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. Jen says:

    Would love to hear the take on this from OTB’s legal minds:

    Disney quietly took power from DeSantis’ new board before state takeover

  2. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    The cat/hairball alarm system at Casa Luddite is working perfectly. Unfortunately.

    Now I have time to ponder @Jen: ‘s conundrum.

  3. charon says:


    Disney punks DeSantis.

    Probably not a big story though, rats.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen: When WI elected a D governor, the gerrymandered R lege rushed to limit the powers of the governor. That struck me as an a-hole move. Am I a bad person for thinking Disney doing something similar to Pudd’n Boots is entirely appropriate? And funny?

    Trump seems resurgent with Rs. It would seem obvious that DeUseless should cool his jets and focus on 2028. But his one trick seems to be using his powers as guv to own the libs. And he’s term limited. He’s out as guv January 2026. Unless he somehow gets that changed he’s powerless in the campaign season for ‘28.

  5. Michael Cain says:

    The whole Disney against the state-level Republicans over the special district has been fun to watch. First the state was going to just dissolve the district and dump the job on a pair of counties. Understandably, the counties howled about being forced to take on servicing a billion dollars in debt and running services (water, electric, sewer) that they were arguably not allowed to do. So the state decided to keep the district and replace the board with people who (a) had no experience running a district like that and (b) didn’t live anywhere close to the district. I think it’s unsurprising the outgoing (Disney-blessed) board is nailing down the current arrangement — essentially, Disney pays the taxes to the district and the district pays Disney to operate the services — for the next 30 years. If the incoming board (or the state) wants to renege on the contracts, Disney will tie them up in court for years.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Am I a bad person for thinking Disney doing something similar to Pudd’n Boots is entirely appropriate? And funny?

    If my laughing my ass off at DeSantis getting pissed on by Goofy and Micky makes me a bad person, fine, I embrace it. Besides, DeSantis is a real life horrible person who deserves every humiliation coming his way.

  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    In response to something @Beth posted in yesterday’s forum:

    About a month ago, I tried reaching out to you through Dr. Taylor. I don’t no if I got caught in a spam filter somewhere, or if there was just no interest, but I never got any sort of response

  8. Kathy says:


    When the fight started last year, I think I said here I wanted to see how DeSatanis would do against Disney.

    So far it looks good.

  9. Jen says:

    I’ve been giggling all morning about this Disney news. They did everything in accordance with open meeting laws. The DeSantis people somehow (incompetence? distracted by other things?) just missed all of it.

    It is my most fervent hope that this is rock-solid legal work, because it is funny AF.

  10. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy: It was a sucker’s bet. IANAL, only a humble former state legislative budget analyst, but even I could have set things up so that actually wresting control from Disney was going to be seriously politically toxic. And no one has ever said that The Mouse doesn’t have first-rate legal talent.

  11. KM says:

    It amazes me that nobody on his team seemed the least bit concerned that a famously litigious multi-billion dollar international conglomerate just…. didn’t fight back. I know they’re pretty full of themselves but come on, it didn’t set off any alarms that Disney just kinda submitted to DeSantis’ will without a fuss or challenging lawsuit? No paranoid staffer muttering “this was too easy”, no lawyer watching what was being filed out of Reedy Creek, nobody asking questions at all?

    Part of me wonders if DeSantis knew and this was a backroom face-saving measure that left the board hanging. Sure he looks dumb by comparison but if it means not having to deal with the huge mess he would have otherwise, fine. Let business do what it does, he spins the hit to “woke corporation can’t accept legal authority and SHADOW GOVERNMENTS IT!!!” and the folks left holding the bag are the taxpayer and appointed board members who were duped into thinking they’d be Kings of WDW.

    Then I remember he’s only slightly smarter then the last spiteful child we had to deal with and this likely wouldn’t pass his ego-check. Naw, Disney is simply smarter since they deal with fascists and dictators all the time on the international scene. Little D just didn’t have enough Big D Energy to get what he wanted……

  12. Jay L Gischer says:

    FWIW, my take is DeSantis wanted the headlines, and didn’t care about the outcome. That was my take on the initial thing – dissolving Reedy Creek. The legislation had a time delay – until after the election – built in.

    The headlines we’re seeing now might not make it to his target demographic, either. Of course, the Trumpists are trying to ensure that doesn’t happen.

  13. denspark says:


    As it refers to the “King of England” wouldn’t this be challenged on the basis that there is no King of England?

