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:

    A landlord in New Zealand has run up against an unusual problem while trying to make his tenant pay $900 for rubbish removal: diplomatic immunity.

    Chandler Investments Limited claimed its tenant, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, left a rented mews house in the capital, Wellington, without covering costs for cleaning, rubbish removal and key cutting.

    New Zealand’s tenancy tribunal has dismissed the claim after finding the tenant to be a state and thus protected by sovereign immunity.

    “Here the claim is filed against the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in New Zealand. It must follow that the claim is in fact a claim against a state, the People’s Republic of China,” records from the tribunal in September say.
    “I am not persuaded that the rental of a residential dwelling to an embassy would be commercial in nature, as the common law around diplomatic or sovereign immunity would consider it.”

    There you have it, renting property is not a commercial act.

    Chandler said he would not rent property to embassies again.

    “No more diplomats, and according to our property manager, that’s the advice he gives to others in the same area as well,” he told Stuff.

    That would seem to be the solution.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Republican congresswoman has said she will not run for re-election next year, claiming “DC is broken”.

    Debbie Lesko, from Arizona, said in a statement that traveling to Washington each month had also proven difficult. “I have decided not to run for re-election in 2024. I want to spend more time with my husband, my 94-year-old mother, my three children, and my five grandchildren,” Lesko said, per Politico. “Right now, Washington DC is broken; it is hard to get anything done. Please know that I will continue my work to improve Congress and to help my constituents and the American people. We must all work toward that end.”

    Lesko, an ardent supporter of Donald Trump, is a former school board member and state lawmaker. She won her House seat in a special election in 2018.

    And who broke it? Who refuses to fix it? Who is running back to AZ in search of a rock they can bury their head under?

    The sad part of all this is that whoever it is that replaces her, they will no doubt be worse.

  3. Scott says:

    This is shallow of me to point this out but this picture of Netanyahu hugging Biden looks more like he is crying on his shoulder. Not a good image.

  4. DrDaveT says:

    After a brief apparent moderation, global climate has returned to full out crazy. At what is historically a relatively cool time of year, global sea surface temperatures are nearly has high as they have ever been at any time of year.

  5. Michael Cain says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I have wondered why more Congress critters from western states don’t give up after one term because of the travel hassles.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Cain: The invention of the commercial airline has caused great grief to Congress critters that come from outside commuting distance to DC. In the past, it was expected that a Congress person would move themselves and their families to DC, Virginia or Maryland, enroll their kids in a local school, coach their kids soccer team, etc. But now that would be death to their re-election chances as opponents would offer it as proof they have lost touch. They have to commute back and forth constantly, destroying their family life and living the single life while surrounded by lobbyists. Not a good situation. From my point of view, electing a Congress critter is essentially hiring them for a job in DC, and they shouldn’t be expected to continue to live in the home state.

  7. Mister Bluster says:

    Sidney Powell pleads guilty in Georgia election case. Live on CNN.

    Kraken Krashes in Kourt!

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: But now that would be death to their re-election chances as opponents would offer it as proof they have lost touch.

    Josh Hawley disagrees.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Well, that didn’t take long. I wonder what kind of deal she made.

  10. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: We need to move the Capitol to Belle Fourche, South Dakota.

  11. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Link at The Guardian


    According to the link above, “..six years’ probation, a $6,000 fine, $2,700 restitution to the state of Georgia, writing an apology letter to the citizens of Georgia and to testify truthfully at trial..” (emphasis added).

    Benito should start planning for an extended stay in small and minimally adequate accommodations at taxpayer expense.

  12. Scott says:

    @Scott: Or maybe the Mean Center of Population:

    Which, I believe, would be right near OzarkHillbilly.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Josh Hawley publicly moved to DC?

  14. Kathy says:


    Since the critters at the Capitol will want air transportation, then they should move to a city with a HUGE airline hub. The natural option would be Chicago.

    The problem is hubs are dominated by one airline. In this case United would reap the benefits, to the detriment of the rest.

