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 Australian immigration department would not comment on the matter on Wednesday but on Thursday O’Neil took to Twitter.

    “Geez, Donald Trump Jr is a bit of a sore loser. His dad lost an election fair and square – but he says it was stolen. Now he’s trying to blame the Australian government for his poor ticket sales and cancelled tour,” the Labor minister wrote.

    “Donald Trump Jr has been given a visa to come to Australia. He didn’t get cancelled. He’s just a big baby, who isn’t very popular.”

    So how not popular is he? Well, he only sold 8,000 tickets total for 3 events in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

  2. JohnSF says:


    ““Geez, Donald Trump Jr is a bit of a sore loser. His dad lost an election fair and square…
    He didn’t get cancelled. He’s just a big baby, who isn’t very popular.

    Australians: a reputation for not putting up with bullshit that’s well deserved. 🙂

  3. Mu Yixiao says:

    Trump posts (what he claims) is Obama’s address. Man with weapons arrested there shortly after.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Donald Trump posted on his social media platform what he claimed was the home address of former President Barack Obama on the same day that a man with guns in his van was arrested near the property, federal prosecutors said Wednesday in revealing new details about the case.

    Taylor Taranto, 37, who prosecutors say participated in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, kept two firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition inside a van he had driven cross-country and had been living in, according to a Justice Department motion that seeks to keep him behind bars.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Blockquote fail. Only the last line is from me, everything else is from the article.

  5. Scott says:

    US releases video of Russian fighter jets harassing American drones

    Russian fighter jets flew dangerously close to several U.S. drone aircraft over Syria on Wednesday, setting off flares and forcing the MQ-9 Reapers to take evasive maneuvers, the Air Force said.

    U.S. Air Forces Central released a video of the encounter, showing a Russian SU-35 fighter closing in on a Reaper, and later showed a number of the so-called parachute flares moving into the drone’s flight path. The flares are attached to parachutes.

    OK, how dumb are the Russians? A $30M unmanned drone against a $100m manned jet. A little joystick wrist action and some damage could be inflicted. Of course, U.S. professionalism prevailed.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: I suspect there is a whole lot of background to this. Why is Russia picking now to harass US forces in Syria? It wouldn’t surprise me if we are taking advantage of the Ukraine situation and the, let’s say, distraction of the Wagner forces to push our goals in Syria.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Grey whales have learned to approach whale-watching boats to have parasites removed by human beings, it has been claimed.

    Video footage documenting the behaviour in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon, off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, shows a grey whale having whale lice picked off its head by the captain of a small boat. “I have done it repeatedly with the same whale and others,” Paco Jimenez Franco told a US news site. “It is very exciting for me.”

    Whale lice or cyamids – pale, crab-like creatures that crawl about on the animal’s heads – can be beneficial for whales, eating algae on their bodies and feeding on flaking skin and the sites of wounds. However, it is assumed that they also irritate the animal.
    Franco picked a louse off the head of the whale the first time it came close enough for him to do so. “Once I removed the first one, she approached again so that I could continue,” he said. The same individual whale has returned repeatedly for more “grooming”, according to Franco.
    While he could not confirm that approaching humans for delousing help constituted new behaviour in whales, Carwardine said he had not seen it before. “The whales certainly don’t seem to mind when people pick them off, although you’d have to pick off hundreds to make much of a difference,” he said.

    Because the lice eat sloughed whale skin and damaged tissue, he noted that “rather than parasites, they are really what we call symbionts – in other words, each animal benefits from the other”.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    Here’s yet another article about a major manufacturer (Apple) that is seeing great risk in its dependence on China manufacturing. A few years ago many were talking about how the Chinese play the long game and so would eventually and inevitably win out. I wonder if there is anyone left that sees Chinese actions as taking the long view? Historically, Asia doesn’t do coalitions but the Chinese have managed to create an unusual amount of cooperation around the Pacific Rim – against China itself. And they have spurred an incredible amount of onshoring and reshoring of Western manufacturers out of China, as well as building up other Asian nations.

