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:

    What, no song lyrics that I don’t have a chance of remembering? I’m disappointed. 😉

    Three police officers fired in North Carolina over racial slurs video

    Three North Carolina police officers have been fired after a recorded conversation where they talked about slaughtering black people, used racial slurs, and spoke of the need for a second civil war. An ‘accidental activation’ video recording was made in officer Kevin Piner’s car. It was later reviewed within the Wilmington Police department, and the conversation was discovered. Piner was fired for misconduct along with Cpl. Jessie Moore and officer James Gilmore.

    During the recording Moore referred to a woman he had arrested with a racial slur, and Piner said he was planning on buying a new assault rifle in preparation to “slaughter” people who he also described with a racial slur. Piner also complains about the police department “taking the knee”.
    The department has released their full report of the incident. When interviewed, each officer accepted that the conversation was a genuine recording, but denied being racist.

    Sure. Saying you’re gonna buy an AR15 for the express purpose of killing ni**ers is soooo not racist. He’s just a cop who takes “law and order” serious. Only a bunch of snowflakes would get upset by that.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A nice story to start the day with:
    Small-scale miner finds biggest tanzanite gems in history, worth $3.3m

    The two dark violet-blue gemstones, each about the dimensions of a forearm, were discovered by Saniniu Laizer in one of the tanzanite mines in the north of the country which are surrounded by a wall to control cross-border smuggling of the gemstones.

    “There will be a big party tomorrow,” the small-scale miner from Simanjiro district in Manyara, told the BBC. “I want to build a shopping mall and a school. I want to build this school near my home. There are many poor people around here who can’t afford to take their children to school. I am not educated but I like things run in a professional way. So I would like my children to run the business professionally.”

    Tanzania has a novel way of mining:

    Tanzania last year set up trading centres around the country to allow artisanal miners to sell their gems and gold to the government. Artisanal miners are not officially employed by any mining companies and usually mine by hand.

    Magufuli inaugurated the wall around tanzanite mining concessions in northern Tanzania in April 2018, in an attempt to control illegal mining and trading activities. At the time he said 40% of tanzanite produced there was being lost.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    Headlines from this mornings NYT’s website.

    How the Virus Won

    U.S. Sets Record for Daily New Cases as Virus Surges in South and West

    So much winning!

  4. Kathy says:


    What, no song lyrics that I don’t have a chance of remembering? I’m disappointed.

    Try this one: Replays each of the days.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, I don’t get that one either.

  6. Kathy says:

    Do you ever get the feeling some people love SARS-CoV-2 and want to spread it far and wide?

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Australia’s agriculture minister says Roundup is safe after $16bn US cancer lawsuit

    Australia’s agriculture minister insists the common weedkiller Roundup is safe after its manufacturer agreed to pay almost $16bn to settle cancer lawsuits in the US. The pesticides giant Bayer agreed overnight to pay up to US$10.9bn (A$15.8bn) to settle about 95,000 cases claiming Roundup caused cancer. The agriculture minister, David Littleproud, said labelling standards in the US were different to those in Australia.

    “We have the best words! Our words totally nullify the carcinogenic properties of RoundUp! Just say them over and over while using and you will be completely protected!”

    In fairness, he’s talking about the directions for use, which I guess are different than the ones on the bottles here. But it still sounds plenty stupid to me, especially when we all know men don’t follow directions.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    Add West Virginia to the Republican run states where, angry at reality, the top health official has been driven from office.

  9. Teve says:
  10. drj says:

    2nd Amendment propagandists suddenly find open carry “unacceptable” and an example of “mob rule” when black people do it.

    Again, conservatism is not primarily about what is being done, but about who gets to do it.

    Conservatism is basically “daddy must always get the biggest piece of meat” writ large.

  11. grumpy realist says:
  12. An Interested Party says:

    Wow…I’m not sure what’s more embarrassing…a grown man banging on a desk while a witness speaks or a chairman who doesn’t throw the idiot out of the room…this is what the Judiciary Committee has been reduced to…

  13. Kathy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    He forgot to say “We will bury you.”

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: If one loses to a cow in court, it’s time to get a new lawyer. One that will tell you to grow the F up.

