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. de stijl says:

    I had a good night listening to Disturbed and The Foo Fighters.

    There a lot of issues with white folks, but damn we can do yearning and melancholy well when we put our backs into it.

  2. Bill says:
  3. Bill says:

    The Florida headline of the day-

    Plane makes emergency landing on Alligator Alley

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Iowa refuses to close bars and require masks as Covid-19 cases surge in cities

    Iowa’s governor, Kim Reynolds, is refusing to enforce a White House coronavirus taskforce recommendation to close bars and require people to wear masks after Covid-19 infections in some of the state’s cities surged.

    Meanwhile, coronavirus cases have risen sharply across the whole midwest in recent weeks putting the region at the forefront of America’s pandemic. The region accounted for six of the eight states with the highest number of new Covid-19 cases by early September even as infections fell in other parts of the US previously among the worst hit.

    North Dakota has the largest number of positive cases per capita in the country over the past 14 days. Iowa and South Dakota are enduring the highest percentage increases. Missouri has seen more than 1,300 new cases a day on average over the past week.

    Birds of a feather…

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Nobody in the plane or on the ground was injured in the crash.

    Hey Erin? He didn’t crash. He made an emergency landing. Says so right there in the first sentence of your article.

  6. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: High infection rate, record farm bankruptcies and suicides. Iowa is going for Trump, for sure.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just for you Bill: Florida sewage spills expected to worsen due to ageing infrastructure

    Florida has recently experienced several large sewage spills and the is issue expected to worsen in the state due to its growing population, urban development, the climate crisis and ageing infrastructure that frequently cause existing wastewater systems to fail.

    For example, between December 2019 to February 2020, more than 230m gallons of sewage spilled into waterways in Fort Lauderdale, the result of ageing water infrastructure.

    State officials called the spills the worst on record in state history, as for years Fort Lauderdale diverted funds for needed sewage repairs and maintenance to other city budget needs. The city faces a $2.1m fine from the state for the series of spills.

    “A lot of the issues in south Florida with sewage spills has to do with the infrastructure getting very old, much of it is beyond its planned life, usually around 50 years, so there are a lot of cracks in the sewage pipes,” said Dr Rachel Silverstein, a marine biologist and executive director of Miami Waterkeeper.

    Silverstein explained sea level rise in south Florida raises water tables underground, which frequently covers sewage pipes, infiltrates cracks and can overwhelm the system, resulting in pipe bursts. The pollution from these spills is already having long-lasting impacts on south Florida’s environment.

    Sewage spills are a common problem facing communities in Florida. Between 2015 and March 2020, there were 13,984 reported sewage spills in the state, according to data obtained from the Florida department of environmental protection (FDEP). The FDEP confirmed the statistics obtained from the data.

    “Oh noes, whatever can we do about this? We just don’t have the money!”
    “Ummm, raise taxes?”
    “Fuck that shit.”

  8. CSK says:

    My brother lived there for a while, and came away convinced that Iowans are among the most self-infatuated people on earth. When you’re convinced that you’re God’s elect, you can do no wrong.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: It’s the fault of all those black people! Both of them!

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    UK has already breached withdrawal agreement, EU lawyers say

    Britain has already breached the withdrawal agreement by tabling the internal market bill, prompting Brussels to plan legal action that could lead to financial and trade sanctions, according to a leaked EU legal opinion.

    The European commission believes Boris Johnson’s government breached the terms of the treaty just by taking the first steps to pass a new law that would negate key parts of the agreement signed last year.

    “Already by tabling the draft bill and pursuing the policy expressed therein, the UK government is in violation of the good faith obligation under the withdrawal agreement (article 5) because this bill jeopardises the attainment of the objectives of the agreement”, the commission lawyers write.

  11. Scott says:

    Meanwhile, in another part of the government that is being corrupted:

    Whistleblower: DHS Hyped ‘Antifa,’ Soft-Pedaled White Supremacist Threat

    Downplay the white supremacist threat. Hype up rhetoric about anti-fascists and other “left-wing” groups stoking violence.

    That’s what the Department of Homeland Security’s leadership ordered one of its top intelligence officials to do, according to a complaint from that staffer, Brian Murphy, released Tuesday.

    Murphy, who alleges unfair retaliation, claims he was pressured to downplay threats posed by white supremacists and Russian election interference, and instead told to inflate fears around immigrants, anarchists, anti-fascists, China, and Iran.

  12. de stijl says:


    Reynolds also claimed she could absolutely restrict any municipality or county from enacting local laws on masks. She lost in court thankfully.