    Just an anecdote illustrating this. Every morning I play a game called Tradle, which displays a mystery country’s annual exports in dollars and a block graph of what it is comprised of, and you have to guess what the country is. If you get it wrong it shows the distance and direction you are off by. A couple of months ago a country popped up with $356B in trade which makes it a a major player, roughly equivalent to Spain and four times the size of a European country like Greece. I kept guessing wrong, and saying to myself that the directional clues were pointing to Vietnam and that couldn’t possible be right. But no, that’s what it was. Vietnam’s exports have gone up by a factor of ten in less than 20 years, and that’s almost all on the growing distrust of China.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:


    Referencing yesterday’s exchange regarding productivity, are you playing Tradle on work time? Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I actually play tradle first thing in the morning, when I’m (ahem) sitting in the smallest room in the house contemplating life.

    I play Wordle on work time.

  11. Chip Daniels says:

    Only a couple years ago I was one of those who fretted that Russia and China were proving a new model of “Unfree Yet Successful” nations, where they were repressive yet still able to create a prosperous and stable middle class.

    It looks now like that was in error, that both nations have chosen the short game of accumulating personal power for the few while destroying the bonds of trust with international trading partners.

  12. Daryl says:

    Pence doesn’t think the rich should have to pay their fair share.
    When they tell you who they are, believe them.

  13. Kathy says:

    Has anyone tried out The Zuk’s not-Twitter Twitter replacement thing?

    I’d be glad to subscribe and very seldom use it, much as I don’t use the Cisgender Emperor God’s own Twitter now, but only if I can do it in a web browser. I’ve no social media apps in any of my phones, and won’t ever have any*.

    Thus far, all the news about it mention the app, and how to get it for Apple and Android. That’s a hard pass.

    *I’m a proud Anti Social Media person.

  14. Neil Hudelson says:


    I thought I was the only one who enjoyed some quiet morning broom closet time.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    I was one of those who fretted that Russia and China were proving a new model

    I was always a bit more skeptical about China, probably because I started my career when Japan was cleaning our clocks in the electronics, optics and automotive industries and remember well the endless litany of how the superior Japanese work ethic would inevitably lead to world domination. And while Japan is certainly a successful nation, they have their own set of problems that limit them, and of course we were able to adopt a lot of successful practices from them ourselves.

    As for as China and Russia, I’m surprised we don’t hear more calling them out as colonial powers. China has essentially colonized unwilling and resistant Tibet, Xinjiang (Uighers) and Hong Kong, replacing all senior positions in industry and government with ethnically acceptable mainlanders, and is attempting to extend that to Taiwan. Russian has installed itself militarily in a dozen African and west Asian countries and is extracting tremendous wealth while propping up or installing kleptomaniacal puppet regimes.

  16. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: Not sure this was intentional above the individual or even local level. Recent events can lead one to question the whole Russian command and control structure and its ability to direct its forces. Which is a scary thought.

  17. Jen says:

    @Kathy: The lack of a desktop option is a no-go for me. I hate cluttering my phone up with social apps (I don’t have Facebook on my phone).

    In other news, we learned this morning that our pup (she’s almost 13) has some liver values that are “very high.” She has an ultrasound scheduled to see what’s going on, but I doubt at her age it’s going to be good/neutral news.

    On the one hand, you get a dog knowing they are only going to be with you for a certain amount of time. On the other hand, you hope that somehow your pup will defy the odds and live for decades.


  18. Stormy Dragon says:


    I’m happier with Mastodon. I’ve reached the conclusion that allowing a corporation to own your community’s communications is a bad idea because eventually it will be used against the community.

  19. CSK says:


    I’m astonished that 8000 people would shell out money to see Donny Junior.

  20. Kathy says:


    It’s never easy to see the end of a pet’s life, and it’s all too frequent. There’s nothing to do but try to keep her happy and comfortable, and hope for the best.

  21. CSK says:


    Very sorry to hear this. Let us know the outcome.

  22. Daryl says:

    Agreed…the last time I paid money to watch a guy coked out on stage it was Stevie Ray Vaughn.
    Much better show than Donnie Jr., I’m sure.

  23. Arnold Stang says:


    Sorry to hear this, know your situation. Two years ago, we had our two cats, 17 & 19 years old, cross the rainbow bridge within five months of each other.
    My wife found a service, Laps of Love, that has a qualified vet come to your place and perform the procedure. It was a good thing for them to pass in our house, in a comfortable environment, surrounded by people that loved them.

