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:

    ‘You can’t pay bills on $12 an hour’: Walmart employees left out of raises

    As the largest employer in the US with nearly 1.6 million workers, Walmart has faced criticism for years over low wages, working conditions, a reliance on keeping workers on part-time schedules and wage theft.

    Walmart announced in September the company would raise the minimum wage at Sam’s Club locations from $11 to $15 an hour, but Walmart employees were left out as the parent company raised the minimum wage from $11 to just $12 an hour for Walmart workers. Earlier this year, Walmart announced it would raise wages for 425,000 employees to $13 an hour, emphasizing it would increase the company’s average hourly wage to more than $15 an hour.

    But thousands of Walmart employees are still struggling to make ends meet with low pay and many are now speaking up to agitate and campaign for a wage increase. Walmart workers who are members of United for Respect for Walmart are pushing for a $15 minimum wage at the company.
    In recent years, Walmart’s competitors have raised their hourly minimum wage to $15 an hour, including Target in 2020, Amazon in 2018 and Costco to $17 an hour in 2021.

    In the 2021 fiscal year, Walmart reported a profit of more than $13.5bn. In February, Walmart’s board of directors approved another $20bn stock buyback program. From November 2020 to the end of January 2021, Walmart repurchased more than 10m shares in the company at over $140 a share, spending more than $1.4bn.

    Walmart is owned by the Walton family, the wealthiest family in the world, with an estimated net worth of about $238bn. During the pandemic, Alice, Jim and Rob Walton saw their net worths climb by over $10 bn each.
    In the first nine months of the pandemic, Walmart provided only a fraction of their Covid profits to workers in the form of hazard pay and additional compensation, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institute. The Waltons’ net worth increased 26 times more than the cost of Covid compensation for Walmart workers, estimated at 71 cents an hour in additional wages for workers, compared with a $6.2m an hour wealth increase for the Waltons.

    I wish we had a Schnucks here (union shop) but the closest one is almost an hour away.

    ETA: and oh yeah, F*ck the rich. Even if they were actually working, $6.2 million an hour is an obscenity.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Prof. Christina Pagel

    Belgium removed public health measures a few weeks ago & has seen rapidly increasing rates. They have responded & are reinstituting masks & expanding Covid passes.

    NL & DK also considering upping measures. All highly vaxxed.

    Responding to high cases is normal governance.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Tucker Carlson Previews Batsh*t Special That Alleges Liberals Will Conduct ‘Patriot Purge’ and Suggests 1/6 Was a ‘False Flag’

    Tucker Carlson previewed a trailer on Wednesday for an upcoming three-part series for his Tucker Carlson Originals and it is absolutely wild.

    Called “Patriot Purge,” Carlson explained, “The U.S. government has in fact launched a new war on terror, but it’s not against al Qaeda, it’s against American citizens. Nothing like this has ever happened in the history of our country. This is an attack on core civil liberties and it’s essential that you know what’s happening and that you resist it.”

    “Tucker Carlson lies.” -FOX News

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mark Copelovitch

    The news is that 0% of 262 GOP in Congress are supporting any of these hugely popular policies, not that only 99.3% of the 270 Democrats are, yes? B/c it sure seems like the is “Dems in disarray” & not “far right authoritarian party unanimously opposes everything.”

  5. CSK says:

    And those patriots being purged are just salivating to grab their firearms and start shooting:

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: “Charlie Kirk lies.” -TPUSA

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Jake Thomas@Jake1Thomas2
    My Uncle (a retired fisherman) volunteered to build his first Grandson’s crib.

    …There were mixed reactions.

  8. CSK says:

    Has TPUSA disavowed Kirk for discouraging civil war?

  9. Kathy says:

    Last weekend there was this big family gathering, done for not particular reason 8ie not a wedding, birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.) I estimated over 60 people, indoors and largely unmasked. I declined to attend due to the fact we’re in a f***g pandemic, and it’s hardly the time to do something this massively stupid.