    In Des Moines it is required to be masked in any business or office. Most bars and restaurants are still closed.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    What if everybody criticizing the polling is wrong? What if people snakebitten by 2016 are too timid to see what is right in front of them? What if Biden wins in a landslide

  14. Bill says:

    @An Interested Party:

    What if everybody criticizing the polling is wrong? What if people snakebitten by 2016 are too timid to see what is right in front of them? What if Biden wins in a landslide…

    Mona Charen, the author of the piece, needs to get her facts straight.

    1- The taking of American hostages in Iran began in November 1979 not January 1980

    2- Three helicopters didn’t crash in the botched rescue attempt. It was one helicopter and a EC-130.

    3- A Marxist regime took power in Mozambique in 1975, Over a year before Carter got in office.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party: The GREATEST ELECTORAL FRAUD in the HISTORY of ELECTIONS!!!!

    ETA: that or proof that illegal aliens are voting in our elections.

  16. de stijl says:

    Photos from the Bay area showing a dark orange sky straight from Bladerunner 2049.

    2020 is one crazy, horrible year.

    190,000 dead – likelier closer to 250,000. That’s the population of Tallahassee.

  17. CSK says:

    Diana Rigg has died, age 82. RIP, Dame Diana, you were something.

  18. Kathy says:
  19. Bill says:


    Diana Rigg has died, age 82. RIP, Dame Diana, you were something.

    Dame Diana was certainly that. Mrs. Peel and wife to James Bond. She was also Vincent Price’s helpful daughter in the classic black comedy, Theatre of Blood. Poodle pie anyone? RIP Diana Rigg.

    PS- For those wondering where Dame Diana is in the video, she’s the shaggy haired man wearing glasses.

  20. Kathy says:

    For the sake of maintaining what’s left of my sanity, I’m getting off the emotional roller coaster of obsessively following the polls.

    I’ll glance at them now and then, but not several times a day. I know why people follow them closely, but for me it’s exhausting. See Biden’s lead climb, and you get euphoric. See it go down, and you start to worry and even get depressed.

    I’ll still support Biden and attack Trump the Covidiot in Chief at every chance, but that’s just plain good manners. I’m past the stage, way past, when I thought I could make any kind of material difference beyond a few people.

  21. An Interested Party says:

    She was also Vincent Price’s helpful daughter in the classic black comedy, Theatre of Blood.

    Excellent movie…one of Price’s best performances, with Rigg providing pitch-perfect assistance…

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    Back in the early ’70s I spent some quailty time with a gal that looked just like Diana Rigg. I remember her name was Jill. She was fluent in Russian and wanted to work at the United Nations as a translator. Her second choice was to work for an international airline.
    Don’t know where she is today.

  23. Teve says:


    I’d say the most fucked up thing I learned the last 4 years is that a president can kill off 180 thousand Americans by lying to the public, trash our active soldiers & war dead, and roll over to Russia, and close to half of America will still vote for him.

  24. sam says:
  25. Mr. Prosser says:

    Biden campaign staffer, “And the best part? We didn’t need to raise the Kraken.”

  26. Mister Bluster says:
  27. Kurtz says:

    From The New Yorker

    When it comes to COVID-19, the apparent result of the combined disinformation campaign of Trump and Fox News has been devastating. A working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research in May analyzed anonymous location data from millions of cell phones to show that residents of Zip Codes with higher Fox News viewership were less likely to follow stay-at-home orders. Another study, by economists at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, suggested a disparity in health outcomes between areas where Fox News viewers primarily tuned in to Tucker Carlson, who, among Fox hosts, spoke early and with relative urgency about the danger of COVID-19, and places where viewers preferred Sean Hannity, who spent weeks downplaying its severity. The economists found that, in March, viewership of Hannity over Carlson, in the locales they studied, was associated with a thirty-two-per-cent increase in infections, and a twenty-three-per-cent increase in COVID-19-related deaths.

    [emphasis mine]

    Carlson is still a sniveling weasel, but at least he isn’t Hannity?

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..quality
    I know I have read my post at least a dozen times in the past three hours and I just now noticed the spelling error.

  29. Mister Bluster says:


  30. DrDaveT says:


    Diana Rigg has died, age 82. RIP, Dame Diana, you were something.

    She was certainly a formative influence on me. I own the boxed set of all the Mrs. Peel episodes of The Avengers.

    Favorite Diana Rigg line:

    Man: I could make an honest woman of you…
    Mrs. Peel: I prefer to live it down, thanks.

    We’ll remember you fondly, Dame Diana.

  31. Moosebreath says:


    “suitable caption”

    A metaphor for Trump’s polling numbers.