  15. Slugger says:

    I went to the reopening of a bar within walking distance of my house. I wore my mask, ordered a shot of the 101 proof Wild Turkey and a glass of a locally brewed Pilsener-style beer, and sat at their outdoor tables unmasked. A lot of the regulars showed. There was a lot of camaraderie. It felt good. There are some things that don’t come across in virtual meetings.These things are very valuable. However, my pleasures can not be the only guide to policy.
    This morning’s news regarding surges of disease in many places are worrisome. The biology of infection does not care about the simple pleasures of daily life. We need leadership that is willing to take the measures to control this. I want my country to be the envy of the world not on the list of biggest failures. We need some grownups in charge.

  16. mattbernius says:


    Three police officers fired in North Carolina over racial slurs video

    Just a reminder unless these officers have their law enforcement certifications revoke they will be able to be hired by any police department in NC and any other states that recognize their certifications through reciprocity agreements.

    That’s, of course, provided they are not reinstated through mandatory union arbitration.

  17. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I knew a lawyer in Chapel Hill who said “half my day is telling people they can’t sue someone for that.”

  18. Teve says:

    I darkly love how everyone wearing masks is the single best thing we can do, and Republicans are filming themselves throwing tantrums about CONSTITUTION!

  19. CSK says:

    And he didn’t use his shoe as a gavel.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: From the part I didn’t quote because I just wanted to snark:

    Chief Magnus said that his officers had no malicious intent, but had committed “multiple policy violations”. All three officers have resigned from the force – with Magnus noting that “The files for these officers reflect that the department would have terminated them had they not resigned”.

    FWIW, which my experience with small town cops suggests “not much”.

  21. CSK says:

    According to Stephen Rushin, who studied the matter, nine out of ten police contracts have clauses that thwart any legitimate disciplinary action being taken against bad cops.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I can’t count the number of times I have said, “Talk to a lawyer but I don’t think you can do anything about that.”

  23. Kathy says:


    So it is sufficiently obscure.

  24. An Interested Party says:

    A prime reason why law and order won’t work for Republicans this year–their leader is lawless and disordered…

  25. MarkedMan says:

    This is worrisome. Every state has an increase in the C19 death rate/100k residents over the past week.

    Delaware, which shows up as worse, may be an exception, because it seems likely they just reclassified a large number of deaths as C19 earlier this week. I haven’t seen anything to that effect but there is the typical one day spike associated with other states that have done that.

  26. Tyrell says:

    “5.8 earthquake rocks southern California” Causes dust to rise in mountains!
    “Massive 7.7 quake hits Mexico, tsunami warning issued! ”
    The fire rim is heating up.
    “I fell in to a burning ring of fire
    I went down, down, down and the flames got higher” ( Cash)

  27. CSK says:

    I know Mexico had a 7.4 quake on June 23 (OTB commenter Kathy experienced it), but has there been a 7.7 quake since then?

  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Tyrell: Tyrell, thanks for adding that “(Cash)” at the end because as I was reading I was worried that it was you that had fallen into the burning ring of fire. Such a relief at the end…

  29. Mike in Arlington says:

    Yesterday I heard about the red summer of 1919 for the first time. I am a bit appalled that this was the first time I had ever heard about it.

    I just started listening to a podcast about this summer and thought I should share it with y’all in case there are others who were unaware of this as I was.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    A couple of weeks ago I pointed out that deaths were trailing case rates by a longer margin than it did during the NYC outbreak, and stated that there was at least a possibility that the case rate was going up so dramatically because we were testing more people and catching more with milder cases. If this was true the positivity rate of tests would be going down, but I couldn’t find good data for positivity rates. That hope has been dashed. This article at TPM is the clearest explanation I’ve seen of why that isn’t the case. Couldn’t be more clear.

    The death rates in a number of states seem to be starting to climb. More significantly, the hospitalization rate is definitely starting to climb in a number of states. All of them, except for California, are what I would call Trump states or at least typically Republican states, i.e. “Reality is what we say it is!!!”

  31. CSK says:

    Carly Fiorina has announced that she’s voting for Joe Biden. Cult45 will naturally retort that she’s still upset about Trump implying that she has an ugly face. I don’t think it’s that.

  32. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Wearing a mask isn’t a political statement…it’s an IQ test.

  33. CSK says:

    In 2019, 29.7% of Protestant who attend church weekly believed Trump was sent to us by God. In 2020, that figure has risen to 49.%%. This according to a study published in Religion in Public entitled “Trump the Anointed?”

  34. Monala says:

    Republican Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler – an NRA darling who champions gun rights for her white constituents – calls open carry by Black Americans “mob rule” and says it endangers civilians and law enforcement.