    My mom got mad at me. She told me the pandemic was over, and that everyone attending would be vaccinated. The latter is not true, as there’d be several children under 12. There would also be catering and serving staff, whom I hope all have gotten their vaccines, but I’ve no assurances on that.

    Well, yesterday my mom tells me someone at that gathering caught COVID, albeit a mild* case. This person had been vaccinated, and naturally it’s not clear when or where she got it.

    I feel vindicated anyway. The pandemic is far from over, even if we’re in a dip now as the Delta peak passes and vaccinations have increased. But it won’t be safe until we get children vaccinated as well, and vaccination reaches 80-90% of the whole population, or the outbreak burns out when enough covidiots get sick.

    On other things, there seems to be a trend for better antibody and B cell response from mRNA vaccines, but a better T cell response from viral vector vaccines.

    The question isn’t which vaccine is better, that’s like asking whether apples are better than oranges**. Rather the question is how to best mix and match these types for a best heterologous vaccination?

    In Britain there was a pause in the use of AstraZeneca (virus vector), and some people got Pfizer (mRNA) as a second dose. These people have done better protection-wise than those with two doses of AZ or two of Pfizer.

    Logic suggests people who got two doses of AZ or one of J&J, should follow up or boost with Pfizer or Moderna. And those who got two doses of Pfizer or Moderna should get a boost of AZ or J&J. But no studies ahve been done on this question exactly. mRNA boosters do provide higher antibody counts when used as boosters, but that’s not the same thing.

    *The mild form of COVID, even in those vaccinated, tends to be worse than the worst infectious disease you’ve ever had.

    **Conclusive studies prove that apples make terrible orange juice, and oranges are an awful filling for apple pie.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I wouldn’t know, I pay no attention to them. I’m just writing their legal briefs ahead of time.

  11. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..first Grandson’s crib.

    I laughed out loud!
    All my grandfathers ever did was give me a bicycle and some cash.

    Oh yeah. And gave me my parents…

  12. Mister Bluster says:


    I did a test comment to see if I could get the EDIT key to appear.

    Well, here it is in this 10:21 post and the 10:18 “grandfather” comment that I was going to EDIT.
    HA! I forgot what the EDIT was going to be.

    I Hope I Die Before I Get Old!

    Too late for that…

  13. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: great article in the LA Times talks about just this. link

    To the extent, then, that journalists and pundits focus critically on President Biden and Democrats and give short shrift to Republicans’ obstructions — as if the cancer of Trumpism was in remission, if not cured — that indeed distorts reality and disserves readers, listeners and viewers.

    Democracy is literally at stake: As Republicans block federal voting rights legislation, those in red states continue to challenge the 2020 votes for Biden (but not their own), pass laws to suppress future votes in ways disadvantageous to Democrats, gerrymander legislative districts and replace nonpartisan election overseers with partisan ones.

    In Congress, the Democrats’ disarray, to use a favorite alliterative phrase of journalists, is real and merits dissection. But it must be said that it owes much to the fact that Democrats, with their minimal House and Senate majorities, can’t count on a single Republican vote for most legislation, while one Republican senator can routinely block action with a filibuster.

  14. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: love it!!

  15. Monala says:

    Got a letter from T-Mobile, saying I was affected by a security breach. They’re offering free signups to their McAfee identity protection monitoring service for those so affected. Is this signup worthwhile, and are there any downsides? FYI, T-Mobile is my former but not current mobile phone provider.

  16. CSK says:

    I was given the J&J. I got the Pfizer booster yesterday. No side effects so far.


  17. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “This is an attack on core civil liberties and it’s essential that you know what’s happening and that you resist it.”

    Interesting. I didn’t know that lynching the vice president was among our core civil liberties.

