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. Scott says:

    Ran across this piece from the great state of Missouri and thought of Ozark:

    Missouri Republicans Have Found Their Post-Roe Enemy: Cardigans

    Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) shared the news on Twitter, “Debating the house rules on the floor today, and the first amendment offered by a Republican is about making stricter the rules of what women have to wear in here.”

    “Yep, the caucus that lost their minds over the suggestion that they should wear masks during a pandemic to respect the safety of other is now spending its time focusing on the fine details of what women have to wear (and specifically how many layers must cover their arms) to show respect in this chamber,” Merideth added. He also clarified that lawmakers “thought a couple women last year didn’t dress nicely enough for their standards.”

  2. Jen says:

    @Scott: Oh FFS.

    I am not surprised though.

    PS–A western-style shirt and a bolo tie is considered appropriate for male legislators, FYI, at least during my stint there.

  3. Jax says:

    @Scott: There’s a “Right to bare arms” joke in there somewhere. 😛

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The remains of a woman found hidden in a wall at a Brisbane apartment block a month ago are yet to be identified.

    Cleaners discovered the skeletal remains tightly wrapped and partially buried in a locked area behind a wall in the building at Alderley on 7 December.

    Police initially speculated the remains had been hidden there for some time with residents failing to notice any smell. They now believe the woman has been dead since at least 2015 but may have died as early as 2009.
    Police remain certain the woman’s death is suspicious with signs of trauma found on the body.

    Geee… What was their first clue? Or maybe it’s common in Australia for people to die of natural causes inside walls.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: The MO GOP is trying to out Floriduh Florida. Nothing those clowns ever do would surprise me.

  6. Kathy says:


    They keep moving closer to their taliban roots.

    Maybe Sinema could pay them a visit and lecture on female attire.

  7. Scott says:

    Our Texas legislature was just sworn in yesterday. It meets for about 143 days every two years. The state is sitting on $33B windfall so I expect all kinds of culture war debate on wokeness, LGBTQ issues, CRT, reading materials, abortion, contraception, etc.

  8. Kathy says:

    At work yesterday, the two teams checking the amounts in two price lists found a massive amount of errors.

    Now, these are copied and pasted from the customer’s listing, so there should be no errors. But the listings come in Excel, and therefore can have hidden decimal figures. That is, the listing displays “6”, but the cell contains “A21*0.45”. Therefore I use the rounding function to make them match.

    This time I forgot. It happens. The thing is if you find more than two or three errors in a 250+ listing, especially early on, then it means there’s a systemic issue. Checking and correcting all 250+ products at this point is a waste of time. You address the general error first, then check the numbers.

    It took two minutes to correct my mistake, and almost 20 minutes to explain what I said above.

  9. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    The Consumer Price Index continues to improve, actually turning to DEFLATION!
    Month on Month it was -.1%
    Year on Year it was 6.5% continuing it’s downward trend.
    Thanks, Brandon!!!

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: I’m certainly not an economist, but I have been through a half dozen ups and downs and it has always felt like the Fed has been whacking away with too big of a hammer. This could really hurt us in the spring, summer and fall.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    BTW, worth noting that when the Fed (or anyone else) talks about “wage inflation being concerning” what they mean is that “all gains in productivity should benefit capital and anytime itaccrues to a peon, even a small amount, we have to smash that right down.”

  12. Jen says:


    The Mysterious, Unregistered Fund That Raised Big Money for Santos

    […] The murkiness around the fund-raising operations on behalf of Mr. Santos makes it difficult to know whether any laws were broken. But a close examination of available records suggest RedStone may have skirted the law.

    The email to the donor described it as an “independent expenditure committee under federal campaign finance law” with the “singular purpose” of electing Mr. Santos.[…]


    […] Yet the F.E.C. has no record of RedStone Strategies. The Daily Beast has reported that Redstone Strategies LLC of Florida had a connection to Mr. Santos, but the existence of a group operating under the name RedStone raising large sums of money for his election has not previously been revealed.[…]


    […] According to financial disclosures that he filed as a candidate, Mr. Santos claimed that he went from earning $55,000 to running a company worth more than a million dollars in just a few years. That ostensibly enabled him to lend his campaign more than $700,000 — slightly less than the amount that RedStone Strategies claimed to have raised. […]

    Purely a guess: Santos set up the SuperPAC, thinking it was not traceable, and used that money as “income” to “self-fund” his campaign. If this is accurate, he’s not just a liar but dumb. This stuff is actually trackable.

