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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Nothing new to report at 2am PDT. Wishing everyone a Happy Friday Eve. Let the festivities begin!

  2. Mikey says:

    Is it only Thursday? Man, this week is dragging by.

  3. BugManDan says:

    @Mikey: I am pretty sure this is at least the third Thursday I’ve woken up to this week.

  4. Jen says:

    Weird AF story coming out of NH/PA/MA yesterday:

    Couple accused of selling body parts stolen from morgue

    So, so many levels of WTAF here.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Put it on sale, and they will come.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Global temperatures have accelerated to record-setting levels this month, an ominous sign in the climate crisis ahead of a gathering El Niño that could potentially propel 2023 to become the hottest year ever recorded.

    Preliminary global average temperatures taken so far in June are nearly 1C (1.8F) above levels previously recorded for the same month, going back to 1979. While the month is not yet complete and may not set a new June record, climate scientists say it follows a pattern of strengthening global heating that could see this year named the hottest ever recorded, topping 2016.

    The long-term warming conditions caused by the burning of fossil fuels will likely receive a further pulse of heat via El Niño, a naturally recurring phenomenon where sections of the Pacific Ocean heat up, typically causing temperatures to spike across the world.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin courted controversy when she denied that supporters of Donald Trump behaved like cult members.
    “The definition of a cult,” Palin told the rightwing network Newsmax, “is a group of people who are excessively supporting one another and a cause. [It’s] all about conformity and compliance and intolerance of anyone who doesn’t agree with what their mission is.

    She’s got a bad case of footinmouthitis.

  8. CSK says:


    I don’t want to know what the woman in Peabody, MA who owns the “creepy doll shop” was doing with human body parts.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    How a Hampton Beach business partnership is changing lives for Lakota women

    Despite a tinge of white-saviorism in the writing, generally a good news story. The program is in its second year and a couple of last years participants have returned on their own to work for the summer.

    If you have been on the Pine Ridge Reservation, or know anything about the history and conditions there, what the women say about life there isn’t surprising. South Dakota pursues policies against tribal members that would be familiar to blacks in the south.

  10. CSK says:


    Palin gave a perfect description of a Trumpkin.

  11. Mu Yixiao says:


    And somehow this is causing it to be colder than normal in the Great Lakes region. Climate and weather are weird. I’m wondering if it’s affecting the jet stream or something. Or if it’s just saving up to roast us in August.

  12. CSK says:

    Glenda Jackson, 87, has died. RIP.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: We’ve had some cooler than normal periods here as well with really low humidity. I’m sure Mother Nature will extract her pound of flesh come July, it’s our worst month. August here is usually not so bad because Hurricane season kicks into high gear and stirs up the atmosphere.

  14. Mu Yixiao says:


    Glenda Jackson, 87, has died. RIP.

    My grade school piano teacher?

  15. Kazzy says:

    NYMetro has been cooler than normal but also exceptionally dry. In addition to the Canadian wildfire smoke we had to deal with, small fires broke out in parts of NJ.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The 25 best stunts in cinema – ranked!

    There are all good, like 13. Stormy Weather (1943) of which he said:

    Sometimes there is a fine line between a dance routine and a stunt routine – and the Nicholas brothers skip across that line during Jumping Jive, accompanied by Cab Calloway’s orchestra. Watch and wince as Fayard and Harold Nicholas leap over each other’s heads and down a staircase, doing the splits each time they land.

    but it’s very subjective. Still, a lot of fun to watch the one’s he picked.

  17. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Jackson was a very famous British actress who then became a Labour M.P. She had a long career in politics.

  18. Michael Cain says:

    Front Range Colorado is having one of the wettest Junes on record and we’re only halfway through. And at altitude, it’s almost always cool if there’s cloud cover. Where I live we’ve only reached 80 °F on one day this month. The residents in my group of townhouses have a Wednesday happy hour under the gazebo at 5:30 pm during the summer. Yesterday’s bunch broke up early because everyone was getting cold.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    I saw this earlier and thought it was a joke, but over at the Bulwark, Charley Sykes confirmed it is real. According to someone at John Hopkins all you gals out there are no longer women, not even womyn, but now non-men.