  32. Moosebreath says:


    Suggestion for tomorrow’s headline of the day (via TPM):

    Voter Casts Ballot Topless After Being Told Her Anti-Trump Shirt Was Illegal At Polling Place. Unfortunately, the article does not contain a relevant picture.

  33. JohnSF says:

    I saw Diana Rigg playing Eliza in Pygmalion, Albery Theatre, London. 1974.
    She just lit up the stage.
    How the years roll on.

  34. Kathy says:


    Oh, so that’s where Trump’s lead went.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: Glub glub glub…

    ETA: “Noah? How long can you tread water?” (Shamelessly stolen from bill cosby’s “bill cosby is a very funny fellow”)

  36. Teve says:


    Breaking: Trump bragged to Bob Woodward that he protected Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman from congressional scrutiny after the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi.

    “I saved his ass,” Trump said in 2018. “I was able to get Congress to leave him alone.”

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Moosebreath: Hmmmm… None of the poll workers have ever objected to my “Make Racism Wrong Again” hat, and I have soooooooo been wanting them to. I am ever so ready to ask, “Do you think racism is a political issue???” Maybe this next time.

  38. CSK says:

    Only Trump would be proud of this. What a revolting swine he is.

  39. flat earth luddite says:

    @Kurtz: While I agree with your view of Carlson, I take exception to your maligning the good name of weasels!

  40. Kathy says:

    Recent belated revelations by Bob Woodward have me reviewing the course of the pandemic. I said something about it on the related thread (here) about travel bans.

    What struck me is that all measures, from travel bans, to distancing, to masks, etc. were gradual. Each implemented as we learned more about how SARS-CoV-2 gets around and infects people.

    It seems logical and reasonable. Self-evidently and obviously logical an reasonable. I think it’s fundamentally the worst way possible to deal with a pandemic.

    Suppose Dr. Fauci could travel back to February and tell his somewhat younger self all Fauci of September 2020 knows about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 that Fauci of February 2020 didn’t know. the advice the February version would give would be vastly different from what he actually said back then, right?

    Of course, neither Fauci nor anyone else could know in February what they knew in September. that’s the self-evident and obvious part of the logic.

    But it’s not true.

    No one knew then what we know about SARS-CoV-2 now, true. But a great many people, especially in the medical field, knew about devastating pandemics of respiratory diseases like the 1918-1920 H1N1 Flu. Or the 1957-58 Flu that killed maybe 1.1 million people. Or the 1968 Flu which killed about as many.

    Yes, one can contrast much lower case loads and mortality rates from other such diseases, namely the 2009 H1N1 Flu, SARS, and MERS. had we engaged in lock downs, distancing, closing bars and theaters, wearing masks, etc in each one, would the economic toll have been worth the lives saved? I tend to say yes, but that’s not the point.

    The point is, as Larry Niven put it, “If you don’t understand it, it’s dangerous.” gradual responses may work well enough with something not as virulent and not as deadly (and in the case of the 2009 Flu, something against which there is some proven treatment). But we’ve seen the toll of gradual and incremental responses when it is that virulent and that deadly. When this is the case, the gradual approach is very literally lethal.

    The next pathogen that hits us may be more benign than the 2009 Flu, or it may be worse than SARS-CoV-2. If the former, and we jump to extreme measures, it will cost us money. If the latter, and we do a gradual approach, it will cost us lives, and in the end also vast sums of money.

    We will know what it is long before we find out by study, too, as a less contagious, less lethal pathogen will be more easily stopped by masks and lockdowns than a more contagious, more lethal one. Based on my own experiences with the 2009 Flu, when in Mexico City bars, restaurants, theaters, schools, etc. were closed, and later people began to wear masks, I thought the more strict lockdown, distancing, and later mask measures would stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by late spring.

    I was wrong.

    There are many reasons why. The flu is seasonal, SARS-CoV-2 is not. H1N1 in 2009 wasn’t as contagious. SARS-CoV-2 is far more lethal and harder to treat, etc.

    We can argue what “extreme” measures are better, but not that they are necessary. South Korea controlled SARS-CoV-2 by extensive testing and tracing. New Zealand did it with a strict lockdown. Others used a combination of both. Countries were masks are commonly worn against seasonal respiratory ailments did better than those were they’re not. No one, not even much-vaunted Sweden, controlled it by going about as normal as possible.

    To close, SARS-CoV-2 is far from the worst kind of viral infection we can have. The other epidemic everyone’s heard about is the Black Death that finished of the Middle Ages in Europe. That, too, could be transmitted person-to-person through the air, as well as by infected rats and fleas.