  13. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Yes – it’s a lot easier to slam on the brakes than to engineer a soft landing.
    Let’s hope Powell is up to the task.

  14. Michael Cain says:


    PS–A western-style shirt and a bolo tie is considered appropriate for male legislators, FYI, at least during my stint there.

    When I was on staff at the Colorado General Assembly, the floor dress code was “jacket and tie.” Enforcement was reasonably lenient — eg, pretty much any sort of fabric around your neck counted as a tie. When there were conflicts over the dress code, it was never because someone didn’t understand what was expected.

    People who knew me before my stint at the legislature were always puzzled. “You, Mike, in a jacket and tie every day?” What I told them was that parts of the job were performances for the public, and the public expected certain sorts of costuming. Time on the floor was always performative as well as functional, so I wore the costume.

    My reaction to cardigans would depend on the reasons. If it’s, “The House floor should be less formal,” I would oppose. If it’s, “The House floor is freaking cold in January,” then I wouldn’t, although I’d expect the cardigans to disappear when the weather warmed up.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    Recently we discussed whether Katie Porter’s announcement was disrespectful of Feinstein, and I’ve seen commentary since then tsk-tsk’ing that Porter didn’t give the Senator time to announce aretirement in her own way. That elides the reality: Feinstein recently filed preliminary paperwork to run again. She gave no real indication she planned to retire, and she is obviously cognitively impaired. California should have a better Senator and since those around her haven’t been able to convince her she should step down, Porter did everyone a favor by forcing the Senator’s hand.

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    Is body fat the cause of MAGA?

    This map shows obesity by state. The 8 least obese states – WA, CA, CO, NY, MA, VT, NJ and HI, are all hard Blue.

    Of the 22 states in the second least obese category – OR, ID, MT, WY, NV, UT, AZ, NM, MN, WI, IL, MI, ME, NH, CT, RI, PA, MD, DE, VA, GA and AK – just about half are Blue, 5 are Red and the rest are swing states.

    Of the 17 states in the second most obese category – ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, TX, IA, MO, AK, LA, MS, AL, TN, NC, SC, IN and OH – None are Blue states, one is a swing, the rest are hard Red.

    The two states in the most obese category – KY and WV – are hard Red.

    One could conclude that obesity – and related health and social issues – may be a cause of Republicanism.

  17. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: There have been studies done on this question

    With all of the usual caveats about correlation and causation, etc., etc. etc.

  18. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Pennsylvania is #23. I swear to god, coming in almost exactly in the middle of every single statistical ranking of the states is Pennsylvania’s superpower.

  19. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    One of the least obese states, MA, is also the highest I.Q. state.

  20. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Doesn’t Hollywood drag CA’s average down like two orders of magnitude? 🙂

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: One could conclude that obesity – and related health and social issues – may be a cause of Republicanism.

    I would bet that the cause>effect arrow goes in the other direction.

  22. Gustopher says:


    Geee… What was their first clue? Or maybe it’s common in Australia for people to die of natural causes inside walls.

    Not sure about Australia’s case, but in the US, if you live in the same house as an elderly relative who dies, and want those Social Security checks to keep coming, you have to hide the body.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Usually in the flower garden.* Fertilizer donch’a know. “You grow the most beautiful flowers. What’s you secret?”

    * to be honest I would be quite happy in a flower garden, or under a tree, or…

  24. Kathy says:

    Are we at peak Special Counsel yet?

    I like the guy, and I think he’s mostly doing a good job, but this matter of leaving a trail of classified documents like so many breadcrumbs looks really bad. Had Benito not beaten him to it in time and scope, this would be a major scandal.

    I know people at the top don’t think the rules apply to them. I see it daily with my boss. We saw plenty of it with masking, or rather not masking, at the height of the trump pandemic*. And when it comes to jerks like El Cheeto or Kevin or Rudy or my boss, you fully expect it. Biden didn’t seem the type.

    *BTW it is still ongoing.

