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:

    Donald Trump “demanded” an apology from Forbes magazine after it dropped him from its list of the 400 wealthiest people in the US for the second time in three years.

    “I hereby demand a full apology from the failing Forbes magazine,” the former president wrote on Wednesday on Truth Social, the reportedly struggling social media platform he set up after being expelled from mainstream platforms over the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

    A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

  2. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The response from Forbes should be simple and straightforward: Prove it.

  3. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Scott:

    He always, always describes any news organ he dislikes as “failing.”

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Heh, NY Republicans are getting nervous. They see the inevitable tar and feathering awaiting Santos and fear they could be splattered with the tar as well. They aren’t wrong about that.

    New York Republicans in the US House on Wednesday moved to expel one of their own: George Santos, the serial fabulist and accused fraudster who faces new charges under a superseding federal indictment.

    “Today, I’ll be introducing an expulsion resolution to rid the People’s House of fraudster George Santos,” the GOP congressman Anthony D’Esposito said in a post on social media.
    D’Esposito said the resolution was co-sponsored by Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Nick Langworthy and Brandon Williams – all House Republicans from New York.

    We’ll see how much protection this going nowhere expulsion resolution gives them soon enough.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: From the article,

    Alexander, a senior editor at Forbes, is also the author of a 2020 book, White House Inc: How Donald Trump Turned the Presidency Into a Business.

    On Wednesday, Alexander tweeted: “Hey Donald Trump, if you want to point out a single false fact in any of the articles I’ve published about you – or in the book I wrote about you – feel free. In the meantime, I’m going to keep reporting – and carefully fact-checking every word I publish.”

    I was just focusing on trump’s ridiculous toddler tantrum.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Any news organization, any police agency that crosses his path, any prosecutor who brings charges against him, any of his former minions who tell the truth, any ex GOP politician who criticizes him, any…. Ad nauseum. It’s kind of amazing how limited a vocabulary he possesses, but his lack of reading is obvious.

  7. BugManDan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well I guess Santos will just have to make sure the Speakership never gets filled.

  8. CSK says:


    His other favorite word is “deranged.”

  9. MarkedMan says:

    No predictions, just speculation: Has the Israeli-Hamas war finally brought Twitter to a turning point? I have been very skeptical of all the Xitter hate from journos because they continue to use it and quote it just as frequently as in the past. But if there is any crediblity to this journalists may have reached a breaking point with the level of misinformation on their goto app.

    Twitter fills a real need for journalists, who in turn have an outsize role in it’s popularity. If they leave in significant numbers it could have a big impact. The real test is whether they coalesce on a viable alternative.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Pure projection on his part.

  11. CSK says:



  12. Rick DeMent says:


    I have another Blue sky invite code. I don’t know how I’m being awarded them I only have a a few dozen followers.

    Free to any OTB commenter 🙂

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’m not hooked into the caving community anymore so this is the first I’ve heard.

    Brett Hemphill dove more than 40 stories deep in Texas’s Phantom Springs underwater cave system in 2013 to set a national record, breaking a mark he had set just five years earlier.

    Last weekend, his diving colleagues pulled his body out of that same treacherous labyrinth, days after the 56-year-old had gone missing during an expedition.
    “I say this to people … I don’t think about my kids and my wife when I’m 20,000ft … back” in a cave, Hemphill said in 2021. “Those are not the things you want to think about.”

    Instead, he suggested he focused exclusively on the task at hand, taking comfort from knowing that he had the adequate skills and equipment to keep himself safe in environments that many liken to outer space.

    Hemphill’s last dive began at about 10.45am on 4 October alongside Pitkin. The pair had gone back to Phantom Springs, and this time Hemphill reached a staggering depth of 570ft (174 meters).

    KUR said video showed Hemphill tying a guide rope to a rock at that juncture, and that the team became separated.