  18. Jax says:

    @Monala: I’ve never been a fan of those identity monitoring services, you can do the same searches yourself for free once a year from all the major credit rating companies. They claim the service is “free”, then they sneak it in somewhere in the fine print that eventually it will switch to a paid model.

  19. Kathy says:


    The chutzpah in saying “nothing like this has ever happened in this country,” is too much. How about The Trail of Tears? How about the Tuskegee Experiment? How about McCarthyism?


    Well, you can’t keep whipping up your base into an angry frenzy forever, and don’t expect them to erupt in actual violence.

    I’m sure most GQP leaders don’t want a civil war or a coup because, 1) such things get bloody and destructive, and 2) such things have very uncertain outcomes.

    They probably think they’ll drive turnout for midterm elections and later the general election. But if intent mattered, you wouldn’t get burned by touching a hot stove. Consequences matter far more. If you keep claiming overwhelming injustice and victimhood, especially when there is none, eventually something will snap.

  20. CSK says:

    Over the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of this ranting about taking up arms and watering the Tree of Liberty with the blood of patriots on crackpot sites such as, and I assumed that most of the ranters were just keyboard warriors, but this is the first time I can recall seeing someone get up in a public place and ask when he’d be allowed to shoot Democrats.

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: Kevin Drum leads off a post today with a 1/6 rioter telling a judge he got his nonsense news from FOX. I wholeheartedly endorse Drum’s post, Fox News is a stinking, toxic pile of shit.

    Burn Fox News to the ground and salt the earth around their rancid headquarters. Brand everyone who works there with a scarlet fox on their foreheads. Confiscate Rupert Murdoch’s wealth to pay for BBB. Exile Tucker Carlson to Hungary.

    I don’t even care any more how we do it. Just get rid of this toxic, treasonous pile of shit in midtown Manhattan. Invite China to test their new hypersonic missile on 1211 Avenue of the Americas. Something. Anything.

  22. CSK says:

    Now here’s the interesting thing: Most Trumpkins hate, hate, hate Fox News because it’s too left-wing. The exception is Tucker Carlson.

    The Trumpkins are enraged that Fox called Arizona for Biden the night of the 2020 election, but the hatred goes back nearly to 2017, when they decided the network was too critical of Trump. And Trump himself has made his displeasure with Fox known on numerous occasions.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..this is the first time I can recall seeing someone get up in a public place and ask when he’d be allowed to shoot Democrats.

    Candidate Trump said this in August 2016 however no one could possibly believe that he meant it…

    By the way, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.

  24. Kathy says:


    It’s like the relentless rhetoric on abortion as murder. You end up with vigilantes shooting doctors who perform abortions, and obnoxious to violent confrontations outside clinics.

    The difference is that abortions actually take place, while no one in government is intent on repressing any particular group (systemic issues aside), nor was there any electoral fraud, nor was there a false flag Jan 6th. putsch, nor is there such a thing as a deep state secretly controlling everything.

    So this will take longer. But eventually we’ll see armed yahoos shooting Democratic politicians.

  25. de stijl says:


    We’re gonna need a bigger diaper.

  26. JohnMcC says:

    @Kathy: “Eventually we’ll see armed yahoos shooting Democratic politicians AGAIN.” Fixed.

  27. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Typical Trump: strongly imply something, but don’t say it outright. Then weasel out of it afterward.

    Though I’m sure the MAGAs knew exactly what Trump was suggesting, this guy in Idaho came right out and said it: “When do we get to use the guns? No, and I’m not–that’s not a joke. I’m not saying it like that. I mean, literally, where’s the line? How many elections are they going to steal before we kill these people?”

    Some in the audience cheered and applauded those words.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Either that or for backpedaling furiously when he realized that it’s not a schtick to his listeners. One of the two.

  29. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I always enjoy it when Trump flatly denies he said something, but there’s plentiful audio/video proof he said exactly what he’s denying.

  30. Kathy says:

    BTW, last night I finished watching season 3 of Young Justice, released in 2019.