  20. Daryl says:

    Great story in the WaPo about how Trump ignored his attorneys suggestion of negotiating a plea with the DOJ, and instead believed RWNJ Tom Fitton who told him he could keep the documents.
    Fitton lost the infamous Clinton “Socks” case. He also apparently pushed for Trump to declare victory and stop counting the ballots before midnight on Election Night, 2020.
    Fitton is not a lawyer.

  21. DK says:

    @CSK: Loved Glenda Jackson in everything she did, especially playing Queen Elizabeth I in both Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) and Elizabeth R (1971). I’ve always wondered how she managed to win the Best Actress Oscar *twice* and still remain relatively unknown to American general audiences. Shades of Luise Rainer.

  22. Beth says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Or if it’s just saving up to roast us in August.

    Oh please roast me whether daddy, I’m freezing.

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The thing about this that pisses me off is that trans people are getting blamed for this. This is so stupid and will only make things worse for trans/non-binary people. It’s actively dumb.

  23. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    So there are no longer men and women, just men and non-men? Swell.

    And how does this improve the lot of the non-binary????

  24. CSK says:


    Yes, she was great as ER in both instances. I think if she had not left acting to pursue a parliamentary career in 1992, she would be far better known.

    She seems to have resumed acting in 2019, and I believe recently completed a movie with Michael Caine.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A New Zealand climate activist who wrote to oil executives posing as a fossil fuel conference organiser and telling them their gathering was cancelled has been found guilty of forgery, and could face up to a decade in prison.

    Rosemary Penwarden, 64, who sent the letter to an oil company’s delegates argued it was a form of “satirical protest”, and said she was astonished by the outcome.

    “I like to think I was a threat to this industry, but for goodness sake, I’m 52kg, five foot three inches high, and 64,” said Penwarden. “These are the biggest polluting companies in our entire world. I felt it was important that they heard from little grandmothers.”

    Penwarden, who previously made headlines for building her own electric car, admitted making and sending the false letter. Her lawyer, Ben Smith, argued that the letter was not intended to be seen as authentic, or sent to deceive, but instead had a satirical purpose.

    “I felt like it was a good time to be quite creative and to try different ways of communicating with the people inside,” said Penwarden.

    It seems to me the full 10 years would be a bit excessive, especially since the conference went off without a hitch. I guess we’ll see.

  26. JohnSF says:

    Possibly because she was never in the Hollywood network, which I’d suppose generates a lot of reporting?
    And more recently, from 1991 until 2015 she was a Labour MP.
    So not really celebrity gossip column material.

  27. Modulo Myself says:


    Check her out in the more-famous Women in Love and the somewhat-obscure Hopscotch (with Walter Matthau, who plays a CIA agent writing a tell-all about how dumb his bosses are, who are after him as he taunts them with chapters).

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rescuers are continuing a grim search off the Greek coast as hopes fade of finding survivors from an overcrowded fishing boat that capsized and sank on Wednesday, killing at least 78 people, amid fears that the number of victims could reach 500.

    “This could be the worst maritime tragedy in Greece in recent years,” Stella Nanou of the United Nations’ refugee agency told the Greek public broadcaster ERT. Another UNHCR official, Erasmia Roumana, described the disaster as “really horrific”.

    Roumana added that the survivors were in a very bad psychological state. “Many are in shock, they are so overwhelmed,” she told reporters in the port of Kalamata. “Many worry about the people they travelled with, families or friends.”

    All 104 survivors were men aged between 16 and 40, authorities said. Most spent the night in a warehouse in the port. “They’re from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Egypt,” said Giorgos Farvas, Kalamata’s deputy mayor. “We’re talking about young men, mostly, who are in a state of huge psychological shock and exhaustion. Some fainted as they walked off the gangplanks from the vessels that brought them here.”
    Greek police and coastguard officials said they were working on the premise that “as many as 500” people were missing. “It worries us that no more [survivors] have been found,” said police inspector Nicolaos Spanoudakis.