  35. Monala says:

    The right’s latest talking point about Aunt Jemima is that we want to cancel a character based upon a woman who rose up from slavery to become a millionaire.

    “Nope,” says Snopes. Quoting from two books written more than a decade ago about the “Mammy” stereotype, the Snopes article points out that decades after she modeled for Aunt Jemima, Nancy Green was still working as a domestic (according to Census records). Furthermore, her descendants tried unsuccessfully to sue Quaker Oats for taking advantage of Green without compensation.

    This is in addition to the fact that when Green was working to promote the Aunt Jemima syrup, the promotions specifically had her wax poetic about how much she loved her days in slavery.

  36. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    It’s also an empathy test. As wearing a mask mostly keeps someone infected from spreading the virus around, those who wear one are trying to keep from unknowingly harming others.

  37. JohnMcC says:

    @Mike in Arlington: And for a really deep dive into the Spanish Flu, the Palmer Raids and such fun times, there is the timeless John Dos Passos’ trilogy lumped together under the name U.S.A.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Wait… jugs of weed killer have directions for use on them????

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: The guy from the Handel on the Law radio show always says that the issue is not whether you can sue, it’s whether you can win.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Sheeeit girl, 99% of popular culture is obscure to me.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mike in Arlington: I read this this morning, The Ghosts of Elaine, Arkansas, 1919 and meant to pass it along but it touched on so many things I didn’t have time to get into it all. Still don’t but here’s the lede:

    In America’s bloody history of racial violence, the little-known Elaine Massacre in Phillips County, Arkansas, which took place in October 1919, may rank as the deadliest. The reasons why the event has remained shrouded and obscure, despite a shocking toll of bloodshed inflicted on the African-American inhabitants of Phillips County, speak to a legacy of white supremacy in the US and ruthless suppression of labor activism that disfigures American society to this day.

    Phillips County, located deep in the Arkansas Delta, was largely rural and three-quarters African-American; in the small town of Elaine, there were ten times as many black residents as white. The African Americans of Phillips County, like those throughout the South, were subjected to segregation and disenfranchisement, those twin pillars of white supremacy. But the black sharecroppers and tenant farmers there were also the victims of a particularly harsh form of repression known as “debt peonage.” Under this system, they were loaned money or rented land by plantation owners; they were then forced to sell their crops to the owners at below-market rates and to purchase their food and other supplies from over-priced plantation stores, trapping them in a cycle of perpetual debt, with the owners keeping—and often doctoring—the accounts.

    In the spring of 1919, a group of Phillips County African-American sharecroppers and tenant farmers, many of them veterans who had recently returned from service overseas in World War I, decided to challenge this system by joining a union called the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America (PFHUA), which had been founded the year before by army veteran Robert Lee Hill, a black tenant farmer in Winchester, Arkansas. The union’s goal was “to advance the interest of the Negro, morally and intellectually,” and its constitution ended with a proclamation: “WE BATTLE FOR THE RIGHTS OF OUR RACE; IN UNION IS STRENGTH.”

    The PFHUA’s challenge to both white supremacy and the economic domination of the planter class took place amid the combustible atmosphere of the Red Scare—the post-World War I panic provoked by the Bolshevik Revolution, anarchist bombings, a huge wave of labor unrest including a general strike in Seattle, and by race riots that shook more than two dozen cities during the Red Summer. Elaine’s white population was already on edge at hearing reports that blacks were daring to organize, and further distressed by the arrival at Phillips County post offices of The Messenger, a militant black newspaper based in New York. An editorial in the paper urged sharecroppers to revolt: “Strike! Southern white capitalists know the Negro can bring down the white bourbon South to its knees by one strike at the source of production.”

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Oooooo…. I gotta remember that one.

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I know! Who’da thunk it???

  44. Tyrell says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Does the style of the mask relate to IQ? My current mask is the Fiend – modeled after Bray Wyatt mask (WWE).

  45. Mike in Arlington says:

    @JohnMcC: Thank you! I’ll add them to my ever increasing reading list.

  46. Mike in Arlington says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks for that. The podcast I mentioned covered that massacre. It was chilling and sickening.

    While I know my knowledge of American history is a bit patchy in some areas, I was embarrassed to find out that I had never even heard about the red summer.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Ordinarily, I’d say no.