    That bacterium, Yersinia pestis, still exists, but now we can treat it with antibiotics, and we have far better sanitation that keeps rats and their fleas further away from people. But ti still has a high mortality rate, even with treatment, and like all living beings it can still evolve and change. Bacteria lately have a tendency to develop antibiotic resistance.

    And there are many, many, many other viruses and bacteria out there. We just can’t say when one will do what SARS-CoV-2 has done, or worse than that. Victory, either by treatment or vaccination, or both, is always temporary. Another battle is always just beyond the horizon.

    It’s only a matter of time.

  41. Teve says:

    Microsoft says that Kremlin-based hackers have been trying to attack the Biden campaign for the last two months.

  42. inhumans99 says:

    @de stijl:

    I assume you have already seen the video making the rounds where someone used the Blade Runner 2049 score in a video of drone footage of the orange skies in the Bay Area (here in Fremont it was orange for most of the day yesterday).

  43. Teve says:

    “Jared [Kushner] had been arguing that testing too many people, or ordering too many ventilators, would spook the markets and so we just shouldn’t do it,” says a Trump confidant who speaks to the president frequently. “That advice worked far more powerfully on him than what the scientists were saying. He thinks they always exaggerate.”

    Trump Lied About COVID to Protect the Markets, Not Human Beings

  44. Teve says:

    “I watched Liz McDonald. She’s fantastic. I watched Fox Business. I watched Lou Dobbs last night, Sean Hannity last night, Tucker last night, Laura. I watched Fox & Friends in the morning.” — Trump

    Greatest collection of experts and information technology available in history at his disposal and he’s watching 9 hours of Fox a day.

  45. Mister Bluster says:

    Titanic is on AMC (again).

    Rose : Mr. Andrews… I saw the iceberg and I see it in your eyes… please, tell me the truth.
    Thomas Andrews : The ship will sink.
    Rose : You’re certain?
    Thomas Andrews : Yes. In an hour or so, all of this will be at the bottom of the Atlantic.
    Cal Hockley : What?
    Thomas Andrews : Please, tell only who you must. I don’t want to be responsible for a panic. And get to a boat quickly, don’t wait. You remember what I told you about the boats?
    Rose : Yes… I understand.

  46. Teve says:

    Here are nine headlines currently splashed across the news at the moment I’m writing this:

    Trump acknowledges he intentionally downplayed coronavirus threat

    N.I.H. Director Undercuts Trump’s Comments on a Vaccine by Election Day

    As NFL reopens, Trump resumes attacks on players who demonstrate for racial justice

    In crackdown on race-related content, Education Department targets internal book clubs, meetings

    Patients may have seen ‘significant’ delays in medicine deliveries by USPS, Senate report finds

    Whistleblower Says DHS Leadership Tried to Halt Reports on Russian Interference

    Mike Pence slated to speak at fundraiser hosted by QAnon supporters

    Emails show HHS official trying to muzzle Fauci

    Senate paralyzed over coronavirus relief

    November 3rd can’t come soon enough.

    -K. Drum

  47. inhumans99 says:

    Has this already been mentioned, that Treasury put the Ukrainian/Russian guy who was feeding info to Rudy Giuliani intended to discredit Biden by using his son’s activities against him on a sanctions list?

    This strikes me as a big deal because it pretty much discredits any attempts by the GOP to use Hunter Biden against Biden when October rolls around (their version of an October surprise against the Democratic Party but now I feel a sad trombone sound should come into play as this “surprise” is not going to do much to change any minds that were thinking of voting for Biden into voting for Trump).

    Again, this feels weird because Barr and the GOP investigating the Ukraine stuff keep promising a shocking revelation that will clearly show Biden is not fit be President but so far…crickets, and we are heading into mid-September, time is running out to drop this bombshell on the American Public.

  48. Jax says:

    In Memoriam: Today is September 11th. Where were you, when you heard and saw what was happening?

    Please carry on to tomorrow’s Open Forum.

  49. Teve says:

    @Jax: sleeping in my apartment in Raleigh when my BlackBerry started going crazy. Everybody was just messaging turn on the TV. I did, and woke my roommate up, and we went to Publix a block away and bought a case of beer and came home and watched TV for the next 16 hours. I skipped going to class that day, next day I saw a guy named Matt on campus, and he asked where I was yesterday and I said do you have any idea what happened yesterday? And he said oh dude that’s just some political crap it’s not gonna affect us.

  50. wr says:

    @JohnSF: “I saw Diana Rigg playing Eliza in Pygmalion, Albery Theatre, London. 1974.”

    For me it was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with David Suchet as George in the 90s…