    “Survivors have been interviewed, procedures typical in any EU country are being followed. Right now everything is guesswork but we are working on the assumption that as many as 500 are missing. Women and children, it seems, were in the hold.”

    A picture in the video shows horrific over crowding on the deck. The article also states that the holds on these smuggler boats are usually locked as a form of crowd control.

  29. Jen says:

    @Modulo Myself: Hopscotch is a family favorite film. Matthau was great in that!

  30. CSK says:

    It’s worth clicking on the link below just to see the photo of Trump that accompanies it:


  31. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    The northeast has been far below normal. A couple of days last week, my wife turned the heat on and that’s the first time we’ve done that in June.

  32. Kathy says:



    My first takeaway is that English needs two new words. One that means a stupid form of hubris, and another that means such a stupid form of hubris that idiots would think it’s stupid.

    I’d suggest “trump” for the latter, but that’s already used for a card and a virus.

  33. Sleeping Dog says:


    Unfortunate, but true.


    Months ago, I suggested to you that you needed to get fitted for one of those red dresses with the white bonnet. And to add to the misery of women in this society, the Southern Baptists are kicking out churches that have women clergy from the convention.

  34. Kathy says:



    Maybe, if you can see past the ugly. That always stops me.

    I don’t want to see any more pictures of him unless he’s handcuffed or in prison.

  35. Kathy says:

    Oops! Double post. Please delete.

  36. Sleeping Dog says:

    A rare bit of sanity from the SC

    The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a federal law, intended to rectify past government abuses, that gives preference to the foster care and adoption of Native American children by their relatives and tribes.

  37. CSK says:

    Somehow I don’t think this “non-men” locution is going to fly.

  38. Sleeping Dog says:


    I get that whoever was responsible for the non-man locution was trying to be inclusive of binary individuals, but why assume men are the standard and why only lesbians? Its really bizarre and that’s why I figured it was a parody.

    It will go the way of birthing vessels

  39. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    But wouldn’t that mean that a non-man is non-binary? Again, how does this help the non-binary?

  40. David BentonSenyorDave says:

    Can someone please find a hill for this man?
    Republican Dan Crenshaw Says Gender-Affirming Care Is ‘The Hill We Will Die On’
    One good thing is that they are coming out in the open more and more, his star witness is a therapist who espouses conversion therapy. Their goal really is the eradication of trans people.

  41. CSK says:


    I understand the sentiment, but face it–we’re going to be treated to photos of Trump for some time to come. Might as well enjoy the really terrible ones.

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    Cornel West jumps from People’s Party to Green Party!

  43. Sleeping Dog says:


    But wouldn’t that mean that a non-man is non-binary? Again, how does this help the non-binary?


  44. JohnSF says:

    As I may have mentioned, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has resigned as an MP.
    Today we got the official report that led to his departure:
    House of Commons Committee of Privileges,
    Matter referred on 21 April 2022 (conduct of Rt Hon Boris Johnson):
    Final Report
    It’s brutal. It’s also rather long; for a summary version Ian Dunt has a twitter thread worth a look.

    “The full list of ways in which Johnson misled the House. It’s devastating. Just absolutely ruinous. …
    That shit is explosive: formal, thorough, closely argued, with a water-tight evidence base. They brought a sniper rifle to a knife fight. …
    The report really is a delightful combination of brutality and thoroughness. …
    At this point they are effectively machine gunning a corpse.”

    The Houses of Parliament: when it works, it works.
    a.k.a. “When you come at the Commons, you best not miss.”

    Johnson has a response out.
    Short version: waah! I’m so persecuted
    Sod off, Boris.

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: It’s taken them this long? [mild expletive, deleted] When I was in the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches in my child and early young adulthood, we kicked a congregation out of our local association group for changing the name of their church to leave “Baptist” out. We’d have had congregations with women in roles carrying the title “pastor” out of fellowship before the ordination councils of said women could even meet to appoint them.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    As I may have mentioned, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has resigned as an MP.

    NO!?! Really? When did this happen? WA! 😉

  47. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: From the link

    The Baltimore-based university received backlash online after defining “lesbian” as “a non-man attracted to non-men” in its glossary of LGBTQ+ terms.