    “I started out slowly expecting that he would catch me up at some points – or hoping to catch me up at some point,” Pitkin, who is from the UK, told the Florida news station WTVT. “But he never did.”


  14. JohnSF says:

    I normally look in twitter quite often for news, but have been actively avoiding since the attacks on Israel, as it’s become a swamp of disinformation.
    And what verges on, or actually IS atrocity exploitation.

    For instance, one disinfo item getting a heavy push from some Russia-friendly channels, and some more extreme MAGA is that the weapons used by Hamas were obtained from Ukraine.

    The EU looks to be getting very fed up with this:

    E.U. Commissioner Thierry Breton said
    “X is being used to disseminate illegal content and disinformation in the EU.” He warned of an investigation and potential penalties if Musk or the platform didn’t respond.

  15. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well, THAT gave me a start. I used to work with someone by that name, who would be around that age. After clicking through to the article, it’s not the same person, but dang that’s sad.

  16. Beth says:


    I read somewhere that the E.U. was threatening to block Twitter over this in the E.U. what I think is more interesting is how that would affect his web of financing. That’s what I’m rooting for to come crashing down. It seems to me that he’s over leveraged and coasting by on Rich White Dude status. It’ll be fun to see who he wipe out with him.

  17. drj says:


    Twitter is still usable for me as long as you use curated lists or simply visit the profiles of people you trust.

    But not so long ago, you could find some decent discussions among knowledgeable experts (if you knew where to look). Now, replies are absolutely useless as the blue checks get pushed to the top. And those people are a mixture of Elon fanboys and outright Nazis (but I repeat myself – more or less).

    Beyond the users you already know, Twitter is completely and utterly fucked. (And because of the blue-check insanity, you won’t ever find anyone new who is worth following.)

  18. charontwo says:

    @Rick DeMent: @Rick DeMent:

    I have another Blue sky invite code. I don’t know how I’m being awarded them I only have a a few dozen followers.

    Free to any OTB commenter

    I am game. I am at charontwo yahoo com

    also at

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @Rick DeMent: Thanks, but I’m not really one of the use cases for Twitter or anything like it. I don’t have any desire to get instant news and if there is a funny video or something I’m happy to let a friend or relative send it to me on one of my text message chat groups or, of course, someone posting here in the OTB commentariat or on one of the other blogs I follow. For the most part I don’t find the need to get the up-to-the-minute breaking news, certainly not at the risk that I’m going to get a lot of speculation and misinformation mixed in.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    An alternative to Twitter would have to provide the verification and filtering that Twitter used to provide, at least as well, along with automated and/or manual monitoring for unacceptable content. Mastodon based groups can provide that on a very small scale, but if something is going to replace Twitter it will have to be able to operate at scales several orders of magnitude greater than that. Bluesky might make it, or the Google (Meta?) thing they are trying to do.

  21. EddieInCA says:

    Anyone happen to see any bits of Trump’s rally last night?

    OMG. The next time ANYONE speaks to me about the cognitive decline of Joe Biden I’m going to send them those clips.

    It was insane.

    1. He PRAISED Hezbollah! Seriously.
    2. He claimed “Barack Hussein Obama” is still running the government.
    3. He praised Laura Loomer, the far right White Nationalist. Seriously.
    4. He said, and I quote “The US Capitol Building looks like shit”. Anyone who’s ever been in there knows that’s not true. The place is pristine.
    5. He was slurring his speech. Obviously slurring his speech.

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden is holding together an international coalition supporting. Ukraine, keeping China from going into Taiwan, supporting Israel with weapons and, eventually, cash, when the House get’s it’s shit together, putting in policies that are improving nationwide infrastructure, lowering inflation, and avoiding a recession.

    Yeah, Biden’s the old one, but he’s handling the US business amazingly well.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Five Utah residents have filed a lawsuit alleging that Tim Ballard, the former head of an anti-sex trafficking group, sexually assaulted and emotionally abused women employed to take part in the organization’s efforts to rescue victims of sex trafficking.

