Thursday’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:

    The mayor of New York is a bit of a foul ball:

    Healing crystals have long been a fixture in the spiritual and celebrity worlds – with Adele using them to ward off stage fright and Nicole Richie wearing a clear quartz around her neck for protection.

    But the New York City mayor, Eric Adams, believes that they have even more power than that: he professed in a recent interview that he believes there is a “special energy” that comes from the city he presides over, citing its location on a store of rare gems and stones.

    As the New York area news website Hell Gate has deftly pointed out, Adams may be the first “crystal guy” of politics. He regularly wears “energy stone bracelets” featuring an array of powerful crystals. And when he proclaimed a “vibe shift” is upon New York City, he wasn’t just talking about the return of low-rise jeans.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Miah Cerrillo, a fourth-grader at the Uvalde school, recounted how she watched as her teacher and friends were shot and acted quickly to save herself. Miah covered herself in a friend’s blood and played dead until she was able to reach her teacher’s phone and call police.

  3. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: This sort of thing has long been associated with the left, yet Adams is a centrist. In fact, last year when he was still a candidate in the primary (and I didn’t even place him among my five choices on my ranked-choice ballot), we progressives were treated to all the usual finger-wagging about how Adams’ victory was a sign of how out-of-touch the left was.

    Of course, the Flaky Left was always something that existed more in myth than reality. Quick Trivia: Who was the first US president to consult astrologers? (No cheating.)

  4. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: I’ll take this chance to repeat my prediction: Adam’s will leave office under indictment

  5. Mikey says:


    Miah covered herself in a friend’s blood and played dead until she was able to reach her teacher’s phone and call police.

    Who left her there to die too.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Wacky ideas can take root anywhere on the political spectrum and while I like to think I am immune to them, there is reason to think nobody is.

  7. KM says:

    Uvalde Mom Who Saved Her Children Says She’s Being Threatened By Law Enforcement

    Obstruction of justice how? For going in and doing their damn job or for telling people about it?

  8. Sleeping Dog says:


    Obstruction of justice how?

    Embarrassing the police. Isn’t that a near capital offense in most jurisdictions?

  9. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Yes. Both. Ah, you poor sweet things, did either of you really think otherwise?

    Since she hasn’t learned anything on probation, they’re going to hound her sorry criminal ass.

  10. Kathy says:

    I say junk the next two eps of Kenobi, and start working on a new series: Leia vs Reva.

  11. CSK says:

    Does everyone think that the televised Jan. 6 hearings tonight, starting at 8 p.m., will be a must-watch? The committee says that most of the video the committee plans to show hasn’t been seen before. Kinzinger says that “it’ll change history.”

  12. @CSK: Speaking as someone profoundly interested in the entire thing and who has high hopes (but realistic expectations) for the process, I will turn it on but am not super enthusiastic. I really would rather watch the new episode of “Strange New Worlds” and relax, so if I feel that way, how does most of America feel about it?

  13. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I think most people believe they’ve already seen as much video as they need/want to, but the committee is swearing that 90% of it is being made public for the first time.

  14. @CSK: There is also the fact that most people know that it will be summarized and repeated in various ways later–so why dedicate hours to this?

    I applaud the effort, but I also think that the “trying to replicate Watergate” bit is impossible. We are no longer in an era where if you are going to watch TV you have to watch what the networks show you.

  15. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Strange New Worlds drops until Friday, so that’s not a good excuse (but Young Justice drops today, and perhaps you missed Kenobi yesterday, so…)

    I was too young to even know about Watergate, but I recall the Iran-Contra hearings. these were on mostly during the morning, as I recall, and lasted several days, day after day. I’ve read this was so for Watergate, too, but involving a great many more people. Further, it’s my understanding during the Watergate hearings there were unexpected facts, some shocking, first aired at the hearings.

    I expect none of the above to happen this time.

    I probably won’t watch the hearings, either. Coming home after a long workday, that’s not exactly the healthiest thing to do. I may glance at the news before going to bed.

