Thursday’s Forum

Off my game, but that doesn't stop the hot takes.

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:

    I didn’t watch trump’s performance last night (I never do) so I may have missed some nuance but I fully expect him to go back to voicing full throated support for Kemp’s reopening of the GA economy today. From what I have read Kemp fully intends to proceed (NYT), which tells me trump said one thing to the press and something entirely different to Kemp on the phone.

    Mr. Kemp acknowledged speaking with Mr. Trump in a series of Twitter posts after the president’s briefing. And while he praised Mr. Trump for his “bold leadership and insight,” he gave no indication he was reconsidering his decision. “Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials,” he wrote.

    We’ve seen this show before.

  2. Bill says:

    The Tennessee coronavirus headline of the day-

    Brothers Who Hoarded 17,700 Hand Sanitizer Bottles Avoid Fine After Donating Supplies

    It would be world class of chutzpah if these brothers would now apply for a small business loan to bail themselves out from their big losses.

  3. Teve says:


    Good news that Nancy Antoinette has stopped eating her fancy ice cream & allowed a relief bill to come to the floor. Bad news is she’s always looking for ways to slip stuff in to advance her Leftist pet projects–either now or in the next phase. We’re watching, Nancy!

    If you support these people you’re just an idiot.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Noor satellite was launched by a three-stage rocket which the IRGC said was powered by a combination of solid and liquid fuels.

    The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said the launch violated a 2015 UN security council resolution.

    “I think every nation has an obligation to go to the United Nations and evaluate whether this missile launch was consistent with that security council resolution,” Pompeo told reporters. “I don’t think it remotely is, and I think Iran needs to be held accountable for what they have done.”

    The 2015 UN resolution Pompeo was referring to was intended to endorse a nuclear deal with Iran that the US abrogated in 2018. The resolution (UNSC 2231) said: “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”

    Although there is technological overlap between space launches and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), Iran denies that the aim of its space programme is to pursue ICBM technology.

    I googled hypocrisy and you’ll never guess who’s face showed up.

    “It’s achieving both their objective of flexing muscle and implying they have the ability to go further if needed without giving the US the legal grounds to go to the UNSC,” said Ariane Tabatabai, Middle East fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the US.

    “Covid-19 hasn’t slowed down the tensions between the two sides, it’s exacerbated them. Neither side has shown a willingness to back down from its policy. The Trump administration introduced new sanctions even as Iran was grappling with the outbreak. Iran has resumed provoking actions.”

    I’m sure trump would say, “Our Iran policy is already producing stunning results.” in which “stunning” means “exactly what we expected.”

    Trump went on Twitter on Wednesday to declare: “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”

    Ummm, donny? One shoots down planes and sinks boats.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Or an amoral POS.

  6. CSK says:

    Junior’s a pathetic little twerp, isn’t he? Always frantically toadying for Daddy’s approval.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Suddenly I feel like future generations should not be burdened with pensions for Republican Congress critters or their staffs. I’m not sure where this sudden change of heart comes from. Oh yeah:

    WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell took a hard line on Wednesday against giving cash-short states more federal aid in future emergency pandemic relief legislation, saying that those suffering steep shortfalls amid the coronavirus crisis should instead consider bankruptcy.

    “I think this whole business of additional assistance for state and local governments needs to be thoroughly evaluated,” Mr. McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said in an interview with the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “There’s not going to be any desire on the Republican side to bail out state pensions by borrowing money from future generations.”

    Just another amoral POS.

    Dammit, I misspelled Republican again.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Some interesting but not so good non Covid news: Record rain triggered 2018 Kīlauea volcano eruptions, says study

    The 2018 Kīlauea eruptions were one of the most extraordinary sequences in at least 200 years, according to the scientists, with rifts opening, summit explosions and collapses, and a magnitude 6.9 earthquake. But the trigger was not known. However, several months of unusually high rainfall preceded the eruption, with one 24-hour period setting a record for the entire US. This flood of water would have percolated down into fissures and pores in the rocks of the volcano, as far as 1.8 miles (2.9km) below the surface. The scientists calculated this pushed up the pore pressure inside the rocks to the highest level in almost 50 years, weakening them and allowing magma to push up from below.