    HMK is “His Majesty Charles the Third, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of His other Realms and Territories King, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith”

  14. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    I love invoking the Royals Clause!!!

    That declaration is valid until “21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, king of England living as of the date of this declaration,” if it is deemed to violate rules against perpetuity, according to the document.

    DeSantis is having a bad week.

  15. grumpy realist says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: Ah yes, that bete noire of law students, the Rule Against Perpetuities….

    I’m having to guffaw myself. (I hate Disney for its involvement in the extension of copyright terms, but lordy this is funny.)

  16. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    It’s a mistake to buy into a corporation’s public image. Disney is just as intent on extracting money from its customers and paying their employees as little as is legally possible, as any other shareholder-value driven corporation.

    About the only good thing about them is they don’t produce any essential products or services, therefore they must provide good quality.

    Otherwise it’s Darth Vader with Mickey Mouse ears.


    Isn’t England included under all that a**-kissing verbiage?

  17. Michael Cain says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    I love invoking the Royals Clause!!!

    That’s got to be the Disney lawyers just having fun.

  18. KM says:

    Then the GOP and FOX needs to explain to their flock that Charles isn’t the “King of England” for DeSantis to win and that…. will not go well.

  19. Jen says:

    @Michael Cain: According to the Washington Post, that’s actually a legal technique used to get around rules against executing legal documents in perpetuity, and while funny as hell, does actually get used from time to time for exactly conditions like this.

    It’s hilarious.

  20. KM says:

    Meh, I’m Machiavellian about it – if you can’t make evil go away, at least make it work for you. Disney wants money, not world dominion. If they go for world dominion, it’s in pursuit of wealth and not the control of human beings. That means they can be bargained with or pushed towards better choices if you influence the money.

    Of course they only see us as wallets with legs but that perception also comes with the understanding they need to please the most amount of people possible to be profitable. They don’t really care about gays but gays have money so welcome in friend, have some merch!! Diversity only matters in that it diversifies their monetary stream. If what keeps them on the side of the angels (or at least not adding and abetting the demons) is cash, then so be it. They done the math and fascism doesn’t pay.

  21. Jen says:

    @denspark: Good luck trying to explain that! (My husband is British, born in England. I truly find all of this amusing.)

  22. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Michael Cain:
    The whole thing looks like they were enjoying themselves.
    They had these DeSantis Lackeys swoop into town, chest thumping and all that…loudly proclaiming that “There’s a New Sheriff in Town!”
    And then the lawyers have them sign the Agreement.
    It’s just way too funny.
    No wonder the DeSantistans are all so friggin’ po’ed about it.
    They’ve been made the fool.

  23. denspark says:

    @Jen: @Kathy:
    Oh he’s the King of that part of the UK called England but as this is a legal document , and there is legally no such office or title as the King of England……and hasn’t been since 1707 then i just wonder how that would impact it….

  24. denspark says:


    For bonus points they could try arguing that they recognise the Jacobite claim to the throne and therefore don’t recognise the legitimacy of the act of union of 1707.

    This wouldn’t really help though as the only jacobite King of England who had the title Charles III died in 1788 without any legitimate heirs……

  25. KM says:


    legitimate heirs……

    Ah ah but it didn’t say “legitimate”, did it? Just “descendants”. If we’re rules lawyering this, any genetic descendant counts under the wording. They don’t need to be legally able to rule, just be blood-related to the specific guy who did.

  26. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Hi. I didn’t see it. If you still have my gmail address, please resend it and I’ll keep an eye out.

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    Meatball Ron, meet the most dangerous, relentless, implacable super-villains in this or any alternate universe: Disney lawyers.

  28. Jen says:

    @KM: Was King Ralph a Disney film? I forget. 😀

  29. KM says:

    Universal I think but Universal Studios could host a joint event with Disney in Orlando if they’re feeling salty

  30. Stormy Dragon says:


    I never did have your gmail =) I was asking Dr. Taylor to send you my g-mail address through a non-public channel

  31. Beth says:


    Then they get to argue about the application of the Parol Evidence Rule to the Rule Against Perpetuities Every lawyer and law student’s heads within 100 miles would melt and pour out their ears.

    One of my favorite things I ever did in court was spend months and multiple briefings about the legal effect of the difference between “&” and “and”. It was glorious. The other attorney and I could barely keep a straight face through the whole thing. The judge was so pissed at us.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: It amazes me that nobody on his team seemed the least bit concerned that a famously litigious multi-billion dollar international conglomerate just…. didn’t fight back.