    The lawsuit, filed in Salt Lake County, Utah, names Ballard, Operation Underground Railroad, the organization he headed until he stepped down in August over similar claims, as well as its board members, as defendants.

    “Defendant Ballard, intentionally, knowingly or recklessly, committed battery and sexual assault of Plaintiffs, as all sexual touching was done under the Couples Ruse in order to help save trafficked children and women,” the lawsuit alleges.

    The complaint comes after Vice News reported allegations of sexual and business malfeasance, a rebuke by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that accused Ballard of trying to exploit his friendship with a senior church apostle for “personal advantage and activity regarded as morally unacceptable”.

    Ballard has emerged as something of a conservative hero after the release of The Sound of Freedom, an anti-sex trafficking thriller based on his experiences that has taken more than $100m at the box office.

    The gods of irony are hard at work.

  23. drj says:


    That’s just Trump being Trump.

    I’m still more concerned about Biden’s age.

    Seriously. If Biden can’t alleviate my justified concerns about his apparent mental decline, I will have no choice but to vote for Trump a third time.

  24. CSK says:


    I didn’t see it, but I heard he trashed Netanyahu and praised Hezbollah and Hamas.

  25. gVOR10 says:

    @Beth: It’s been my opinion, as raised by a few pundits, that Musk is trying to bankrupt Twitter. He shot off his mouth and made an unrealistic offer for it. He tried to back out and Twitter successfully sued him to do the deal. He doesn’t see a path to profitability with the debt load he put on it. So he can best minimize his loss with bankruptcy. The quickest way is to drive off advertisers. The best way to drive off advertisers is to turn it into a Nazi bar. And his reputation provides cover for doing so.

  26. Kathy says:


    It’s a form of mimesis. That’s when an organism takes a form that allows it to hide in plain sight, as it is taken to be something else. It’s common among predatory insects and other types of vermin.

  27. charontwo says:


    For the most part I don’t find the need to get the up-to-the-minute breaking news, certainly not at the risk that I’m going to get a lot of speculation and misinformation mixed in.

    Or you could skip the misinformation by only looking at tweets from users you trust. I don’t think there is much misinformation mixed in with what I look at, even now.

  28. gVOR10 says:

    @EddieInCA: Trust me, I’ll circle around and come back to your comment. I was unhappy with Michelle Goldberg’s column in NYT (depaywalled) this morning. I was having trouble stating my objection in a way that won’t touch raw nerves, but Paul Camos at LGM did a pretty good job.

    It’s understandable that Goldberg condemns anyone who rationalizes Hamas’ violence. But she’s nutpicking and generalizing to the whole “left”. The MSM have been condemning, and playing up, any such voices, while the RW media are exploiting them.

    Dems with any actual influence, while occasionally encouraging Israel to not act similarly, are roundly condemning Hamas’ atrocities. Bell curves have tails. We have many Palestinian and other Arab citizens and residents. There are bound to be a few public statements we condemn, but must not forbid. And the MSM, not to mention the RW media, will play up every fringe instance, while largely ignoring, as you note, that the leading candidate for the GOP nomination has gone nuts, taking a chunk of his Party with him.

  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    I don’t buy that. Musk has put his ego on the line and a mewling, pitiful descent into bankruptcy is not what this love-deprived narcissist wants. He wants attention and praise and a chorus of incels and Nazis to tell him he’s cool. If Twitter died we’d be able to ignore Musk, and he does not want to be ignored.

  30. Beth says:


    I’m with @Michael Reynolds: on this. I don’t think his ego could stand the failure of it. It’s not like a rocket blowing up and you can be like “oh well we’re learning.” This is just pure failure all the way down.

    The other bit is, I’ve seen a lot of reporting that indicates that Twitter isn’t the sole security for the debt. Musk has a lot of Tesla stock tied up in it that if he had to fire sale would ding the share price which would deflate his “wealth”, which again kills his ego.