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    My sources tell me that prosecutors wanted a her to adopt a new hairstyle but relented when she promised dirt on Trump.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Laclede or Webster county from the looks of it (my Misery DeLormes is in my truck and I don’t have any topos of that area) 80-90 miles SW of me.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Yep, Virginia actually. The law/state constitution in Misery says the AG has to live in Jeff City. When he was AG it took a lawsuit to force him to move there. So this is not unexpected of him.

    Unless some Repub primaries his ass, the Misery RWNJs won’t care one way or the other. Personally, I’m happy he now lives there tho I’d prefer Siberia. One less asshole I won’t have to deal with on the street.

  18. Scott says:

    @Kathy: I’ve always thought our Congresscritters should emulate the Founding Fathers. Start for the Capitol in January on horseback and start sessions sometime in March. Now if they could find inns along the way that sleep 2 or 3 to a bedbug ridden bed then we would be assured of their dedication and authenticity.

  19. Kathy says:


    All of that would be hard to arrange in this day and age.

    Except the bedbugs.

  20. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy: We could leave them with modern transportation but shut off the air conditioning in the federal buildings in Washington. By the end of June none of them would want to stay in DC.

  21. Kathy says:

    So as not to derail te other thread, I’ll comment on Matt’s observations about histories written by those without an academic background.

    Most of the history podcasters I follow or used to follow have academic training in history. Namely Kara Cooney, Jill Lepore, Patrick Wyman, and Sebastian Major. Two that don’t are Mike Duncan and Robyn Pierson, who podcasted histories of Rome and Byzantium respectively.

    I stopped following Pierson’s podcast over a year ago, as I found the subject matter, the late Byzantine empire, both too dry and depressing for my taste, but this says nothing about the quality of his podcast (and the early parts of the Byzantine empire’s history are far more interesting).

    I’ve had occasion to check the facts both of them presented. Early on in my audiobook reading, I gravitated towards Roman history. I’d say about 90% of what I read, including Great Courses series and Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, was covered by Duncan. There were some minor omissions in the Roman Republic era (a few of which he dealt with in his book The Storm Before the Storm), and there was some added detail in the other sources as well.

    All in all, though, if you want a comprehensive history of Rome from the legendary founding by Romulus and Remus, to the fall of the Empire in the west in the mid-5th century CE, Duncan’s podcast The History of Rome is a decent source.

    Much the same goes for his coverage of the French Revolution in his Revolutions podcast. I did not check all of his other revolutions, but I assume they’re all reasonably accurate.

  22. Joe says:

    @Scott, and OzarkHillbilly: I used to attend a retreat house on the banks of the Mississippi (yes, near OzarkHillbilly) called The Whitehouse. It was so named because it was at the center of an area for which there was once an organized attempt to move the federal government in order to be more geographically centered.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Joe: I have vague recollections of it. I think. Maybe…

    Actually, there was a Whitehouse Restaurant just outside of Sullivan (the town I am closest to). It closed some time ago (15 yrs?) and the finally tore the building down a couple years ago. Kinda sad, a grand old home fallen on hard times.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    chris evans


    Trust me, the look of befuddlement on his face is worth the 30 seconds all by itself.

  25. dazedandconfused says:


    It’s a hard grind to be a Congress critter these days, have to raise a hell of a lot of money.

    If you don’t think you can make a difference, having to kiss $3000.oo worth of butt every day would get old in a hurry.

    Where does the money go? Mostly to media. For FOX, CNN et al, elections are massive paydays. Is it any wonder the devote most of their time to horse-race political BS?

  26. Beth says:


    How does one surrender to the “tie-ronnie”.

    Is that this Tie Ronnie this guy’s cousin?

    In other news my therapist had me take a couple of diagnostics for ADHD and PTSD. The ADHD test was whatever. But I scored a 57 out of 80 on the PTSD test (PCL-5). That doesn’t strike me as good.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: Years ago, one of my students did research in ADHD for an argumentative essay. As part of her research, she performed ADHD screenings on all of the class members during each class period for several weeks. In an oral report to the class later in the semester, she reported her findings–only one student failed to show behaviors indicating ADHD–including the instructor of the course. I somehow got permission for her to reveal the name of the student who didn’t display any ADHD behaviors. That student was the one who had reported to me that he was receiving treatment for an anxiety disorder–he’d volunteered that information to me on the suggestion of his therapist so that he and I could come to a compromise if there were class activities he was unwilling to do.