  24. becca says:

    @Jen: I hope you and your pup get some good news. Really.

  25. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I wonder. Both Fakebook and Twitter were released on the web, before the rise of smart phones. It’s possible the websites accessible by a desktop PC have remained out of inertia, and likewise for most other social media apps. Maybe Zuk won’t have a browser version at all.

    This leads to the Trevize Principle: It’s not food and drink. You can live without it.

  26. CSK says:


    A few years ago, the late and much-missed Teve and I had a debate about whether you could write an entire 350 page book on the phone. He maintained that it was totally possible and I maintained that I didn’t even want to try.

  27. Kathy says:

    NPR has been running a few pieces on intersex people. Here’s a link to some. They are a group that gets too little attention, and suffers from terrible health care standards.

    A few weeks back I mentioned that if Republiqans were serious about protecting children from irreversible genital surgery, which are also largely unnecessary, they should work to change how treatment, both medical and social, of intersex individuals is handled.

    It turns out some of the various oppressive laws to ban gender affirming care for minors, make exceptions for intersex minors. So, a minor with gender identity issues who wants gender affirming care, and who has experienced improvements in their life through it, can’t have it. While an intersex infant too young to know what they are, often too young to speak, can undergo irreversible and unnecessary surgery.

    Clearly the issue is that the GQP wants to make everyone conform to their notions of gender and secuality, and won’t admit any exceptions. If this makes transgender and intersex children, and adults, duffer later on, they don’t give a damn.

  28. MarkedMan says:


    Maybe Zuk won’t have a browser version at all

    I use a lot of things that have an app version but I still use a browser. NYTimes, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Banner, LinkedIn, well, there’s long list. The reason I don’t, and the reason Zuk doesn’t want you to use a browser, is because the App provides a hella lot more access to your information than a web browser does. And that’s on an iPhone. On an Android you may as well shed your clothes and go strolling through Meta’s headquarters in your birthday suit.

  29. Kathy says:


    Back in 2012 (that’s like three years ago, right?) when Windows 8* was released and I tried it, I went on many rants against touchscreens, in particular the idea that tablets (remember them?) would naturally replace the desktop PC (which by now I gather includes laptop PCs as well). I claimed you simply couldn’t do a fraction of the real work on a tablet, much less a phone, that you could on a desktop, or at least not nearly as well or as easily.

    Someone pointed out certain people with disabilities managed better on phones and tablets. Maybe they do, and good on them. But I would no more want to write a long piece on a phone than I would want to write it on a regular keyboard using only my left pinky finger, no matter how possible both scenarios are.

    *Windows 8 Is Not a Desktop OS

  30. Kathy says:


    That’s the main reason I deleted all social media apps. I don’t use many news aps.

    On an Android you may as well shed your clothes and go strolling through Meta’s headquarters in your birthday suit.

    If I were to literally do that, people would likely die of shock. Unfortunately, my US visa expired last year and I haven’t renewed it.

  31. CSK says:

    I well remember tablets. A friend of mine and I invested in them for carting around while we traveled so we could work.

    Neither of us could access our work. So much for that.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..people would likely die of shock.

    Could we get you to go to a Trump rally?

  33. Daryl says:

    Hahahahahaha – Marge Three-Toes has been expelled from the ironically named Freedom Caucus.

  34. CSK says:


    I cannot BEGIN to tell you how many times I’ve fantasized about picking lice off whales.

  35. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @MarkedMan: This is more of the long-standing rare earths conundrum than anything new around manufacturing. Modern technology is wildly dependent on raw materials primarily coming from China. Progress has been made if this article is correct (about 10 years ago I believe China was supplying 80+ % of rare earths, so down to 60% is good news) but more needs to be done.

    Unfortunately, in most of the world including the US it’s a battle between national security on one hand (we really do NEED a reliable source of sufficient rare earth materials of many kinds) and the environmental damage on the other (which is significant for both the mining and processing). China doesn’t care about poisoning the land and workers-we do. So even when a high standards mine is opened somewhere its costs are significantly higher due to the safety and environmental requirements, which kills it in a competitive marketplace where it has to compete with China.

