crying, at the staff, at the makeup people at Secret Service.

    I do hope some day we seriously investigate the tie$ between the Republican Party and Russia.

  6. CSK says:

    Something I don’t get about Meghan McCain: Her husband, Ben Domenech, adores Trump. McCain loathes Trump. How do they co-exist in the same house, never mind zip code?

  7. Kathy says:

    If the US is sanctioning companies and individuals involved in Russian propaganda, shouldn’t they go after Murdoch and News Corp.?

  8. gVOR08 says:

    Re: primaries.

    From WAPO, Maryland Gov. Hogan has been walking a line between his Catholic believe that abortion is wrong and his Republican believe that getting elected in a Blue state is good. Now he, like half the GOPs in the country, is considering a run for prez. The lege voted a small fund to train additional abortion providers. Hogan is withholding the money.

    The governor’s move comes as he weighs a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in primaries whose voters are much more likely to oppose abortion rights than most Marylanders. In that context, his action to block a modest funding program to expand access to safe abortions might look like smart politics. But it’s not straight-dealing for the people who elected him to the office he holds.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: Like Michael Corleone said, “It’s nothing personal – It’s strictly business.” Republicans are the true post-modern party. They believe everything and nothing, whatever furthers their careers. Plus Meghan doesn’t seem terribly bright.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    From The Hill:

    Republican Rep. Nancy Mace (S.C.) on Sunday said she supports exceptions for abortions in the case of rape, incest and life of the mother, citing her personal experience with rape when she was a young girl.

    Two comments:
    -First, this is the perfect example of the Conservative stereotype: someone who can only marshal empathy when the circumstances match their own.
    – Second, if a fetus at the moment of conception is a “pre-born” human (something I consider airy-fairy nonsense) with a soul and feelings and fears, then abortion is murder, full stop. The fact that ol’ Nancy thinks she should be allowed to murder her own pre-born child because she feels sufficiently traumatized but everyone else is simply an immoral POC is a load of BS.

  11. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan:..Republican Rep. Nancy Mace (S.C.)

    I read the Face the Nation transcript dated May 8, 2022. She did say that she was raped however she never said that she aborted her fetus. Apparently we are to assume that she did.
    I also note that she did not answer the question: “Do you think President Trump is still the leader of your party?”
    She does say: “And I think he’s been- been given bad advice.”
    I guess Representative Mace is talking about Trump here as she refers to her primary opponent as “her”*.

    *A quick check of Ballotpedia shows two female opponents to Representative Mace.

    Incumbent Nancy Mace, Katie Arrington, and Lynz Piper-Loomis are running in the Republican primary for U.S. House South Carolina District 1 on June 14, 2022.

  12. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    She does say: “And I think he’s been- been given bad advice.”

    She’s right about that. Didn’t Benito brag in 2016 he doesn’t need advisors because he’s so smart? If so, he advises himself, and the logic is inexorable.

  13. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: Also there’s the obvious implication that a woman has no agency over her own body until after she’s already been violated.

  14. Mimai says:

    Re your second point (and removing the individual politician in this case so as to flesh out the idea):

    A pro-life (or anti-abortion or whatever term you prefer) politician might prefer a world of zero abortions. And as such, might prefer an absolutist policy/law. “No abortions. No exceptions.”

    And might realize the impossibility of this (near term or ever) preference in the current world. And seeking to avoid making the perfect the enemy of the good, that politician might support a limited exception to the preferred “No abortion” policy/law. If that politician thought that such an exception would make the policy/law palatable enough to pass.

    Of course, this would not achieve the desired preference of a zero-abortion world. It would however drastically reduce the number of abortions.

    Insert requisite von Bismarck quote here.

  15. CSK says:

    The white supremacists are against the overturning of Roe. They are quite open about maintaining that pregnant Black and Hispanic women should be encouraged to abort.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Mimai: So, just the usual Republican lying. “We are only doing this for the health of the mother”, “We accept Roe as settled law”, “We don’t intend this ruling to endanger gay marriage”, etc etc etc.

    Bottom line, never believe a word a Republican says.

  17. Jay L Gischer says:

    @gVOR08: My sense is that the US Security establishment has a pretty good idea of what’s happening, but guys like Deripaska are good enough at “arms length” operations that there’s not much they can do about it. Not until Russia invaded Ukraine, that is.

  18. Mimai says:

    I don’t understand your response. Well, I understand the words and the sentiment, just not in the context of what I wrote.

    A lot of people do truly believe that abortion is wrong. And that it should be eliminated. And if not eliminated, reduced in number.

    And some of those “a lot of people” are politicians. And as politicians, they act in, um, politician-like ways in order to advance their preferences. And this behavior, in and of itself, doesn’t negate their original belief.

    That is my perspective. You may have a different one. But I couldn’t tell from your response.

  19. Jay L Gischer says:
  20. Kathy says:

    One is tempted to say “and so it begins.” But it really began a long time ago.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    Mexico is rerouting a major rail link to avoid Texas

    For those of us who hit a Dallas Morning News paywall try these links:
    San Antonio Current
    KXAS-TV NBC5 Dallas-Fort Worth
    Despite being neighbors I wonder how many Texas Republicans think that New Mexico is not a part the United States.

  22. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mister Bluster: It’s weird. I ran into something that looked like a paywall, but I was able to read the article anyway.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jay L Gischer:..paywall
    Some sites give 1 or 2 0r 3 free items usually at the beginning of a month. I can never keep track of any of that. Seems like I get a message from some sites that I have used my free article limit when I know that I have not read anything from that site. Like the message I just got from the Dallas Morning News that I have reached my limit of 3 free articles this month. I am almost certain that I have not visited the Dallas Morning News site this month. However my memory is just about shot and I am easily confused.

  24. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Cracker, saw your recent post on the other topic. Glad you’re up and doing better!