    That’s all it is for these guys, a giant dick measuring contest.

  31. Rick DeMent says:


    sent it let me know if you got it.

  32. Kathy says:


    It’s not like a rocket blowing up and you can be like “oh well we’re learning.”

    I think it’s exactly like that. You know, do Y and X goes insane with bigotry and misinformation, and half your advertisers go away.

    The problem is twofold: 1, Learning is an active, volitional process If the Head Xitter chooses not to learn, he won’t learn. 2. Applying what you learn is also active and volitional. Niven’s Law: no method works if it’s not used. All that the Head Xitter and staff could learn and maybe did learn, makes no difference if the lessons are not applied.

    This is just pure failure all the way down.

    Yes, yes it is.

  33. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kathy: I’m with Kathy on this one. I think Musk is being stubbornly absolutist about free speech. I think it also likely he’s been targeted by a right wing/Russian influence campaign. We’ve already heard about the time he turned of Starlink access to the Ukraine, because some Russian waved nukes at him.

    The guy is brilliant and also clueless. But he isn’t aware that he’s clueless. He’s as innocent about the nastiness of the world as a 3 year old. Being a rich guy has shielded him from it, and made the problem worse.

    The right wing propaganda machine are the people who fed James Damore (who I also read as spectrum, strongly so) to the lions so they could score some propaganda points. Google’s firing of him was obvious, clear-cut, and predictable. He could have saved his job by saying, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean or want to make all the women engineers in my company feel like I didn’t want them there.” (I believe this to be true of Damore, by the way.) No, he got egged on by conservative “friends” into a headline-making confrontation. Which he lost, badly, but they got their headlines.

    It’s really easy to do this with spectrum people, who already have a tendency toward “pathological demand avoidance”.

    I’m, ahem, learning about this because I have a spectrum person or two in my own life right now. Understanding what’s going on with them is important.

  34. just nutha says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’m pretty good at ignoring Musk already. It doesn’t take a lot of effort.

  35. MarkedMan says:


    Or you could skip the misinformation by only looking at tweets from users you trust

    When something major breaks I pretty much immediately stop viewing “casual” news, whether it be from tweets someone links to, or blogs or blog comments sections, and instead go to reputable print news sources even though it takes a lot longer for the news to get through. I find that much of the early stuff is wrong and misleading and I end up getting stuff fixed in my head that was wrong. Better to ignore it until it is vetted.

    For stuff that is less major, the benefits of having an up to the minute feed is dramatically offset by the annoyance factor of all this nattering going on about my head.

  36. MarkedMan says:

    [Caveat to what follows: this was 30+ years ago and there’s no way in that pre-internet archive world to check my recollections]
    When the Bosnian war started to heat up during the Clinton administration NPR went to a couple of Chicago ethnic neighborhoods and got a second generation middle aged woman from each side. They were both born in the US with parents from Yugoslavia, and they both had a lot of involvement in their respective ethnic communities. I don’t remember much about the Bosnian woman but the Serbian one made a lasting impression. Basically, she started out hoping that everyone involved would come to their senses, that going to war was a step too far, many steps too far. But as the months went by and the situation got grimmer and more and more Serbian atrocities came to light, every time they revisited her there was a marked shift in position. First, there were a few bad apples and it was not the Serbian policy. Then, yes, these things are bad, but there are atrocities on both sides – these things happen in war. Then, the media is out to get the Serbs and plays up every bad thing and never shows the bad things the Bosnians were doing. And, if I remember correctly, the final act was a simple disbelief of the biased media. The atrocities weren’t happening.

    I felt like I knew these women (I’m a Chicago south-sider myself) and that they were sensible, realistic, down to earth. So, it was a revelation to watch the journey of denial on the Serbian woman’s part.

  37. wr says:

    @Jay L Gischer: “I think Musk is being stubbornly absolutist about free speech.”