    The scientists also looked at eruptions of Kīlauea since 1790 and found that these historical events were twice as likely to happen in the rainy season.

    That’s the interesting part. Now for the not so good part:

    “Critically, as our climate continues to change, the occurrence of prolonged periods of extreme rainfall is predicted to increase in many parts of the world, increasing the potential for rainfall-triggered volcanic phenomena,” said Farquharson, adding that research on the phenomenon was needed on other volcanoes. Other scientists have warned that the melting of ice on volcanic peaks may also cause eruptions.

  9. Bill says:

    The Florida headline of the day-

    Home invasion robber wanted food, Internet for his family, police say

    It reminds me of a line on a early episode of Lou Grant. People hijacked an airplane. They wanted a half million dollars, people freed from prison, and Star Wars as the in-flight movie.

    I’m going to the doctor today. My quarantine might be relaxed slightly. I still plan on staying home. Maybe I will go for morning walks with the wife.

  10. Bill says:


    Ummm, donny? One shoots down planes and sinks boats.

    Maybe he watches this for a break from Fox News.

  11. sam says:

    Rick Wilson on the Trumps: The dumbfuck Borgias

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: We knew these guys were licking their chops at the idea of NY and CA going into debt. The only surprise is that Moscow Mitch said it out loud.

    The difference between a state and the Federal government is the ability of the Feds, who borrow in their own currency, which they print, to absorb risk and debt.

  13. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Of course, there is the little matter that Kemp appointed Kelly Insider-Trading Loeffler to Johnny Isakson’s Senate seat, instead of Donald’s wacko defender Doug Collins. Donald never forgets to repay an injury.

  14. DrDaveT says:

    Remember those two DOJ prosecutors who quit in disgust over Trump’s meddling with Roger Stone’s sentencing? One of them has now joined the DC Office of the Attorney General as Special Counsel for Public Corruption.

    Mr. Kravis, a former law clerk to the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, previously worked as a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division, where he received the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Performance for his work prosecuting a high-ranking federal official for a racketeering conspiracy and related offenses.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: As somebody else noted at BJ, maybe NY and CA should ask Mitch exactly who pays for the federal largess that keeps Kentucky afloat?

  16. Kathy says:


    If states want to be bailed out, they should give the governor a multi-million dollar salary, and an even bigger bonus. They should also similarly pay other state officials, but sharply reduce the salaries, and benefits, of the lower ranks of state employees. They should issue stock for public works, and buy back their own shares.

    Then they’d be too big to fail.

  17. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Houes Appropriators should strip out any Federal money going to Kentucky. A little hardball and a little sunshine on that bluegrass.

  18. mattbernius says:

    So has anyone guessed this week’s subtitle theme yet? I’m perplexed…

  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    “Poor Kelly did this to herself. She asked Brian to help her across the political street and they both got hit by a bus,” said Collins spokesman Dan McLagan. “Which then got backed over them. And caught fire.”

    Tiny throws Kemp under the bus.

  20. Scott says:

    In the Only The Best People category

    Fox News regular Anthony Tata to be tapped as Pentagon policy chief

    Tata is best known as an avid Trump defender and author of the “Threat” adventure series. He has been featured in Trump tweets for lauding the president on Fox News, where he has spoken out about Trump’s firing of Navy Secretary Richard Spencer over the war crimes case of former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, and also about Trump’s decision to send troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Tata retired from the Army in 2008 after an Army probe found he had been having affairs with “at least two” women, the News & Observer reported. He served as North Carolina transportation secretary but resigned in 2015, citing a need to spend more time with his family and the demands of his side career as a novelist. He also considered running for Congress.

    What his actual qualifications may be are undisclosed.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: I am so culturally ignorant, I don’t stand a chance. I’m just patting myself on the back for figuring out Steven was doing something, even if I had no clue what it was.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I was going to post something about this myself. Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo called this perfectly: Trump’s strategy is to play both sides. He calls for opening as a concept, but then will not support anyone who actually opens, reserving the right to say it wasn’t done right when things go bad.