  16. @Kathy: SNW drops on Paramount+ in the US on Thursdays, so the temptation is real.

    I am way behind on Kenobi.

    The main thing I remember about the Watergate hearings was that they interrupted my cartoons during the day.

  17. Mu Yixiao says:


    It’s old-people night at the wine bar, and I’ve been informed that I’m required to attend (since I missed last week). Then SNW and Orville. Then sleep.

    Unfortunately no time to fit in listening to windbags bloviate strings of soundbytes for the cameras.

    I’ll read the synopsis on OtB tomorrow. 🙂

  18. gVOR08 says:

    The big difference between this and Watgergate is that Republicans went into the hearings planning to defend Nixon, but when they saw he had, indeed, committed impeachable crimes, they were willing to bow to the evidence. But more to the point, the Republican electorate weren’t going to punish them for accepting reality. Movement Conservatism , depending on definition, was only maybe a decade old. They’ve had five decades since to chip away at reality.

    I doubt they’ll get much of an audience for the hearings, and what audience they get will largely be self-selected to those already disposed to understand what happened. My only hope is that the hearings will influence the media. Maybe it will be a little harder for FOX to pretend nothing happened. Maybe it will be a little easier for what few MSM people who care about the threat to democracy to say so.

  19. Scott says:

    A little positivity for today.

    How a stranger’s kindness during WWII helped give us the Big Bang theory

    At 6, Arno Penzias had to escape the Nazis. A stranger from New Jersey sponsored him. That escape from the Holocaust allowed Penzias, years later (pictured above), to confirm a great leap forward for all humanity: the Big Bang Theory.

    It wasn’t until 2012 that the family of the Nobel-winning astrophysicist tracked down the identity of the sponsor. Bernard Yudin, a New Jersey paint merchant who had requested anonymity in his sponsorship, died in 1950 of cancer and never would know what Penzias did. Even the surviving Yudins didn’t know of Bernard’s kindness until they met the Penzias descendants.

    “He did what he did because it was right and didn’t mention it to anybody, Yudin’s great-grandson, Joe, tells Nat Geo. “He knew that they got out. I think that’s all he needed.” The younger Yudin noted that many geniuses were among the millions killed by the Nazis—and expressed gratitude that one shining star, Arno Penzias, escaped.

  20. JohnSF says:

    A Moroccan and two British-Ukrainians have been sentenced to death by a “court” in Russian occupied Donetsk.

    What the Russians want out of this piece of nastiness will doubtless become clearer.
    Possibilities: exchange for Russian war criminals convicted by Ukrainian courts; forced recognition by the UK of the occupation regime as a legitimate government via “negotiation”; or just outright bloody minded spite.

  21. Kathy says:

    About the January Putsch hearings, IMO it took to long to get to this point. Remember the testimony by Capitol and DC police? Then nothing for months and months. If you don’t follow politics, you may be forgiven for thinking nothing has happened since, assuming you even remember the earlier televised hearings.

  22. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I’m betting the speeder was very cramped.

    Reva and Leia remain excellent — best part of the show. I am really, really impressed with the kid actor, as well as the director and everyone around who helped get that performance out of her.

  23. Kathy says:


    This is the first time I could see Vader used to be Anakin. He threw a tantrum.

  24. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: It’s an odd performance.

    Vader was stiff in the original trilogy because of the costume (or, in universe, all the mechanical parts), and the choices of David Prowse, but Haydn Christensen puts a lot more fluid movement into it.

    Not sure whether James Earl Jones had his voice de-aged or whether it’s all AI generated. Sounds off, but we’ve never seen adult Vader have a temper tantrum before, so…

    It’s not bad, but it’s a lot more like the last three minutes of Revenge of the Sith than anything in the original trilogy.

  25. Kathy says:


    “Stop supplying arms to Ukraine, and we’ll return these two upstanding Britons only slightly beaten up.”

    It may also be a play aimed at the useful idiots on the right, who can now claim it’s foreigners and not real Russians who are pretending to be Ukrainians (the doublethink is hard to express in English).

