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:

    Happy Friday Eve everyone. That’s all I’ve got for now.

  2. Kylopod says:

    New poll with bad news for Biden:

    Almost six in 10 Americans feel Joe Biden should not run for a second term as president, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    If Biden were to run again, he would be trailing if the Republican candidate were Donald Trump or Nikki Haley but leading if it were Ron DeSantis, as things now stand.

    The poll did not ask citizens why they were opposed to Biden’s seeking reelection, but the pattern of responses made it clear that those who have been most dissatisfied with his presidency are the ones who want him to step down in favor of another Democratic nominee in 2024.

    Alright, I lied. The above is actually from an article in Sep. 1982, and I just substituted “Biden” for “Reagan” and switched out a few other words and names.

  3. SenyorDave says:
    I found this depressing, the idea that this women ruined her life (and her family’s) and is still all in on Trump. She is 100% convinced that the election was rigged because TRUMP says it is. She thinks it is unfair that she’s going to jail for five years because she only had the claw hammer for a short time which is why she broke the window.
    The amazing thing is that she probably could have gotten a lighter sentence but the judge said she showed no remorse.
    I am not depressed that she got five years but I am depressed that there are people like her in the country. She can, to quote Trump’s Christmas message, rot in hell as far as I’m concerned.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Here’s a feel good story to warm the cockles of your heart:

    ‘Soul-warming’: the mystery man who chops wood to keep his neighbors from freezing

    “Winter is here,” declares the woodsman, a broad-shouldered man in a black-and-gray checked wool shirt and navy denim Carhartt overalls as he sharpens his orange chainsaw. Hanging from his neck is a medallion that reads “St Christopher protect us”– a gift from a red-carpet-level comedian who once collaborated with him on a theater project.

    The woodsman, who requested anonymity, is an accomplished director, writer and producer with several popular film and TV credits on his IMDb page. But he now devotes much of his time to supplying his struggling – and sometimes freezing – neighbors with free firewood.

    Think of him as a cross between Paul Bunyan and Banksy. He delivers seasoned hardwoods like birch, oak and his favorite, maple (“burns hot, burns clean”) often to elderly people, the ill, or both. Though he is quick with a quip, his soft voice hardens when discussing America’s insufficient safety net: “Heat in the winter,” he said. “It’s a human right.”
    At the appointed time, (Rosa) Parks and her caregiver stopped by. “She looked diminutive, elderly,” he said, “with a nice sweater set.” She seemed a bit uncomfortable, though, and asked whether the air conditioning was on. He quickly offered to shut it off, which palpably pleased her. Her fragility touched him.

    “This is someone I read about in school and textbooks. But when you see someone like that, and the observation is trite, but she’s a real person and she looks like my grandmother or someone’s grandmother, it just inspired me to think that I can’t do what she did.”

    He chewed on that for a moment. “But anyone can do something, right?”

  5. EddieInCA says:


    Well played, sir.

  6. Kathy says:

    The Super Bowl I’d most like to see this year would be Detroit vs Buffalo.

    Far more likely will be San Francisco vs Baltimore.

    Fantasy wish is Dallas vs Pittsburgh, with the Steelers winning 7 to nothing*. Note I said “fantasy.” No way the Steelers beat the Bills.

    Better yet, 2 to nothing, with the safety scored on a botched snap.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Today in “No shit Sherlock,”

    A total of 44 of the 50 US states worsen inequality by making the wealthy pay a lesser share of their income in taxes than lower income people, a new analysis has found.

    State and local tax regimes are “upside-down”, the new research finds, with weak or non-existent personal income taxes in many states allowing richer Americans to avoid tax. A reliance on sales and excise taxes, considered regressive because they disproportionately impact the poor, has helped fuel this inequality, according to the report.
    Only six states, plus the District of Columbia, have tax systems that reduce inequality rather than worsen it, with the poorest fifth of people paying a tax rate 60% higher, on average, than the top 1% of households.

    The super-wealthy are treated particularly lightly by the tax system, with the top 1% paying less than every other income group across 42 states. In most states, 36 in all, the poorest residents are taxed at a higher rate than any other group.

    The most regressive states in terms of taxation are, in order, Florida, Washington, Tennessee, Pennsylvania and Nevada. The least regressive jurisdictions are DC, Minnesota, Vermont, New York and California.

    Find your state here.