    Near the end, Luthor gets full trumpy, even invoking “fake news.” I was so disappointed. I expected him to be a better class of super villain.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I got an appointment next week for my booster on CVS’s website. I got Moderna shots. The website defaulted to a Pfizer booster without offering any option. I’d decided to get Pfizer based on the published stuff that supports mix-and-match. Apparently CVS agrees.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: @Monala:
    The only time I ever took a free security system offer was when Equifax (???) offered one after their security breach. It was a 2-year contract that was subsequently renewed (at no charge) by another reporting firm. When the contract finally expired, the second agency sent an email of the actions I would have to take to continue the service. By that time, I’d frozen my credit on all the reporting agencies, so I decided to pass on further protection.

    The usual caveats apply, I think. And I agree with Jax that I wouldn’t go with a plan that will “automatically renew for your (???) convenience.” It’s one of the things I checked with the Equifax offer.

    (In the meantime, I’ve lost all of the information to unfreeze my credit, so deciding that I need a new credit card will be fun. Oh well…)

  33. Kathy says:


    It bears saying that while AZ and J&J have a better T cell response, this doesn’t mean Moderna or Pfizer don’t have a good T cell response.

    I’m not entirely clear on T cells. They encompass a variety of sub types that can do many things in defense of the body, from killing infected cells to helping B cells make antibodies, to regulating inflammatory responses, etc. Not least there are memory T cells that keep a sample of antigens for future use.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: “The chutzpah in saying “nothing like this has ever happened in this country,” is too much. How about The Trail of Tears? How about the Tuskegee Experiment? How about McCarthyism?”

    Sure, but those things happened to ICLANNGG, NCLANNGG, and commies, not Americans.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: “Brand everyone who works there with a scarlet fox on their foreheads.”

    Some of us need to go back and read Hawthorne’s account of the work Hester put into her embroidery job before we go around suggesting others do it, too. (I’m too lazy to look it up, so y’all gon have to do your own work on that. But I wrote a paper on unintended consequences about it in grad school that got an “A.”)

  36. JohnSF says:

    Speaking of good TV: I watch very little, but recently got hooked on Paris Police 1900
    Crime drama set against the political background of the Dreyfus case, anti-semitic politics, and riots threatening the Republic.
    In French with subtitles. Amazingly atmospheric, and brilliant actors.
    If it becomes available in America, I’d urge people to give it try.

    OTOH, disappointment:
    New BBC Brian Cox fronted science series, Universe first episode last night; switched off about 3/4 through.
    Lots of Brian Cox doing his patented “awestruck spaniel” act, wandering through stunning but completely irrelevant landscapes, interspersed with amazing CGI, but ultimately rather uninformative.
    Fails to explicate what we know, how we know it, what we think we know and what we’re baffled by.
    No historical context of the discoveries and concepts, and their limitations.

    For instance: not even much of a cursory look at stellar histories, and star types.

    Another example: posits a “Dark Matter net” acting as a scaffolding for the concentration of matter; but fails to address how we know about it (eg evidence of DM in galactic rotations, red shift anomalies etc) Or why such matter doesn’t collapse into “dark stars” that agglomerate into “dark black holes” if they have no means of countering gravitational compression.

    Could have been a lot better. Pity.

  37. JohnSF says:

    Lovecraft’s First Law of Necromancy: “Do not call up what you cannot put down”.

  38. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Yeah, I’m with you on this. I agree generally with Drum’s assessment, but think he went too far at the end.

    I all for social shaming and even a little professional blacklisting within reason.

    Obviously, the missile strike bit was hyperbole, but I do not respond well to eliminationist language like that. It’s dangerous.

    Besides, why would China want to harm Fox News? Or Russia, either. Fox News serves their desires very well in creating and maintaining political discord in the US. It’s a psy ops goldmine and they don’t even have to pay for it – we’re doing it to ourselves.