  26. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Great Listen om Ezra Klein podcast about Liberals and the current Political landscape. Highly recommend

    “Anne Applebaum on what Liberals misunderstand about Authoritarianism”

  27. just nutha says:

    @CSK: What I read yesterday was that the committee hired some television producer or something to produce the broadcasts, so they’re hoping to juice the presentation in some way or another.

    As for me? I may be the only person still alive who didn’t watch the Watergate hearings, so draw whatever conclusion makes sense. Also, I suspect that as a streaming TV user, it will be difficult to watch them as I don’t have any news sources on my active sites.

  28. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    Not on streaming per se, but I suspect CNN will carry live video on their website. Other news website probably will as well. The Guardian, I expect, will have a live blog.

  29. JohnSF says:

    The bulk of right, left and centre in the UK are pretty solidly pro-Ukraine.
    IIRC polling is 70% in favour of Ukraine.
    15% against support. 15% dont know.
    And split is similar in most group divisions of polling.
    Conservative skew a bit more pro-military intervention, Labour a bit more pro-humanitarian, but its not that big a difference.
    Politically all the main parties are pro-Ukraine.
    Supplying Ukraine is the one redeeming policy of Johnson (or more accurately, of SecDef Wallace)

    The only real Ukrano-sceptics are some of the UKIP-py fringe of the Conservatives, the fascists of the BNP, and the fringe of tankies on the Left (not even all the Trots!)

    You can spot Ukrainian flags in all sorts of places (spotted one flying next to the Berkeley family flag at Spetchley Park Hall last weekend).
    Another minor anecdatum: both of my brothers have Ukrainian refugee families staying with them, as they had spare rooms available.

    If the Kremlin thinks we’ll stop supplying arms to Ukraine to buy back our people, they don’t know us too well.
    In the past couple of days UK has announced supply of M270 MLRS and Harpoon missile systems, knowing this verdict was coming.
    It was as certain as the sun rising in the east.

  30. Kathy says:


    The only real Ukrano-sceptics are some of the UKIP-py fringe of the Conservatives, the fascists of the BNP, and the fringe of tankies on the Left

    While it’s good to know the Vlad boosters 8actual or potential) are a small number, they nonetheless require to be fed misinformation they’ll believe, be outraged by, and try to take viral on social media and other channels. Else what are they good for?

    Not that there’s such a campaign as far as I’m aware, not outside the Mad Czar’s empire, but 1) not all attempts at campaigns of these sort succeed (I wonder what’s on the Brexit and Benito cutting room floors), 2) fatigue will set in eventually; it looks to be a very long war.

  31. Kathy says:

    We just had heavy rainfall go on for a while. Now a slight breeze is blowing, and it actually feels cool outside. It’s been at least six weeks since I felt anything while outside other than bearable temps or oppressive heat.

    It’s funny, because temps don’t rise much above 25-27 C (though it can get as high as 35 C inside a car that’s been parked in the sunlight all day long). I think it’s the humidity.

    I’m hoping the night will be cool enough I can get to sleep faster. I might even need to get under the covers for a change.

  32. Kylopod says:


    Not sure whether James Earl Jones had his voice de-aged or whether it’s all AI generated. Sounds off, but we’ve never seen adult Vader have a temper tantrum before, so…

    No. But in one of his very first scenes in the entire franchise, he puts a little more emotion into his voice than we’re used to. It’s kind of an example of what TV Tropes calls Early Installment Weirdness, as the idea that he speaks only in a cold monotone was something that (like the Imperial March) was developed later. (I’ve heard that some of the early Star Treks feature an emotional-sounding Spock, but I’ve never seen them.) At least until that “NOOOOO!!!” from Revenge of the Sith that was later inserted into the end of Return of the Jedi just before he tosses the emperor down the shaft.