    I say we eat the rich. With enough ketchup even they can be choked down.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    So it turns out one of the two people Maryland Republicans nominated for the State Elections board is a traitor who participated in Jan 6th. Until yesterday he and his Republican enablers kept it a secret. I want to know who was aware of it and why they helped keep it under wraps? What other snakes in the grass are slithering around Maryland?

  9. CSK says:


    You can have all of Trump.

  10. Mr. Prosser says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yuck, can’t eat the rich, they’re either too stringy and taste of Ozempic or fat and oily and taste of Ketamine

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Oh no…. Even the buzzards won’t eat him, no matter how much ketchup you use.

    @Mr. Prosser: Hmmmm… You may have a point.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Speaking of the rich, or at least the very well off, being well taken care of by state governments,

    Income and geographic restrictions would be loosened for a tax-credit program that provides scholarships to help pay for private school tuition under a bill debated Wednesday by the Senate’s education committee.

    Sen. Andrew Koenig, a Manchester Republican and the committee’s chairman, is sponsoring the legislation seeking to expand MoScholars. Koenig is running this year to become State Treasurer, the office that oversees the MoScholars program.

    “This is a win for everybody in the situation for kids, and it provides parents options,” Koenig told the committee.

    The bill, which is estimated could cost the state $9.2 million, would allow students throughout Missouri to enroll in the program and raise the maximum family income from 200% of the amount needed to qualify for free or reduced lunch to 400%.

    In 2024, the maximum family salary for a family of four that would be eligible under Koenig’s bill is $220,000.

    Sen. Tracy McCreery, a Democrat from St. Louis, questioned why the legislation allowed more affluent families to access money that otherwise would go toward the state’s general fund, asking Koenig why he chose this amount.

    Koenig said he would prefer to remove the income cap completely.

    I say let them pull themselves up by their golden bootstraps.

  13. CSK says:

    Speaking of Trump, AKA President Lardass, he ranted during the closing arguments at trial today, and the judge told his lawyers to control their client.

  14. Kathy says:


    While he’s at it, the good judge should ask them to devise a perpetual motion machine, square the circle, and fly to the Moon by flapping their arms.

  15. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As if St. Louis’s “where’d you go to high school” isn’t self-sorting enough…

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Whenever anybody asked me I said, “The school of hard knocks.”

  17. Jen says:

    So many organizations become obsessed with industry recognition, I’m surprised things like this don’t happen more often:

    ESPN used fake names to secure Emmys for College Game Day stars

  18. JohnSF says:

    Keep an eye on the Red Sea/Yemen.
    Indications that US/UK/France have run out of patience on this matter.
    COBR meeting, and Speaker called to No.10 for briefing.

  19. JohnSF says:

    Meanwhile, in the Persian Gulf:
    Iran has seized the oil tanker St. Nikolas.
    Greek owned, Marshall Is flagged, outbound to Turkey carrying oil purchased by Turkish company from Iraq.

  20. Bill Jempty says:


    Whenever anybody asked me I said, “The school of hard knocks.”

    An old joke I heard long ago.

    I went to State Penn

    Oh I mean Penn State

  21. CSK says:

    Trump says he’s picked his V.P. but “can’t tell” us who it is.

  22. CSK says:


    I’m pretty sure he can’t tell us because a) he hasn’t picked anyone yet or b) it will depend on who kisses his ass the most.

    As of today, the betting money is on Noem, Stefanik, and Ramaswamy, in that order.

  23. Kathy says:

    Judge Engoron says he will likely turn in a verdict or ruling (whatever the right legal term is) by January 31st.

    Given the trial was about penalties, that’s what’s left to determine. I’ve a feeling he’ll asses a smaller fine, but still a substantial one. Say in the range of $100 to $200 million. And he may bar the Turd l’Orange and misbegotten progeny from engaging in the real estate business for several years but not for life (which hopefully won’t make any difference).

    Now, given how slow the legal system can move and the Turd’s penchant for stalling, he may die before all the appeals are adjudicated.

  24. Mister Bluster says:

    @Bill Jempty:…

    The variation I heard on that was from a co-worker who said of his kids who were then still in grade school. “My daughter will be going to Penn State. My son will go to the state pen.”

  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    About time for the much vaunted Chinese navy to help out, since they depend more on the canal and the gulf than we do, isn’t it? It ought to rankle that it’s the USN and the RN securing their trade route.

    Why would Iran pick a fight with Turkey?

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: How does someone NOT KNOW that they were never considered for an EMMY? How does the Academy of Television yada yada yada NOT REALIZE that the person nominated doesn’t exist?

