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. wr says:

    Wokity woke woke wokity woke.

    Maybe THAT will get a discussion started this morning…

  2. JohnSF says:

    You trying to wake the whole neighbourhood?

  3. wr says:

    @JohnSF: It’s that or actually do some work.

  4. Kathy says:

    Bad news for all who expected the snarkiest, funniest airline rebranding: Spirit has rejected Frontier’s merger bid, and will likely agree to be consumed by JetBlue.

  5. CSK says:

    Trump says he intends to sue CNN and other media outlets for making false and defamatory statements about him.

  6. Scott says:

    @CSK: Seems like CNN and other media outlets can respond in kind.

  7. Barry says:

    @CSK: I would love that; discovery would not be his friend.

  8. CSK says:

    @Scott: @Barry:
    According to the filing, Trump “subjectively” believes it’s true that he won the election.

  9. Michael Reynolds says:


    It’s that or actually do some work.

    My daily dilemma.

  10. Kathy says:


    First, until Benito files, it’s just bluster.

    Second, who’d be stupid enough to represent him? There’ll be no massive award to take a cut off, and Cheetoman is notorious for not paying his bills.

    Third, since the election si widely regarded as having been free and fair, Team Orange would have to prove there was fraud, and that CNN knew this and still published what they did.

    It’s a lose-lose proposition.

  11. CSK says:

    The RNC is paying all Trump’s legal bills. His team has filed a 282 page noticed of intent. They want CNN to retract all the statements about “The Big Lie.”

  12. Scott says:

    @CSK: Speaking of defamation suits:

    Former Covington Catholic Student Nick Sandmann Loses Defamation Lawsuits Against CBS, ABC, NYT, and Others

    After years of politically charged litigation, former Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann has lost a round of high-profile defamation lawsuits against five mainstream media companies at the summary judgment stage.

  13. Kathy says:


    Oh, ok.

    But what else would they do with all that donor money, right?

    So, it’s not a lose-lose proposition, but a lose-lose-lose one. Very efficient.

  14. Kathy says:


    I suppose it’s hard to win a defamation case when the plaintiff has a Morden smirk in their best known picture.

  15. CSK says:

    Well, the RNC has informed Trump that they’ll cut off the legal fee gravy train if he runs for president, so I guess he has to ride the train before it gets taken out of service.

    Of course, that also means that they think he’s going to run.

    Interesting that Trump would announce his intent to sue right after the RNC says it won’t foot his legal bills.

  16. CSK says:

    Oh, and Trump has asked the court for “absolute immunity” from any Jan. 6-related lawsuits.

  17. Scott says:

    @Kathy: This is a little dark given the age of young Mr. Sandmann. So consider it directed at his sponsors>

    I’d like to live just long enough to be there when they cut off your head and stick it on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price. I would look up at your lifeless eyes and wave like this.
    [He gives Morden a mockingly cheerful finger waggle.]
    Can you and your associates arrange this for me, Mr. Morden?

  18. Kathy says:


    That was one of my favorite scenes on Babylon 5.

    Later on in the story arc, we get to see Morden’s head as Vir wanted, and he does wave at his lifeless eyes.

    Though he’s quite less cheerful when that happens.

  19. JohnSF says:

    A line with a lot of applicability in the recent affairs of several nations.

  20. Beth says:


    The first thing I would do is file a sanctions motion directed solely at his attorneys. He might have a subjective believe, but his attorneys are not allowed to jettison objective reason. Nuke them and continue to nuke them. Any attorney who files this garbage needs to be beaten into submission by the profession. Please note, I say this as one hell of a mercenary attorney.

    One of the reasons that so many of these chuds manage to stay in power is the support of the idiots underneath them. Make those morons pay. “Oh, hey, so I’m glad you spent all that money on schooling, and went to the best expensive law school, and spent all those long tedious hours at big law getting ground to dust and getting yelled at; you’re disbarred.”

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: Everything about that case was bad. A misleading image of him on Twitter leads to a frenzy of progressive censure which then led to him becoming embraced by the right in a death grip bear hug. The school trip chaperones who didn’t have the common sense not to put a bunch of high school kids as spectators literally in the middle of a highly charged and rapidly escalating protest clash, with hundreds of people filming on their cell phones. I hope that kid can get away from it all someday and figure out who he is without a thousand shorty voices trying to do it for him.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: What’s a “Morden Smirk”? Google was no help…

  23. Scott says:

    I think very few can wield a filet knife like a Never Trumper.