    I remember at the time wondering why Disney wasn’t filing suits against this BS left, right, front and center, and now I know. They had it all well in hand before the ink was dry on DeSantis’ signature.

  33. MarkedMan says:


    I remember at the time wondering why Disney wasn’t filing suits against this BS left, right, front and center,

    Perhaps the perfect illustration between the differences in tactics you use if you want to win, rather than simply fight.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: OK, that got me chuckling, Thanx.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: The ol’ Rope-a-Dope.

  36. JohnMc says:

    Worth a mention that Disney is hosting the ‘Out And Equal’ Conference in Sept, billing it as the biggest annual gathering of Fortune 500s & govt agencies and such devoted to equality.

    And a word of appreciation to the twitter users who have been posting editorial cartoons on this subject. Been chuckling all morning.

  37. Kathy says:


    It kind of felt like a scene of the early Asimov Foundation stories. the “good” guys seem to be doing nothing, while the bad guys seem to be winning rather easily. Then it all turns a 180 so fast, no one can easily grasp what the f**k just happened.

  38. Stormy Dragon says:


    One other thing I saw pointed out is that if Florida tries to void this agreement, Disney now has a contracts clause issue to get the dispute moved to federal court instead of having to fight it in the Florida court system.

  39. CSK says:

    Jacob Chansley, aka the Qanon Shaman, is being released from prison to a halfway house.

  40. DK says:


    I remember at the time wondering why Disney wasn’t filing suits against this BS left, right, front and center, and now I know.

    Disney identified DeFascist as an overrated empty suit — as has Donald Trump and increasingly the GOP donors and respondents to Republican primary polls. What is Tiny D good for except performative anti-wokeness, book banning, and having meltdowns about drag queens?

    On DeSantus’s watch, crime rates in Florida cities now exceed crime rates in New York and California. Florida has become the nation’s most expensive housing market: a property insurance nightmare thanks in part to conservative deregulation schemes fueling risky development.

    A serious, competent governor will be focused on mitigating such problems, not on divisive culture war hatemongering and attacking Americans’ freedoms. But DeSantis is an unserious hater. So it’s unsurprising Disney is playing him for a fool.

  41. Kathy says:

    On other matters, I’ve been looking up fares for my delayed vacation. First I looked at the week after Easter, April 10-14. Prices were ok, but higher than those for my picked dates in March.

    Then I remembered the May 1st holiday. That would allow me to take a whole week off while taking only 4 vacation days. I just started looking, btu the prices seem even better.

    The problem is that’s the beginning of the rain/hurricane season. Rain would ruin the whole trip.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I had a feeling they had something like that up their sleeve.

  43. gVOR08 says:

    A couple days ago there was a little back and forth in comments about James calling Presbyterians fundamentalist. At LGM Paul Campos has a couple of bits of information. One of the founders of the school was Mike Huckabee’s ghostwriter and there was apparently a case of sex abuse by an elder that was covered up. Sounds pretty fundie to me.

  44. Gustopher says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    The cat/hairball alarm system at Casa Luddite is working perfectly. Unfortunately.

    If you haven’t woken from the soundest sleep to the sounds of a cat wretching, and scrambled to move the cat from carpet to tile, have you really lived?

  45. Gustopher says:


    One of the founders of the school was Mike Huckabee’s ghostwriter and there was apparently a case of sex abuse by an elder that was covered up.

    Modest detail that you are losing — the elder was Mike Huckabee’s co-author.

    I was baselessly speculating that the unreleased manifesto details sexual abuse because of this last night in the shooter thread, just trying to get my mark down (the absence of information invites speculation, so I speculate!). I see I beat LGM to that, at least officially.

  46. Gustopher says:

    All week the Washington Post has been running top headline articles about AR-15s — the effect of being shot with one, liberal groups training with them, the right wing people who claim to need them, etc.

    I expect that they have had this ready to roll out for a little bit, and were waiting for a shooting. I find it a bit darkly amusing that at some point they had three quarters of the articles ready, people were eager for their work to see publication, there was a shooting, and they had to delay and wait for the inevitable next shooting.

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I prefer to stumble around in the dark until I find the cat puke with my bare foot.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Yeah but at most the wait would only be a day or 2.