  36. Beth says:


    I do almost all my commenting here on my phone. The only reason this is getting typed on a laptop is because I’m on hold with the insurance company to see if they will pay for my roof which has decided to slough off.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: It’s a different world. I frequently access work on my iPhone and iPad. And my brother has one of the big iPads, and uses that as his main computer. His iPad cover doubles as a fancy stand and a full size keyboard. Things change.

  38. Daryl says:

    Not judging…but dude…that’s a weird kink!!!
    But you know what they say…it’s only kinky the first time.

  39. Daryl says:

    So this Threads vs Twitter thing is getting fun.
    Threads already has 30 million subscribers…it was a brilliant play to tie it to Instagram.
    So now Musk is threatening to sue Zuckerberg.
    Karma, it’s pronounced, HA!

  40. Kathy says:


    You must be a lot younger than me.

    I do post from the phone sometimes, on odd times I’m caught reading OTB away from a real computer. The record must be May 5th 2021, when I was in a static line of cars waiting for the COVID vaccine.


    Maybe St. Elon Cisgender God Emperor of Phobos and Mars has invested all his money in popcorn futures.

  41. Sleeping Dog says:


    Sorry to hear about your pup. Cherish your time with him and mourn his passing, but know that there is another cold, wet nose with a wagging tail in the queue.

  42. CSK says:

    The Stanford University English Dept. is offering a course in the lyrics of Taylor Swift. I can see it now: a doctoral dissertation entitled The Hermeneutics of Transgressive Post-Modernism in Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

  43. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Can her Nobel (or Noble or No Bell) prize for literature be far away?

  44. Kathy says:

    More on the Zuk vs Mars God Emperor app cage match. St. Elon is claiming theft of trade secrets and IP.

    I don’t know what the law says on this. I do note they’re not alleging breach of any patents, which I do know a bit more about.

    This half paragraph, though, is to die for: “Twitter claims in the cease-and-desist that Meta has poached dozens of former employees in the past year,”

    Gee, Elon, maybe it wasn’t that good an idea to drastically reduce the workforce.

    And then there’s the rest of the paragraph: “some of whom “had and continue to have access to Twitter’s trade secrets and other highly confidential information” and “many” of whom have “improperly” kept Twitter documents or electronic devices.”

    Who the f**k gives their former employees access to anything? Or lets them keep documents and devices?

    BTW, aren’t we due for a massive revival of muckraking journalism?

  45. dazedandconfused says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    Sadly, the assumption freedom = prosperity incorporates a degree of Panty Gnome logic. It’s definitely a notion that would amuse a Saudi.

  46. dazedandconfused says:
  47. Kathy says:


    I find it hard to believe, but this actually reflects well on the representative from Q. One reason cited was her support for the debt ceiling deal a few weeks ago. That actually was good for the country and the world’s economy.

  48. MarkedMan says:

    @dazedandconfused: I’m thinking that was an impersonator. The people around him had anti-Trump signs and I can’t picture that being allowed to happen by his handlers

  49. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: Yep. Unfortunately it was staged for a comedy show in 2017.

  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @dazedandconfused: The breakthrough for China was when Zhao (or was it Deng? I really don’t remember) figured out that following capitalist economic principles did not require a nation to embrace Democracy at all. The fact that it had worked that way in the West was serendipitous, but not cause and effect to any measurable degree.

    (And don’t think for a minute that nations like China and Russia give a FF or a RA about a large and prosperous middle class, either. They’re just as gilded age minded and fascist as conservatives in Murka are.)

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    All y’all’d know this, I know I don’t–does anybody really care whether beer is Murkan or not? I always thought that beer was about being able to bring home 3 or 4 racks a week and claim–“I’m not alcoholic, nuh-huh! I only drink beer.”

  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl: it was a brilliant play to tie it to Instagram.

    Than I must be the outlier thinking, “Nope, no no no no no no, I want nothing to do with that.”

    Fuck zuck, fuck musk, I want nothing to do with our latest MOTUs.

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: You must be a lot younger than me.

    All y’all are younger than me, in mind if not in body.

  55. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    He seems to have missed three decades of economic globalization.


    Neither do I. Not any more. There was a time when Fakebook was useful, but that’s long past.

  56. Kathy says:

    Yesterday I came across a real dictionary word that means “worthless nonsense.”

    The word, I swear, is trumpery.

  57. CSK says:


    Yep. I know it, but I guarantee you that Donny and the MAGAs don’t.