    That’s his bullshit explanation, but the only “free speech” he seems to be in favor of is ultra-Right wing propaganda. He’s got no problem shutting down the speech of anyone to the left of Ted Cruz.

  38. BTW: if anyone wants a Bluesky invite, I have three to share. Drop me an email.

  39. charontwo says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    Yes I did get it. Thank you. How do I use it?

    Nevermind, I googled.

  40. charontwo says:


    Whatever. I have found stuff on twitter like links to court filings, links to transcripts etc., I’m not seeing the big objectivity problem.

    Also, links to blog posts.

  41. charontwo says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    Thank you.

    This is me:

  42. Kathy says:

    No word yet on whether movie theater operators will try their best to recreate the concert going experience for Swift’s Eras Tour movie, by jacking up prices and adding on hidden junk fees to the regular movie ticket price.

    I want to make clear I’ve nothing against Taylor Swift. In fact, I wish she’d attend a few Biden rallies and campaign for him. It seems she attracts a lot of people to public events.

  43. Sleeping Dog says:

    If someone already posted this, well, here it is again.

    Trump tells court he had no duty to ‘support’ the Constitution as president

  44. KM says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The guy is brilliant

    What exactly is this based on or is it “common knowledge” like Trump supposedly being rich? People like to call him a genius but what exactly had he done to prove he is?

    A lot of his creations or business success comes from his workers. What has he personally designed /built/ created/ invented that shows he’s smart? Even his companies seem more blue-sky rich person whimsy then real visionary, ahead of the curve work. It seems like this is one of those self-promotion things that’s been pushed by fan boys for so long it’s just taken for granted now.

  45. MarkedMan says:


    I’m not seeing the big objectivity problem.

    I wasn’t clear. With trusted sources I don’t see an objectivity problem either. I was only talking about what I do for the sake of my own sanity, and for that I don’t want something like Twitter or equivalent nattering at me all day long. But this is a value neutral preference. It’s right for me but that doesn’t say anything at all about anyone else’s preference.

  46. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    This is the most ludicrous attempt at hairspltting I’ve ever seen.

  47. Bill Jempty says:

    Right now we have a repair being done in our kitchen. So cooking is out for tonight.

    I told DW to get Burger King on the way home. She goes to BK and guess what? They don’t sell quarter pounders there any more.

    What’s next? IHOP not serving French Toast.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: What a lawyer ends up arguing in court when their client is an absolute idiot.

  49. Mister Bluster says:

    @Bill Jempty:..Burger King

    I believe that the Quarter Pounder is a McDonald’s delicacy.
    It was introduced in the early ’70s to compete with the Burger King Whopper.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I use twitter for analysis only and only by trusted people. For example, I follow over a dozen different lawyers for legal analysis. They don’t always agree, which is helpful.

  51. Kathy says:

    It seems as though a generative AI has again made up court cases in a document filed in court.

    I’ve been playing with ChatGPT on and off. I’ve gotten some whoppers (no relation), but some useful results as well. Anyway, one should always check that the bots come up with, especially in legal matters. Not doing so is genuine stupidity.

  52. Bill Jempty says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I believe that the Quarter Pounder is a McDonald’s delicacy.
    It was introduced in the early ’70s to compete with the Burger King Whopper.

    You’re right. What happened was my fault. I get confused sometimes says the person who wrote ‘The man walked into the elephant.’

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Comment removed. Superfluous.

  54. charontwo says:


    Perhaps affected by the mechanics of how you use twitter. I use Chrome as a browser which has the advantage of multiple “profiles” that you can have open at once or open as convenient. Each profile tends to have several tabs left open permanently.

    So I can have a profile or two devoted to twitter, with several individual tabs left open for the feeds of trusted sources. So I can just look at trusted source feeds without being annoyed or distracted by some garbage Leon Skum wants people to see.