    In some degree, it does make sense but it was still weird in an “what’s up with THAT?” way.

    (To the degree that I recall, the argument was that ADHD was overused as a justification for declaring a student to have learning disabilities and something about Adderall being overprescribed.)

    ETA: “How does one surrender to the “tie-ronnie”.” I dunno, but it sounds a little kinky to me.

  28. Stormy Dragon says:


    Isn’t complex PTSD pretty common for trans people who waited until later in life to transition? I’m sorry you have to suffer through this, but I’m not sure it’s that unexpected a diagnosis. Hopefully it means they can do something about it though.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m reminded of a meme to the effect of “Boomer: you can’t all have depression/anxiety… GenX/Millenial: we grew up being forced to play a ‘game’ where we had to complete a task perfectly in a short amount of time or the board literally blew up in our faces”

  29. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I suspect it is. The people I know who transition in their 40s or later all have had to make massive compromises to survive. I would guess the percentage of queer people who lived through the 60s-early 2000s who have PTSD is very high. Like I knew I had it, but this test really shoved it in my face in a way that’s, uh, unpleasant. However, basically every trans femme I know who is between like 19-30ish has decided they have autism. So it’s difficult to know where one thing ends and one begins. I know I don’t have autism, I just had a really terrible childhood.

    I already knew I had PTSD as a diagnosis, along with depression. I’m just now at the stage where I don’t have dysphoria screaming at me all the time and I can finally address other issues. Part of this has come about because I know my son has pretty intense ADHD. Like he could not control himself. I suspect I’m not that bad, but something is off.

    Also, that meme about Perfection is spot on.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The ironic thing is that when I was a kid, the school decided I was learning disabled and shunted me off to special classes for half the day. I functionally lost a third of my education to that. In reality I was a queer kid in the 80s from a WILDLY abusive and chaotic home. They just didn’t know any better and well hey, I had no bruises so I couldn’t be abused. I also don’t want stimulant ADHD meds. They won’t do anything for me except want to party more. I don’t need that, I need to get my work done.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Today was appear for jury duty day. Cracker is now 3 for 3 on struck for cause! Woo hoo!

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: My student’s conclusion was not that Boomers have all the depression, it was that the diagnostic tool was ineffective at what it was trying to measure because you could check enough boxes on anyone to get the diagnosis if you wanted it.

    All in all though, my favorite SpEd diagnosis was plain learning disabled. Any student could be declared learning disabled if that student was not meeting his or her potential in the learning environment he or she was in. My building administrator identified one of my homeroom students as learning disabled when he went on a jag of trying to qualify more students to get more special ed money from the feds. My student was identified because she had a 3.8 grade point average and must have been not able to get higher grades because of problems in the learning environment she was in.

    I thought we should clone her and infect everyone with whatever learning disability she was suffering from.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Speaking only for myself, at the age of 65 I have been thru some shit. I am in counseling for the 2 1/2 times. I’ve never taken a test for PTSD, but I would be very surprised if I wasn’t diagnosed for it. Nothing like what Beth has been thru, but shit piles up over the years. We build damns to hold it all back, but guess what? The damn leaks in a thousand and one places.

  33. Jax says:

    Countdown to Dad’s funeral on Saturday. My Mom is not doing well, I fear she is dying of a broken heart. We’ve spent the last two days at the local clinic giving her fluids and running various tests, she is not able to walk without a walker. She can barely string words together.

    The family all arrives tomorrow. I don’t think they realize how sick she is, like…..I thought they were gonna hospitalize her today, but she was insistent that she be at the funeral. She’s too damn tough for her own good, she keeps saying how disappointed my Dad would be if he saw how down and out she is. I don’t think he would feel that way, I think he’d be more worried for her health than I am.

  34. just nutha says:

    @Jax: Sending good wishes for you, your mom and the rest of those celebrating your dad’s life Saturday.