    The update, which has since been removed from the website, was initially meant to be inclusive of non-binary individuals, who may still identify as lesbians.

    Language is messy. There are also apparently trans men who have lived a decent chunk of their lives as lesbians and still think the term applies because it is part of their life experience.

    I get the argument. Not sure I agree with it, but I get it.

    Language is messy and dumb and awkward and trying to get the exact right term that will satisfy the language lawyers and grammar-Nazis is probably impossible.

    However the definition was labeled misogynistic, with social media users pointing out that the guide does not use similarly non-binary-inclusive language for the term “gay man.”

    An oversight, likely.

    But I’m more interested in the “social media users” who are calling it misogynistic. They’re almost certainly a combination of twits and TERFs, grammar-Nazis and plain Nazis, etc. a frothy mix of annoying pedants and truly hateful people. There’s more than a hint of “what is a woman?” here.

    As an annoying pedant, I think we have an obligation to look at our fellow travelers and when our annoying pedantry is being used as cover by bigots to bite our tongues and let the gross offense to pedantry slide to avoid siding with bigots.

    Yes, it physically hurts to let someone be wrong without pointing it out. But it’s a sacrifice for the greater good. It’s how we serve. There should be a day on the calendar to mark this.

    That said, the first use of singular-they to refer to known, identifiable, named persons (rather than an unknown individual) was in 2008 according to OED, and I am content to use it I just want the singular-they proponents to stop trying to gaslight me and claim it’s been used that way since 1385.

    also, I don’t include things with genuine consequences, just annoying pedantry. BDS is a protest of the Israeli state’s actions, but is used as cover by Nazis. The BDS supporters have an obligation to call out the Nazis and distance themselves from them, not to ignore the actions of the Israeli government.

  48. Kathy says:

    I left the office around 10:15 this morning. The weather app showed 29 C. inside the car, the thermometer read 34 C. After a short drive with the A/C on as high as it would go, it dropped to 29.

    I parked at an underground garage for maybe half an hour. When I returned, the car’s temp was 30.

  49. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I am convinced that a major part of why the US public does not care about climate chance is we are presented with things like “by the end of the century, average temperatures will rise by 3C” and have no idea how much that is.

    People would have a hard time understanding it to begin with, but when all the numbers are meaningless too, it’s just a lost cause. Our failure to adopt the metric system will lead to so much suffering.

    Anyway, I hope you are able to keep warm or cool, as appropriate. 😉

    (Ok, 30C is 86F, if I googled correctly, so this all seems very temperate-warm? With 34C being a bit hot?)

    If there was a contemporary metric based version of Foreigner’s classic “Hot Blooded”, that would also have helped.

    I’m hot blooded, I’ve got a fever of forty C…

  50. Kathy says:


    Ambient temperature is a somewhat relative measure. How a temperature feels depends on things like humidity, altitude, acclimation, etc.

    In Vegas, for instance, which is as dry as a desert and not very high above sea level, 28-30 feels just fine*. Mexico City is a valley and former lake, around 2200 meters above sea level. 25 is hot here, 30 is like an oven.

    I admit I don’t get what 3 C average temperature means. I do know that this is a year average, which includes temperatures below freezing for extended periods. So a 3 point increase in average when the cold temps are so low, is really a LOT.

    *Out of direct sunlight. It takes 35 C or so before I find Vegas too hot. It took 41 C for me to give up any thoughts of an outing, and return to the comforts of an A/C casino.

  51. Kathy says:

    The dance card is getting full

    Who’d have thought someone as repulsive as Benito would be the belle of the Legal System Ball?

    BTW, he wants all federal charges dropped, and his documents returned.

  52. Beth says:


    I think it’s misogynistic. I imagine it was some dude in a Ralph Wiggum “I’m Helping” tee shirt that did this. To me, this definition also carries the implication that I’m not a woman. Which in itself pisses me off. Lol, this is how you get both TERFs and binary trans women on the same side of being pissed at you. That’s quite an accomplishment.