    Politicians, or maybe just Republican politicians, seem particularly unable to learn the lesson that NYers learned decades ago: there is no scenario in which associating yourself with Trump in any way ends up well. More than that – there is no scenario that doesn’t end with Trump walking over your body.

  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Elizabeth Warren’s brother has passed, due to COVID-19.

  24. CSK says:

    Elizabeth Warren’s oldest brother, Donald Herring, 86, has died of Covid-19.

  25. Stormy Dragon says:
  26. Teve says:


    States should always plan for a rainy day just like any business. I disagree that states should take Fed money or be bailed out. This will lead to taxpayers paying for mismanagement of poorly run states. States need to tighten up, make some cuts, and manage.

    The commenters resemble a starving pack of hyenas. 😀

  27. Stormy Dragon says:

    Trump economic advisor comes up with solution to the pandemic:

    Q&A With a Trump Economic Adviser

    I was thinking this morning, and this is just kind of a thought experiment because I was thinking about this — why don’t we just put everybody in a space outfit or something like that? No. Seriously, I mean —

    You know, because obviously a country unable to make enough N95 masks can make hundreds of millions of spacesuits like it was nothing.

  28. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    He probably means hazmat suits.

    But you’re right: people who can’t cover their nose with a cloth mask can surely handle a more complex system like a hazmat suit. That self-contained breathing thingy ought to be a breeze.

  29. Stormy Dragon says:


    Even if he did, there’s no way we could produce hazmat suits at near the level needed to give everyone one, so it’s still a ridiculous idea when we can’t even make enough N95 masks.

  30. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Not even enough to give a small fraction of hospital workers one.

  31. Bill says:

    I had a good checkup with my primary doc today. He recommends I stay indoors as much as possible which I plan to. Walking is ok. Dear Wife goes out at 5:30 a.m., social distancing isn’t a problem, and she just walks in the parking lot for ours and an adjacent apartment house. So I am not far from home.

    NFL Draft is tonight. I’ll be watching.

  32. Bill says:

    Angel ‘from heaven’ — Brave tech-savvy priest links grieving families with dying coronavirus patients

    The priest, Fr. Gabriel, in this article just taped next Sunday’s mass for our church and with my wife lectoring.They video are at Youtube (with the exception of Next Sunday’s) and a past one with Fr Gabriel and my wife can be found here. Fr. Gabriel has been saying masses at our church for about two years.

  33. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    McConnell says someething on the Right Wing Echo Chamber about another stimulus bill aimed at State and Local Governments hit by the COVID Pandemic would amount to a “Blue State Bailout”
    Cuomo throat punched him…

    Let’s talk about fairness, Mitch.
    NYS puts $116 billion more into the federal pot than we take out.
    Kentucky TAKES $148 billion more from the federal pot than they put in.
    But we don’t deserve help now because the 15,000 people who died here were predominately democrats?

    This is an issue I’ve ranted about for years.
    I say we take McConnell seriously, and Blue States stop bailing out Red States.
    Let NY keep the surplus $116B they send to DC…and let Kentucky live without the $148B.
    Same with CT, CA, and all the other Blue States that send more to DC than receive in return.
    And the same with LA, AK, SC, MI, and all the Red State Welfare Queens…let them eat cake.
    Let’s see what a real Blue/Red divide looks like.
    I think FL, TX, and NV, are the only Red States that can survive without support of the Blue States.

  34. Teve says:


    So I just received an actual phone call from a real person volunteering for @AOC ‘s office, asking if I NEEDED ANYTHING–groceries, medication, etc. They are calling all constituents. I almost cried on the phone. Thankfully we are all set, but this is such a wonderful outreach.❤️

  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s almost a pity @Guarneri isn’t here. His favorite ‘news’ source, Zero Hedge, has been permanently banned from Twitter for spreading lies.

  36. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: FL only survives because of tourist money and retirees with big pensions from places like NY, NJ, etc.