  39. Kathy says:

    Will Mark change his name to Martin Luther King Zuckerberg Jr.?

  40. CSK says:

    My maternal great-grandmother’s first name was Meta. German.

  41. CSK says:

    According to CNN, “a misdemeanor complaint alleging a sex crime has been filed against former governor Andrew Cuomo.”

    The breaking news article doesn’t explain how a sex crime could be a misdemeanor.

  42. JohnSF says:

    A possible heads up:
    A Franco-British trade dispute may be developing.

    Over Jersey fisheries rights for some fifty French boats, FTLOG, and two British boats fined, and one, the Cornelis Gert Jan detained by French authorities.

    Incidentally the name Cornelis Gert Jan strikes me as *ahem* a bit fishy 🙂
    I’ve seen some twittering indicating both vessels are in fact Dutch, but using purchased British rights (fisheries gets bloody complicated, trust me) and chancing their arm in protected French waters.

    Might die down, might detonate.
    Reason for potential detonation: UK Minister Frost has lately been doin’ the strut and acting the hardboy re. NI protocol.
    Could very well be Paris has decided it’s time to fire a warning shot; accounts are that Paris is tired of Brussels/Berlin caution in this regard; and crucially that Dublin is also beginning to lose patience.

  43. CSK says:

    ABC explains a bit better. Cuomo “forcibly placed his hand under the blouse of an unnamed victim and onto an intimate body part.”

    This was done “forcibly and for no legitimate purpose.”

  44. keef says:


    “Waterford, once the crown jewel of Ireland’s Vaccination program, now has the highest rate of infection in the country. For the first time since March, the number of patients in hospital with Covid in Ireland is over 400. This in a country where 92% of adults have been Vaccinated against the CCP Virus.

    It’s worse for County Waterford where almost every single person over the age of 18 has been double jabbed and yet case numbers are surging with more than 700 new cases documented in the last 2 weeks.

    “The number of vaccinated patients in ICU now is almost as high as the entire number of Covid patients in ICU a year ago. ”

    I guess Ron DeSantis is governor of Ireland, too. Who knew?

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @keef: do the math, idiot.

    Ireland population: 5,010,081
    Covid deaths: 5369

    Florida Population: 20,271,272
    Covid deaths: 58,933

    keef- fish in a barrel

  46. Just Another Ex-Republican says:


    But eventually we’ll see armed yahoos shooting Democratic politicians.

    Not just Democrats, I’m afraid. Remember Steve Scalise and the baseball shooting? That was a left-wing armed yahoo shooting a Republican. Ratcheting up the threats in political discourse is bad for everyone. Sadly, too many people don’t seem to have learned that despite events of the last several years.

  47. Kathy says:


    The troll has part of a point (other than the one on his head). The trump virus is too insidious, and immunity doesn’t last long at high levels (though it continues to offer a high level of protection against severe disease and death).

    I’ve said this again and again: lower your guard and you let the virus run rampant.

    What we can learn from observation is that vaccination isn’t enough. If some virus is circulating in any community, additional precautions are required.

    where the trol fails is in thinking that discarding all protections and vaccines would be a better way to deal with the trump virus.

  48. Jax says:

    The troll needs to spend some time perusing the /HermanCainAwards on Reddit. I’ve never seen so many people die because of their media bubble feeding them disinformation.

    Odds are, though, that the troll is vaccinated, most likely because he has a wife and kids that care about him and claims he’s got money. Just like every other “elite” in the conservative bubble, he’s totally willing to kill off the rubes to feed the narrative. I bet he doesn’t donate to the GoFundMe’s, either.

  49. Kathy says:

    Some good data on breakthrough infections at the NYT (I didn’t hit a paywall)

    TL;DR Get vaccinated.

  50. @Kathy: Sadly, the troll in question can’t do much more than provide a half thought-out comment and a link.

    But, in fairness, actual analysis is hard.