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: It is incumbent on Democrats to ensure that whoever the choice is becomes irrelevant. I’ve done my part by reminding my friend in Korea who votes in Nevada that he may not have the option to vote 3rd party (he supports Marianne Williamson–WTF???–as his primary candidate) because Trump can win in Nevada.

    Sometimes I fear for how stupid Democrats I know are. 🙁

  28. Kathy says:

    The thing about trolling religious Christians, is they don’t have a sense for irony or satire.

  29. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Why would Iran pick a fight with Turkey?

    Some IRGC dimwit being dimwitted, most like.
    Alternative: to try to panic the Gulf states and try to rattle the Administration?
    Play stupid games often enough, you may win a prize you’d rather not have got.

  30. JohnSF says:

    re. Yemen.
    It’s happening.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: Yeah, my old man said it all the time. Joliet, 1923. Unlike me*, in his case he wasn’t kidding.

    *Me, I kid to a certain extent: Kirkwood, class of ’76. But the things I lived thru after that… I’ll just say I saw plenty. A couple times I prayed for death. And was even disappointed once.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: No way Ramaswamy. He is of the male gender.

    I think.

  33. Bill Jempty says:

    Bud Harrelson has passed away. He was the starting short stop for the New York Mets for about 10 years, and later on managed them for parts of two seasons. I grew up in NY and was an avid Mets fan. So I watched Bud, an excellent fielding but light hitting SS, play in many games. RIP.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    Yep, the Houthis fucked around and are finding out.

  35. CSK says:


    Noem is 25 years younger than Trump and good-looking. I’m sure he’d like her as an escort, but VP? She might draw the spotlight away from him.

  36. Jen says:

    @CSK: Kari Lake will be crushed to hear this.

  37. Jen says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: This was my question as well. I think–and honestly, I’m not super-clear on the finer points of Emmy-winning–that what happened was that the show won, and then ESPN is asked to submit a list of the people who should receive the statuettes, which has some restrictions as to who qualifies. What ESPN did was lard up the list using fake but similar (but more generic) names, to fly under the radar. So, ESPN personality Bob Sarsaparilla would become Bob Sorenson on some technical team on the list. Then, after ESPN received the statues, they swapped out the name plates.


  38. CSK says:


    She certainly will. She was desperately hoping to be Trump’s pick, wasn’t she?

    You know, Sarah Palin has endorsed–for what it’s worth–Trump for 2024. He could pick her; the MAGAs would die of happiness. Nah. He could have done that in 2016, and he didn’t.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Noem is 25 years younger than Trump and good-looking.

    TBH, I can’t agree. She is waaaayy too skinny. Ugly skinny. all bones and awkward angles. When I first met my wife, I thought she was too skinny too. Unfortunately for me, she ticked off all the boxes of, “a person who’s been thru the same things as I,” and I couldn’t walk away. Eventually I “fattened her up” and she was everything I could have hoped for. Truly, I could tell you stories, but the fact is, she is the best thing to ever happen to me.

    I don’t know how I got that lucky. My previous life did not prepare me for it.

  40. CSK says:


    I think Trump likes them thin, as long as they have enormous surgically enhanced breasts.

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Maybe, diffrent strokes and all that, but not me. She is bony in all the wrong places.

  42. Matt says:

    @Kylopod: Well played!

    I’d like a break from storms please. I just got power back and I don’t want to lose it again. Hell I’m still cleaning up debris and fixing damage from the storm that hit us earlier this week….

    So I just now responded to the headline juxtaposition of the day thread that was posted prior to all this crazy.

  43. Kathy says:


    Does Lardass even have to pick anyone? Isn’t the VP chosen separately (with the same EC votes)?

    I mean, anyone he picks can, according to the legal theories he favors at the present, kill him and assume absolute immunity along with the presidency.

  44. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: It used to be the common practice for the vp candidate to be chosen at the convention, and it wasn’t directly chosen by the nominee himself (though he usually had a say in it). As the convention faded in importance following the 1970s reforms, the current practice, where the presumptive nominee announces a running mate shortly before the convention, became the standard. I recently read a book about the 1980 election, and the choice of Bush by the Reagan team was very last minute, after their courting of Ford imploded. I believe that was the last time the vp wasn’t selected before the convention.

    That said, I’m sure Trump will pick the vp himself. He’s way too paranoid to let anyone else do it.

  45. Matt Bernius says:

    Sorry to hear you’re getting hammered by storms. Do I remember right that you are in Texas?

  46. just nutha says:

    @Jen: Ah! Thanks!