Thursday’s Forum

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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:

    Beat this headline Bill: Brazilian woman arrested after taking corpse to sign bank loan: ‘She knew he was dead’

    When Érika de Souza Vieira wheeled her lethargic-looking uncle into a Brazilian bank, clerks quickly sensed something was amiss.

    “I don’t think he’s well. He doesn’t look well at all,” remarked one distrustful employee as Vieira tried to get her elderly relative to sign off on a 17,000 reais ($3,250) loan.

    Paulo Roberto Braga was indeed indisposed. In fact, the 68-year-old appears to have been dead.

    Shortly after entering the lender in Rio late on Tuesday with her late uncle, Vieira was arrested and charged with violating a corpse and attempted theft through fraud, according to the Rio newspaper O Dia.

    “She knew he was dead … he had been dead for at least two hours,” the investigating officer, Fábio Luiz Souza, told the breakfast news program Bom Dia Rio on Wednesday.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Average incomes will fall by almost a fifth within the next 26 years as a result of the climate crisis, according to a study that predicts the costs of damage will be six times higher than the price of limiting global heating to 2C.

    Rising temperatures, heavier rainfall and more frequent and intense extreme weather are projected to cause $38tn (£30tn) of destruction each year by mid-century, according to the research, which is the most comprehensive analysis of its type ever undertaken, and whose findings are published in the journal Nature.

    The hefty toll – which is far higher than previous estimates – is already locked into the world economy over the coming decades as a result of the enormous emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere through the burning of gas, oil, coal and trees.

    This will inflict crippling losses on almost every country, with a disproportionately severe impact on those least responsible for climate disruption, further worsening inequality.

    The paper says the permanent average loss of income worldwide will be 19% by 2049. In the United States and Europe the reduction will be about 11%, while in Africa and south Asia it will be 22%, with some individual countries much higher than this.

    “It’s devastating,” said Leonie Wenz, a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the authors of the study. “I am used to my work not having a nice societal outcome, but I was surprised by how big the damages were. The inequality dimension was really shocking.”

    If the GOP thinks illegal immigration is bad now, just wait a few years.

  3. Bill Jempty says:


    Beat this headline Bill: Brazilian woman arrested after taking corpse to sign bank loan: ‘She knew he was dead’


    You get today’s gold star but wasn’t there a similar scene in Weekend at Bernie’s 2?

  4. Jen says:

    41 years ago, the US Embassy in Beirut was bombed. My parents lost close friends in the attack, it was the first time I remember seeing both of them crying.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I got a new cell phone the other day, a flip phone because I don’t want any of that crap they load up smart phones with. So what do I get? A flip phone loaded up with a bunch of shit I have no use for and even less desire to have on my phone.

    As an added bonus, it appears I need a degree in computer programming to add a contact. WTF???

  6. steve says:

    Find a teenager, preferably not related to you. (If related there will eye rolling and heavy sighing.) They will figure it out. The novelty of a flip phone might be interesting.


  7. Jen says:

    I’m glad the prosecutors’ office is being aggressive in ferreting out this kind of information:

    A prosecutor, Joshua Steinglass, said that juror 4 or someone with their name seems to have been arrested in the 1990s in Westchester for tearing down political advertisements. After some additional research, he says, they also found that the juror’s wife was previously involved in a corruption inquiry and cooperated with the D.A.’s office. This means that the juror, if they’ve identified the right person, lied in response to one of the questions on the questionnaire, Steinglass says.

    From the NYT.

    Also, one of the jurors has been dismissed, citing concerns that her identity was made public. Apparently, the media has access to, and published, employers/workplaces. This kind of pisses me off, I get that the media has a role to play here but they, more than anyone, should understand that there are unhinged individuals out there who will go after these people. JFC.

  8. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..add a contact.

    Once upon a time I delivered the ultimate contact list. The local Telephone Directory.
    I lost count of the times when making the delivery to a Black household I was greeted with:
    The new phonebook is here! The new phonebook is here!

  9. Kathy says:

    Bird flu, H5N1 strain, appears to be spreading among mammals, and it might just jump to humans.

    What’s concerning is the fatality rate in humans observed over the past two decades, 889 cases and 463 deaths.

    As I understand, it shouldn’t be difficult to make an H5N1 vaccine right now. I may have it all wrong, but it should be like a standard flu shot. If so, it could be in production soon. Of course, nothing is ever so simple, and biology is messy. There may be different variants already.

    Still, it’s known that vaccination against a similar variant helps to prevent severe disease, not to mention death. We saw this with COVID. People vaccinated against the original strain did not die of Delta or Omicron at the same rates as those unvaccinated.