  49. JohnSF says:

    The lateQueen was proclaimed at Coronation as “Queen Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”
    So plenty of room for flexibility.
    Perhaps to allow for the eventual return of you wetched webels to your proper allegiance? 😉
    IIRC England was legally encompassed with Scotland as the Kingdom of Great Britain in the 1707 Act of Union; and then Great Britain with Ireland in 1801 as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. (Which became UKGB and Northern Ireland in 1927.)
    There is still differentiation in law between the component countries, but not, formally in the royal title. And even referring to the legal system, it is that of “England and Wales”, not just England.
    So now you you know. 🙂

  50. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Could take a week or so to get a big shooting. Maybe two if they’re picky or we’re lucky.

  51. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: Our late, beloved black Burmese, Bonnie, would get on the bed. I’d be asleep with my arm spread a little. She’d lick my armpit. She meant it as grooming, but a wet rasp wakes you right up. Smartest cat I ever saw. The other cats would swat and paw at the kitchen cabinet doors, failing to open them. Bonnie would walk up, sit back on her haunches, stare at the door for five minutes, then rap it with one paw hard enough to get it to bounce and get her other paw under it. Caught her several times with a paw on each side of a doorknob trying to turn it without thumbs.

  52. JohnSF says:

    re Disney vs DeSantis: it’s an example of a frequently seen difference between politicians and corporate types. Both can be malign, or, sometimes, benign.
    But the former get paid for getting a plurality of votes. The latter get paid for actually getting things done.
    Which is why any smart politician, and functional political system relies on a solid core of competent, experienced, permanent civil servants.
    I’d place a small wager DeSantis has pushed out or sidelined the permanents, and is getting legal counsel from advisors who tell him what he wants to hear.
    Anyone know if I’m right?

  53. CSK says:


  54. becca says:

    Local news saying trump was indeed indicted! Here comes special report…

  55. charon says:

    A grand jury in Manhattan has voted to indict Donald Trump, according to three sources familiar with the matter – the first time in American history that a current or former president will face criminal charges.

    The Manhattan district attorney’s office has been investigating the former president in connection with his alleged role in a hush money payment scheme and cover-up involving adult film star Stormy Daniels that dates to the 2016 presidential election.

    The decision is sure to send shockwaves across the country, pushing the American political system – which has never seen one of its ex-leaders confronted with criminal charges, let alone while running again for president – into uncharted waters.

    The legal action against Trump jolts the 2024 presidential campaign into a new phase – where the former president has vowed to keep running in the face of criminal charges.

  56. charon says:


    I remember hearing a story about how back in the day a bunch of surfers were standing on the shore of some legendary break in Hawaii — maybe Pipeline — and saying things to each other like “maybe in a thousand years somebody will surf these waves.”

    Then one day a guy just went out and did it, and five minutes later another half dozen guys were in line behind him.

  57. charon says:

    and this:


    raw story

    Allen Weisselberg just fired his Trump-funded lawyers — is he about to flip?

    Sources are telling WNBC that Allen Weisselberg, the former CFO of the Trump Organization, has fired his Trump Org lawyers.

  58. CSK says:


    Maybe Weisselberg flipped.

  59. Jen says:



  60. Jax says:

    @Jen: It’s been a pretty shitty day, but this helps my mood a little. 😛 😛

  61. Kathy says:

    Since Benito claims he’s innocent, shouldn’t he be sent to Shawshank Prison if convicted?

  62. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Wa’s up?

    (Shitty days are my forte.)

  63. Michael Cain says:


    One of my favorite things I ever did in court was spend months and multiple briefings about the legal effect of the difference between “&” and “and”.

    In Massachusetts v. EPA the Supreme Court justices in the assorted opinions — the main one plus all sorts of concurs in part and dissents in part things — go on for page after page debating the meaning of the word “otherwise”. That was my favorite part, followed closely by CJ Roberts writing a dissent that read like something by an offended fifth-grader.

  64. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Cows are so fucking stoopid during calving season. I have 7 bums in my barn because…..oooooh my gawd, Momming is so hard! 4 are frequent flyer’s on abandoning their calves that I’ve tried to send down the road for SIX YEARS, but Boss Man has this weird “Who’s the actual boss here….” vibe, so he won’t send them down the road, cuz he doesn’t want to look like a pussy in front of his friends when I call a cull at the chute.

    But now he’s mad because we have 7 bums in the barn and it’s like the first time he’s been told he’s been feeding trash cows for six years.

    And I got my bull delivery today, the delivery guy (Who actually owns the bull outfit) was totally hitting on me, so my Dad is now SUPER mad that maybe I might have somebody who might appreciate my attention to detail. Like….he waited until I was done feeding cows before he came down the ranch road, and never shook my Dad’s hand, but shook mine 3 times. And gave me a bunch of swag. 😛 😛