  48. Teve says:

    Rachel Bitecofer says Ohio just moved from lean Republican to toss up.

  49. Teve says:

    i’m in a union. If I slapped a customer I’d be fired immediately. And the union would tell me to go fuck myself. It’s not the existence of unions that’s the problem, it’s the contracts.

  50. MarkedMan says:

    On another thread, KingDaddy mentioned movies that were good but whose plots made no sense. His reference was “The Big Sleep”. Mine is “Vertigo”. I can appreciate everything about it, except that the plot is so far out there as to be a feature length I Love Lucy episode. If you are going to commit that particular crime, there must be thousands of ways that are more straightforward than the method chosen.

  51. CSK says:

    None of the screenwriters, including William Faulkner, could figure out what the hell The Maltese Falcon was about, either.

  52. Tim says:

    While reading James’ post about Trump going to his New Jersey golf club, the subject of saluting persons, uniforms, and vehicles in the military came up and reminded me of a story from my early days in the USAF.

    Upon graduation from basic training in August 1976, we were all awakened before dawn to move out of our dormitory to be processed and sent to our next duty stations, which for most of us were our technical training centers. In true military “hurry-up and wait” fashion, hundreds of new Airmen were gathered in a large warehouse-like building and waited while we were divided up into groups based on destination, with hundreds going by chartered buses to several bases across the USA. A lucky few got to go to by plane from San Antonio airport. There were just two of us who were heading to Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, Texas for our tech school and we were told we’d be going by Greyhound bus from the downtown bus station. To get us there, they called for a car and driver, which turned out to be the staff car for the base commander, with a Colonel’s flag sitting on the front fender which the driver, with a wink, said he wouldn’t bother to remove. It was a great way to leave Lackland AFB, slowly driving across the base with two brand new Airmen, still sporting our buzz cuts, as every Airman, NCO, and Officer saluted the vehicle on the way out as we waved from the back seat.

  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Aw c’mon, the Black Bird. What else? 😉

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mike in Arlington: Don’t feel bad, I had forgotten about the Red Summer until I read that. Chances are pretty good I’ll forget about it again before the week is out.

  55. An Interested Party says:

    And to think that this bozo is touted in Republican circles as a possible future presidential candidate…he seems far too scared of black people to ever serve in any role in the White House…

  56. Kathy says:


    To me, too, probably. But Rush’s “The Body Electric” was not that popular.

    Anyway, the relevant part:

    Replays each of the days
    A hundred years of routines
    Bows its head and prays
    To the mother of all machines

  57. Mister Bluster says:

    I hope they don’t hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. Yes, angel, I’m gonna send you over. The chances are you’ll get off with life. That means if you’re a good girl, you’ll be out in 20 years. I’ll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I’ll always remember you.
    Sam Spade

  58. Teve says:

    It happened again:

    Customer: do I qualify for the 55 and up plan?
    Me: let me look at your Driver’s License again. Yep, you’re 62, you qualify.
    Customer: how old are *you*?
    Me: 43.
    Customer: you don’t look 43.
    Me: I Moisturize.

  59. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: Double Indemnity didn’t really make any sense either.

  60. Jax says:

    @Teve: Hahahahahaha…..thanks for the laugh, I imagined that in my head. You should try different lines, just to see their reaction. Stick to commercially available products, you don’t want to get them totally freaked out by hyping green grass enema’s or a smoothie from the blood of a giant frog or anything. I mean, you could, but probably ought to wait til you put your two weeks in to pull those. 😉

  61. Jax says:

    This is pretty brutal.

    I remain convinced that Biden should just hunker down and let the man Trump is destroy himself. Peggy Noonan wants a hero, well, it’s not Biden, perhaps she should do some soul-reflecting and wonder why there aren’t any other Republicans riding in to save the day.

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    I need a hero
    I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
    He’s gotta be strong and he’s gotta be fast
    And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight
    I need a hero
    I’m holding out for a hero ’til the morning light
    He’s gotta be sure
    And it’s gotta be soon
    And he’s gotta be larger than life

    Where’s she gonna find that in the Republican party as it’s configured currently?
    [spoiler alert] Because everybody needs an earworm.

  63. gVOR08 says:

    @Jax: Interesting column from Noonan. Well, interesting that she wrote it, otherwise pretty mediocre. I made the mistake of reading comments. The WSJ commenters are nearly as bad as Lucianne or The American Thinker.