  25. Franklin says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    It is news to me that Michigan is in the second least obese group. I feel like an egret in a colony of penguins.

  26. inhumans99 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    A lot of states in the South and many adjacent states are food deserts, food might be plentiful but the choices are not healthy.

    I certainly blame Fox “News” for keeping Republicans ignorant but not fat and dumb. As Mimai and a couple others on this great site like to point out, MAGA critters are still fellow human beings like you and I, and they run the gamut from the fairly young to very elderly individuals, it would be great if a better job was being done to offer them healthier alternatives to Raising Cane’s or Popeyes, and similar types of eateries. It is just the right thing to do regardless of many Southerners political affiliation.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: That’s getting to be a pet peeve of mine. I’ve written comments this morning at WAPO and Marginal Revolution bitching about the innumerate use of OMG WE’RE STILL AT 6.5% INFLATION!! Mathematically it’s like cruising down the highway at 70 and saying I’m accelerating at 70 MPH. A commenter at MR was saying Krugman’s stupid, he said inflation’s down to 4%. I felt compelled to explain IT WAS. Current rate annualized, not year to year. I was trained in engineering. The sloppy use of units and terms in finance and Econ drives me up the wall.

  28. Grommit Gunn says:

    Since the three ethnic/racial groups that are most likely to obese are indigenous Americans, Hispanics, and Black Americans, it seems more likely that being minority in a MAGA-controlled state leads to worse health outcomes than average.

  29. senyordave says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: Giving credit for that is as absurd as assigning blame for the 9% inflation last year (with 1% month over month at least twice).

  30. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy: There is a famous academic paper that talks about spreadsheets as software, and what their equivalent defect rates are if you think of them as software. The numbers were staggering — spreadsheets used for critical operations at financial institutions (for example) had a far higher bug rate than the shoddiest procedural software written in a standard language.

  31. DrDaveT says:


    BTW, worth noting that when the Fed (or anyone else) talks about “wage inflation being concerning” what they mean is that “all gains in productivity should benefit capital and anytime itaccrues to a peon, even a small amount, we have to smash that right down.”

    Indeed, because wages always lag prices, what you want is for wage inflation to match price inflation of essentials as quickly as possible, so that affordability stays constant. If the CPI is climbing, comparable wage inflation is a public good in the short term, and probably in the long term.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Maybe it should be called the “trump endemic” instead?

  33. Jay L Gischer says:

    So. In a lab model, using mice or rats, there are three elements that produce binge eating. Those elements are:
    1. Highly palatable food.
    2. Weight cycling (loss, then gain, then loss, then gain, etc)
    3. Stress

    It only takes a few cycles to produce binge eating behavior, which is definitely unhealthy. Though a particular body size or BMI may or may not be unhealthy for the individual in question.

    This gives an obvious possibility for why BMI’s and bodies are higher in red states: More stress. There’s more stress because they have less help, and take on more risk. That’s what they’ve chosen to do, they think it’s good.

    It’s also possible that people in red states go on diets more, which produces more binge eating, which …

  34. CSK says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Being fat and unhealthy owns the libs.

  35. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I hope not.

    For some reason, endemic is an adjective and not a noun. Pandemic and epidemic are both, but used more as nouns.

    We’ve just gone though a pandemic of using “literally” as an intensifier contrary to its literal meaning. It seems to be dying down. I don’t need another.

  36. Kathy says:


    I hated Excel when I had to use it to keep track of inventory. It’s terrible for that, at least as it was set up. When I found Excel was the tool of choice at my current job, I seriously considered quitting.

    But we use it to add things up. 550 kilos of chicken breast times price yields a total. That’s one line. Then come other lines for other products, and a grand total of all the lines. Sometimes taxes need to be added. But that’s all we do with spreadsheets.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I was thinking from the perspective that endemic is more in sync with the situation that SARS CoV 2 represents presently.

  38. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Well, for that a good noun would be SNAFU or FUBAR.

  39. Jax says:

    Currently binge watching Adam Sandler (Blended), Ben Stiller (There’s Something about Mary), and Jack Black (School of Rock). in that order. All of my favorite funny comedians, but in family situations. I rarely go to the theater, but I’ll watch that shit over and over here at my house.

    Also….David Spade.