    Mike Pence Sold His Soul for Nothing

    Poor Mike Pence. You remember Mike Pence—he’s the guy who defeated a roomful of lickspittles to claim the obsequiousness grand prize at a 2017 cabinet meeting, praising the dear leader once every 12.5 seconds. Well, it seems that Mike Pence thinks he has a shot at the presidency. He’s building a campaign team, has made numerous trips to Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and is appearing at campaign events for candidates challenging Trump-supported nutters.

    Pence prostituted his reputation for Christian piety to the most vile figure in the history of American presidential politics, a man who modeled the opposite of every virtue taught in Sunday school. Pence lent his credibility as a religious man to a villain, and gave permission to millions of self-styled Christians to vote for him. Pence’s pious conscience was remarkably quiescent when Trump encouraged his followers to rough up hecklers; when he bore false witness against Muslim Americans (falsely claiming that he saw them celebrating after 9/11); when he attempted to extort the president of Ukraine to lie about Joe Biden; when he separated asylum-seeking parents from their children; when he refused to condemn the tiki-torch Nazi wannabes in Charlottesville; when he elevated a series of kooks and conspiracists to high office; and when he insisted that the election had been stolen.

    Pence was fine with all of it.

  24. Kathy says:


    Morden was am unctuous bad guy in Babylon 5 who smirked most of the time. Even, I think a few minutes before he was executed. The smirk was highly irritating.

  25. CSK says:

    I was just going to post this. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

    Good piece.

  26. Stormy Dragon says:


    Second, who’d be stupid enough to represent him? There’ll be no massive award to take a cut off, and Cheetoman is notorious for not paying his bills.

    Believe it or not, Trump’s lawyer for this lawsuit is named James M. Trusty

  27. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Hmmm. One of the meanings of “trusty” is a prisoner who’s been given privileges in return for good behavior.

  28. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Reality is absurd.

  29. JohnSF says:

    In the race to replace Boris Johnson polling indicates the campaign slogan that resonates most with the general public: “Come Swiftly, Sweet Meteor of Doom!”

    …among those Tory voters the party is currently losing to Labour…
    Sunak: -25 net favourability
    Truss: -45
    Johnson: -90
    Starmer is on +57

    Those being among crucial “swing” votes Tories must hold.

    Among all groups polled net fav. figures are:
    Starmer -18; Sunak -30; Truss -32; Johnson -45
    Toast, I tell ‘ee, toast.

  30. CSK says:

    Trump’s excuse for hosting the Saudis at Bedminster is that “nobody’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11.”

    There’s a photo of him in the Daily News. He looks as if he’s gained another 30 pounds.

  31. Kathy says:

    I think I may have come up with an answer to the question “When will the COVID pandemic be over?”


    Someone I know how just got over it this Monday, invited me to a large family lunch this weekend. I declined. Today at the office, one of the mangers suggested a department party in September at his place. Fewer people are wearing masks in public places where masking isn’t enforced.

    So, don’t worry if you’ve been missing out. COVID will have us to kick around for a long, long time. So long as new variants come up, we’ll never catch up fast enough through vaccination or even prior infection. We’ll always be vulnerable, and we’re eager to spread it.

    Oh, it may go endemic and perform rolling outbreaks that never stop. It’s not seasonal, though it kind of hits harder in winter when its prey* spreads it more efficiently. But it’s always around.

    The Johns Hopkins tracker states there have been 574.5 million cases total worldwide. We know this figure is inaccurate due to insufficient testing. It might be double that, or 1.5 times that. In any case, there’s plenty of tasty human ACE2 receptors to feast on yet.

    *The species who everyday makes more of a mockery of the sapiens part of our name.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    Saw this Illinois personalized License Plate yesterday here in Sleepytown:
    DR WHY

  33. Gustopher says:

    Bernard Cribbins, beloved by all the the Doctor Who fandom as Wilf, (grandfather of Catherine Rate’s character Donna Noble) has died of being 93.

    Bernard Cribbins, a British actor who had roles on “Doctor Who” and “Fawlty Towers,” and whose contributions to children’s programs delighted young audiences over a career that spanned seven decades, has died, his agent said on Thursday. He was 93.

    He was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2011 for his contributions to the arts. In addition to dozens of roles in film and television, he recorded the 1960s novelty song “Right Said Fred.”

    He is expected to appear in the 60th anniversary special for Doctor Who, as he was seen on location as they were filming.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Reality is absurd.

    And truth is always stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.

  35. grumpy realist says:

    Here’s another obituary about Bernard Cribbins; this one from the Guardian.