    Remember the deadliest pandemic in modern times was flu in 1918-1920.

  10. CSK says:


    Steven Cheung and Jason Miller are in the courtroom today. You can be certain they’ll make sure the identities of the jurors are revealed to the MAGAs.

  11. MarkedMan says:


    a flip phone

    5 – 10 years ago we were looking for phones that my elderly mother could use, and came to the conclusion that they were designed by engineers (that’s an insult, by the way, and I’m an engineer) who did it totally from a requirements document. Big buttons with clear text? Yes! Ability to pre-program several numbers for speed dial? Yes! But of course you needed to go into a menu driven path to actually be able to dial one of those numbers, and the text on the display was too small to really see if your vision was less than perfect. But that probably wasn’t in the requirements document!

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @steve: (If related there will eye rolling and heavy sighing.)

    That’s the best part of being a PawPaw. Giving them a chance to show this “old” how it’s done and how truly easy it is. Hell’s bells, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the 3 yo could do it.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: I miss those days. I’m tempted to say screw it and go back to remembering all the phone #s I need on a regular basis. 35 yrs a carpenter gave me a knack for remembering #s.

  14. Mister Bluster says:


    I remember the days before telephone exchanges required 6 or 7 digit telephone numbers for dial phones. The telephone number for the lumber yard in town was

  15. SenyorDave says:

    Every day there is another story about the judge cracking down on Trump for his behavior during the trial, both in the courtroom and online. It’s just bluster, they will never do anything meaningful to Trump. Would this be tolerated from any other defendant?
    I’ve been watching Shogun the last few weeks and thinking maybe the Japanese had it right when they would wipe out the entire line of a family.

  16. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: On that topic, it has now been 400 days since the last time the daily sea surface temperature (global average between 60 degrees north and 60 degrees south) was NOT a record high for that date…

  17. Kylopod says:

    @SenyorDave: I think that, while they’re taking their sweet time to get to this point, Trump is ultimately going to do some jail time for contempt. Ironically it will probably be the only incarceration that results from this trial.

  18. CSK says:


    New York authorities might fear that sticking Trump in Riker’s for a time may result in hordes of crazed MAGAs rioting in the streets over the unfair incarceration of their Chosen One. That may not be a legitimate fear, but it may well nonetheless exist.

  19. Kathy says:


    Time to build a VIP prison in a remote island, or at a military base. I’d like to see the MAGAts storming a base full of Marines.

    Meantime, anyone knows why his lawyers haven’t requested Lardass be given a pillow and a blanket?

  20. Scott says:

    @CSK: As the old adage says: You don’t give in to terrorists because the demands will never end.

  21. Scott says:

    @Kathy: I thing St Helena would work just fine. Don’t even have to lock him up.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Shit. Dicky Betts has died. As one who saw many an Allman Brothers concert, RIP.

  23. CSK says:


    And a binky.


    True. But they’ve let Trump get away with so much crap so far that they may fear he’ll incite his fans to do real damage. Anyone else would have been locked up by now.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A cell? I doubt it. I won’t be surprised if trump gets house arrest and I’d like to think it would be sentenced to an un air conditioned 2 bedroom, 1950s bungalow in the Florida panhandle but that last part is probably a bridge too far.

    He’s an ex president, entitled to lifetime SS protection and I don’t see that being revoked or happening in prison.

  25. Daryl says:

    Dickey Betts has passed. Cancer and COPD. What a loss.
    One of the founders of the Allman Bros. Band, he wrote Ramblin’ Man, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, and Jessica.
    Duane Allman and Betts rewrote the book on how two guitarists played together on stage, trading solos and playing twin-guitar leads.

    “I’m the famous guitar player,” Duane Allman said, “but Dickey is the good one.”


  26. Daryl says:

    You posted that while I was typing.
    You and me, both, brother.

  27. Kathy says:


    I was thinking Diego Garcia, but then realized it doesn’t even have to be an island. How about a cozy room at an Antarctic research station?


    And maybe a bib, too.

  28. Kingdaddy says:

    A real exchange between a member of Congress, Rep. Rick Allen (R – Megiddo), and the president of Columbia University, Minouche Shafik:

    Shafik was also quizzed on her knowledge of the Bible.

    “Are you familiar with Genesis 12:3?” Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.) asked Shafik. “It was a covenant that God made with Abraham … If you bless Israel, I will bless you. If you curse Israel, I will curse you … Do you consider that a serious issue? I mean, do you want Columbia University to be cursed by God?”

    “Definitely not,” Shafik said.

    Allen discussed “lawless universities” and suggested the school should offer a course about the Bible and “kinda what will happen under the wrath of God.”

    Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.) later pushed back on Allen’s questioning, arguing that the “injection of biblical theology into this committee hearing is inappropriate.”

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Jesus Chrysler

    Jimi Hendrix was once asked what it was like being the world’s greatest guitar player.
    He replied, “I don’t know, go ask Roy Clark”.

    Roy Clark was a one and only of a kind.

  30. DrDaveT says:


    “It was a covenant that God made with Abraham…”

    I think the proper reply is “What does a covenant between God and Abraham have to do with Columbia University? The University has not entered into any covenants with God, or with any other deity.”

  31. CSK says:
  32. Kathy says:

    12 jurors and one alternate have been seated.

    Delay is not a good strategy, even when you have nothing.

  33. dazedandconfused says:


    When I saw the press war practically putting out the juror’s CVs I had the same reaction. Just a matter of time before people figure out who they are. I would like to know if the judge could’ve prevented this.

  34. inhumans99 says:

    I think Michael Reynolds was one of the folks who posted in an open thread many moons back that he was bummed that We Are Lady Parts did not look like it would see a second season, but knock me over with a feather as Deadline and other sites are reporting that season two will stream on May 30 on Peacock, so I am doing a happy dance at this news.

  35. Beth says:

    Interaction with my clone daughter this morning. Scene, I’m trying to wake her up to go to school and we’re having a tickle fight:

    Her: “oh, I’m sorry I touched you in your things.”
    Me: “My things? oh, my fat rolls.”
    Her: “That’s not nice. Lets call them your cinnamon rolls.”

    It’s a shame that she’s going to be fired into the sun when she gets home. It was Book Fair day at school and she was EXPLICITLY told, multiple times, including dire warnings of absurd consequences, that if she used any of the money, including left over money, to buy pens, notebooks, stickers, toys, ANYTHING other than the books she asked for, there would be hell to pay. She’s my clone. She has the short term memory of a brain damaged goldfish (same kid, same) coupled with my partner’s raw IDGAF streak. I’m certain she bought a mess of “friendship pens”.

  36. Kathy says:

    Another near miss, this time at Washington.

    Both planes were departing, so they’d have had lots of fuel. A collision would have been truly terrible.

  37. gVOR10 says:

    @Scott: @Kathy: @Kathy:

    Time to build a VIP prison in a remote island, or at a military base. I’d like to see the MAGAts storming a base full of Marines.

    We already have Guantanamo, Marine guards and all. Seems perfect.

    But I doubt he’ll see any jail time. The local semi-pro newspaper had an editorial cartoon this morning. Pictured a lawyer in front of a judge. “My client pleads wealthy.” “Case dismissed.”

  38. Kathy says:


    To make it perfect, I would add a door on Lardass’ cell that cannot be locked. He’d be free to open it at any time and leave.

    Only it leads to Cuban sovereign territory.

    I’ve a bet with myself that if convicted, Biden will commute Lardass’ sentences but not issue him a pardon.

    This still leaves the NY and GA state charges, which even Biden can’t commute.

  39. dazedandconfused says:

    Heard a report that Donald was behaving well in court today. I would guess his lawyers told him the judge has confided he would have no choice but to lock him up, the court’s holding cell would be the destination, and that the judge has promised he would see to it the only thing to be served in there are kale salads, no ketchup.

  40. Mimai says:

    The highly pathogenic avian flu that’s spreading amongst dairy herds in TX, NM, KS, and elsewhere is very concerning. Very.

    My best friend is smack in the middle of it. He’s a level-headed bloke, and he’s pants-on-fire concerned.

    None of the key players are taking it seriously enough. Not FDA, not CDC, not state bodies, not industry groups. And some are behaving in bizarrely counterproductive ways.

    The dairy owners are closing ranks, threatening workers, and refusing to cooperate.

    The workers are vulnerable as hell — both in terms of flu exposure and immigration.

    This is very bad.

  41. Jax says:

    @Mimai: I’ve been searching for new news articles every day, given my occupation in the cattle industry. I don’t know what to give my cows/calves at branding to best protect them from it, should it arrive. Three different vets have three different answers.

  42. JKB says:

    Israel striking Isfahan where Iran’s nuclear development facilities are located

  43. Mimai says:

    Yeah, I thought about you when this broke. My friend is in the dairy world. For many weeks now, he’s been on non-stop calls with state/fed agencies and academic specialists. It’s not been good.

    They’ve been waffling between downplaying it and being cagey af. Confiscating lab samples, slow-walking public health releases, etc. And they have not been helpful at all about what vets should be doing — merely “reassuring” everyone that it’s not too dangerous or deadly. For cows.

    I hope your wide open spaces prove a major barrier to transmission.