    Language is messy. There are also apparently trans men who have lived a decent chunk of their lives as lesbians and still think the term applies because it is part of their life experience.

    I agree that language is messy and it’s hard to be precise. I think it’s better to be messy and expansive while being as inclusive as possible. Adding in additional parts to the definition isn’t the worst thing.

    Neither my partner nor I identify as lesbians and are very careful about how we use that term to describe ourselves. I’ve started using WLW (in community) and Sapphic. I’m not a lesbian even though I’m in a “lesbian-style” relationship.*

    As for trans men who identify as lesbians, they shouldn’t. That’s how you know they’re men; they’re appropriating something that doesn’t belong to them.**

    Lol, it also makes me laugh. Us Bi’s have been a freaking war for, what, the better part of two decades over “Bi” and “Pan”. Now there’s a fun little war for the summer time.

    WLW: an acronym that stands for “women loving women.” Refers to women who are attracted to women, whether or not they are attracted exclusively to other women. This term is inclusive of but not limited to lesbian, bisexual, and pansexual women and nonbinary people who identify with womanhood. Similar to sapphic.

    *I’m part of a trans women’s group and we had a joint party with our trans masc counter-parts. After foisting all the planning and set up on us, they walked in and handed us more stuff to do. On one hand, affirming. On the other hand I got real bitchy real fast.

  53. Beth says:

    I see I missed some * and the above might be a bit word-salady. Thank the prednisone.

  54. Franklin says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Omg, I’ve seen that before. How were muscles not ripped?

  55. DK says:

    @Modulo Myself: I was told many years back — as a rabid Bette Davis fanboy — that if I liked Davis’s intensity then I should familiarize myself with Glenda Jackson’s oeuvre. So I’ve seen all her Oscar-nominated roles: Women in Love, A Touch of Class, Hedda, and Sunday Bloody Sunday.

    I will seek out Hopscotch, thanks for the rec.

  56. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I would laugh my ass off if Jack Smith personally autographed every newspaper clipping, photo of Trump with a celebrity, and anything else that ACTUALLY qualified as a personal document before he gave them all back to him. Hell, sign the boxes, too. “With love, Jack” 😛 😛

  57. Kathy says:


    Imagine how much harder you’d laugh if Biden did that.

  58. Kathy says:

    On news elsewhere, the Knesset has demonstrated the benefit of secret ballots in parliamentary procedures.

    I wonder if Benito would have been convicted on the second impeachment had the US Senate enjoyed this advantage.

  59. CSK says:


    Could well be.

  60. DrDaveT says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I’m wondering if it’s affecting the jet stream or something

    Exactly. Increased global temperature increases the magnitude of fluctuations in the jet stream, and the average wind velocity. That means more times when the jet stream swings unusually far south, as well as the times when it rides up around Nunavit. The increased frequency of extreme events (in both directions) will be more damaging than the relatively small increase in average temperatures.

  61. DrDaveT says:


    Jackson was a very famous British actress who then became a Labour M.P. She had a long career in politics.

    Anyone who hasn’t seen them should watch her two comedic tours de force with Walter Matthau: Hopscotch and House Calls. Hopscotch is the film that my family used to evaluate the suitability of prospective spouses — if they didn’t love it, they weren’t going to fit in.

  62. DrDaveT says:


    That said, the first use of singular-they to refer to known, identifiable, named persons (rather than an unknown individual) was in 2008 according to OED, and I am content to use it I just want the singular-they proponents to stop trying to gaslight me and claim it’s been used that way since 1385.

    I’m pretty sure I heard Dr. Anne Curzan of UMich (dean and professor of English and Linguistics) cite an instance of Jane Austen using singular they for a specific individual of known gender. That’s not 1385, but it’s a lot longer ago than 2008. I’ll see if I can find the reference.

  63. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @JohnSF: We were recently in Edinburgh, and our guide noted that Boris Johnson and Liz Truss have done more for the Scottish independence movement than anyone else.

  64. JohnSF says:

    OTOH, the debacle of the end of Nicola Sturgeon’s leadership of the SNP has probably balanced them out.