    Speaking of which…I always found it weird in ROTS when he says the word “master” with an audible R-sound; Vader’s accent in the original trilogy was non-rhotic and he would have pronounced that word as “mast-uh” (as he did a couple of times). Either Jones got rusty (he hadn’t played the role in several decades) or they wanted to avoid calling attention to the fact that Jones’ accent in the original trilogy sounded nothing like Christensen’s (though to be fair, it also didn’t sound much like Sebastian Shaw, the British actor who plays old Anakin at the end of Jedi).

  33. dazedandconfused says:


    Probably a for-show verdict to discourage potential foreign fighters/mercs from signing up.

    Odds are they wind up being traded for Russian POWs like the other POWs. They know what would start happening to their guys if they start killing POWs, and that it discourages surrender so people go Kamikaze instead.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I’ll have to ask a friend of mine who uses his computer to watch news about this. I don’t and was at a school today showing Dances with Wolves to American Lit students and wouldn’t have been able to watch anyway.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “@Just nutha ignint cracker: I….. was at a school today showing Dances with Wolves to American Lit students”

    Who did you piss off? (ftr, I don’t think DwW is a bad film, just that the “white savior” syndrome* gets so thick by the end I wanted to puke the first time (only iirc) I saw it.

    *for a more recent example, see Avatar.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    Hmm, I think POTUS may have just flown over my house. I suspect a drop-in at Twenty-Nine.

  37. Kathy says:


    It’s kind of an example of what TV Tropes calls Early Installment Weirdness

    Yeah, did you notice he actually touched the person he shocked to death on that scene? Weird.

    (I’ve heard that some of the early Star Treks feature an emotional-sounding Spock, but I’ve never seen them.)

    In the first pilot ep, “The Cage,” with Capt. Pike and Majel Barret playing the first officer, there is one memorable scene where Spock has an outburst when female crew members are abducted off the transporter pad.

  38. Mikey says:

    Watching the Congressional hearing. Remind me to never get on the wrong side of Liz Cheney.

  39. Jax says:

    @Mikey: Hahahaha…paging Harriet Hageman.

    I’ve been switching back and forth between CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and CNN. It’s interesting watching the different play by plays with “experts” on each network.

  40. EddieInCA says:


    Sad thing is that despite the facts being presented, it won’t move the needle much, because Fox News isn’t carrying it.

  41. Jax says:

    @EddieInCA: The local Fox News stations are.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The students are studying the literature of the American transcendentalists, so their teacher thought this would provide them an opportunity to do one final writing assignment before the end of the term.

    I never got transcendentalism as a literary thing. I barely get it as a religo-philosophical thing.

    Tomorrow, I get to do alternative school kids again. They’re very low maintenance and don’t watch movies.

  43. Scott O says:

    I’m not watching the 1/6 hearings, I’m listening on NPR whilst playing with my IPad. A thought occurred. If the mob had actually managed to hang Mike Pence would that have been enough to move the needle, to cause “decent” Republicans to reject Trumpism? Grab ‘‘em by the pussy wasn’t enough, 1/6 wasn’t enough but maybe, maybe Pence being lynched would have been the breaking point? I’d like to think so but I suspect probably not.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: “Sad thing is that despite the facts being presented, it won’t move the needle much, because Fox News isn’t carrying it. 47% of Americans don’t give a [expletive, deleted] or believe the “tourists” were patriots thwarted in the goal of saving America.”


  45. Kylopod says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I never got transcendentalism as a literary thing. I barely get it as a religo-philosophical thing.

    Sort of proto-New Age. Belief in a kind of super-consciousness. Eric Adams would approve.

    But also gave us the important, influential essay “Civil Disobedience” by Thoreau, so it can’t totally be dismissed as useless mumbo-jumbo.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA: The hearings are a bit stilted, with too much legalese, and nothing so far that will be quoted.

    Too much “facilitated efforts to prevent the transfer of power”.

    I want “Donald Trump attempted to overturn the election. He attempted a coup. He is a traitor. Those who enable him are enabling treason.”

    That would stick.

    Let the right wing try to explain that it’s sedition not treason or whatever.

  47. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Follow up on the earlier thread: WaPo fired Sonmez