  55. Jax says:

    @charontwo: My computer restarted last night and stole all of my tabs I had open. Damn it, I was working on that! Now I gotta remember what I was doing and start over! 😛

  56. Kathy says:


    Next time that happens with Chrome, try right-clicking on an empty spot next to the tab, past the + sign, and see if the pop-up menu gives you the option to restore or re-open a closed window (not a closed tab).

    I stumbled on that once when I closed the window rather than the tab. I don’t know if it survives a reboot, but it might.

  57. Mister Bluster says:

    Scalise drops Speaker bid!

    “Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., has dropped out of the race to become the new House speaker, after failing to secure enough support for his bid to succeed on the floor.”

  58. Gustopher says:

    @charontwo: There are also a bunch of Chrome extensions that block the blue checks on sight and hides the crusty leftover bits as they are being blocked.

    It’s not perfect, but it makes Twitter far more pleasant.

  59. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: Boo! I wanted to watch him as he got voted down over and over.

  60. charontwo says:


    Whenever I set up a new profile, I go to “Settings” “On Startup” and change it from the default to “Continue where you left off””. That should fix that.

    The other thing I do later for a new profile is go to “Setting” “Customize your profile” and scroll down to the bottom, move the slider for “Create desktop shortcut”

    I just took a look at my shortcuts, I have 24 shortcuts, so that many separate profiles.

  61. Michael Reynolds says:

    I don’t know if anyone’s posted this, but wow.

    Four out of five Jewish Israelis believe the government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are to blame for the mass infiltration of Hamas terrorists into Israel and the massacre that followed, a new Dialog Center poll released on Thursday found.

    An overwhelming majority – 86% of respondents, including 79% of coalition supporters, said the surprise attack from Gaza is a failure of the country’s leadership, while a staggering 92% said the war is causing anxiety.

    Furthermore, almost all the respondents (94%) believe the government must bear some responsibility for the lack of security preparedness that led to the assault, with over 75% saying the government holds most of the responsibility.

    The survey, which polled 620 Israeli Jews from across the country, also found that a majority of respondents believed Netanyahu should resign following the conclusion of Operation Swords of Iron.

    A slim majority of 56% said Netanyahu must resign at the end of the war, with 28% of coalition voters agreeing with this view, and 52% of respondents also expect Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to resign.

  62. Mister Bluster says:


    And now we are all deprived of another display of mature adult Republican behavior.

    During the 14th ballot for Speaker, (Rep. Mike) Rogers lunged at Representative Matt Gaetz after Gaetz spoke with McCarthy and then said “nice hat” to Rogers, in reference to Rogers’s toupee. Representative Richard Hudson then had to physically restrain Rogers.

  63. Jax says:

    Thanks all….I use Opera with the VPN. Most of my programs I had open saved what I had open, as far as saving pictures, but the random “funeral clothes” searches on the internet were lost, and the layouts for funeral programs and music that I was working on. I was…unhappy.

  64. Jay L Gischer says:

    @KM: This ship has probably already sailed, and nobody will read this.

    I am an engineer, in Silicon Valley. A CEO is of course going to use the ideas of their engineering team, and probably some input from the marketing team as well. Ideas come from everywhere. Gwynne Shotwell has done a magnificent job with SpaceX, and the team, too.

    What I need to call a CEO brilliant is a good enough understanding of what is possible with the technology available to develop and articulate a vision that is actionable, and hire the people who match up with that vision. Musk has done all those things with both Tesla and SpaceX. He now needs to get out of the way at Tesla, as he isn’t improving things (he’s a terrible administrator/manager). I don’t have a clear read on SpaceX, but I think he’s too caught up in X to interfere much.

    The contrasting type of CEO is what we call the “bean counter”. They don’t have any ideas per se. They don’t care about the technology. They just want to improve the bottom line. They are stifling, and signal the slow decline and death of tech companies.

    Tim Cook is a bean counter who is trying, bless his heart, to be a visionary.