  37. al Ameda says:


    Good news that Nancy Antoinette has stopped eating her fancy ice cream & allowed a relief bill to come to the floor. Bad news is she’s always looking for ways to slip stuff in to advance her Leftist pet projects–either now or in the next phase. We’re watching, Nancy!

    And in a related item, the NYT reported the other day that Charlie Kirk is now formally on the Trump meme/talking point team. They also mentioned that Charlie Kirk is highly regarded by Trump Junior. Basically, if you add 2 degrees to room temperature, and add 10-20 IQ points above Junior, you get Charlie Kirk.

    Charlie Kirk is sort of, kind of analogous to Ben Shapiro, in that he’s one of those who older conservatives like to point to as the new conservative breed, a new young Red Brigade – those young people, new ‘thought’ leaders not brainwashed by Liberal University Elites. I’d say that Shapiro is about 40 IQ points above Kirk and 50-60 points above Junior.

  38. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: if we spend the next decade or two with a Republican Senate wrecking our ability to handle serious problems while those states also consume large amounts of welfare from blue states, I expect there to be a political crisis and the current entity of America may not survive.

  39. Teve says:

    @al Ameda: Trump has had himself photographed in apartments drenched in gold, and these idiots are mocking Nancy’s refrigerator?

  40. MarkedMan says:

    So here’s a rough calculation of what the actual fatality rate is for COVID-19: 0.5 – 1.4%

    Here’s how I got it.
    – 0.11 to 0.16% of all New Yorkers (NYC, not state) have died due to diagnosed cases of coronavirus.
    – A study just out estimates 21% of New Yorkers have been infected
    – Combining these two numbers gives us a range of 0.52% to 0.76%

    This assumes that all deaths related to Covid-19 were found and diagnosed. A week ago or so it was revealed that there was a very significant additional death rate in NYC, and it was reasonable to assume that all or most of that was due to undiagnosed Covid cases. That would add in a multiplier of 1.8. (Since then, about 3K of those deaths have been reassigned to Covid, but it’s not clear what fraction remains. I’m just going to take 1.8x as worst case.) That changes the above numbers to
    – 0.52 * 1.8 = 0.94%
    – 0.76 * 1.8 = 1.37%

    Of course, some of this study was conducted during a steep rise in cases, while other parts were closer to a steady state, and death rate trails cases by about two weeks, but at least it’s a reasonable ballpark estimate.

  41. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Moscow Mitch is in denial if he doesn’t believe that the first states to bankruptcy will be red leaning. If the states are required to absorb their own costs for the pandemic, NY, Cali, Mass etc, have the tax base in place to pay for the response. It would result in massive cuts in state level programs, but they can do it. Can Texas, with the collapse of oil? Florida with the collapse of tourism. One of the first in line would be my own Cow Hampshire, which has a small state budget, few services, but no reliable revenue stream.

  42. Kathy says:

    The latest figures from the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 map give Mexico 10,544 confirmed cases adn 970 deaths. That’s a sky-high mortality rate of over 9%

    Naturally this means testing is lagging waaaaaay behind what it should be, and heavily weighted at people presenting symptoms. If you look at the cases per day tracker, IMO we’re heading for a major human and economic disaster. We just got a late start.

    There’s no national stay at home order, though there’s plenty of encouragement to stay at home. At the state level there are such orders, with varying degrees of severity and enforcement.

    At work, the damned open invitations keep coming out, and the department boss is not interested at all in even letting some of the 20 people within to stay home, at least for part of the week. Corporate, one floor below my office, has issued orders to wear masks while at the office. they even gave out masks (I also have a cloth mask a coworker kindly made for me). This is good, but we’re still taking on a lot of unnecessary risk.

  43. Scott says:

    @Teve: I don’t remember who said it but it was recommended that Nancy Pelosi run the fall campaign from the Sub-Zero plant in Wisconsin.

  44. reid says:

    @Michael Reynolds: You can be banned for lies? Shouldn’t a lot of others be getting that treatment, including, oh, the moron at the top?

  45. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Moscow Mitch is in denial if he doesn’t believe that the first states to bankruptcy will be red leaning.

    It’s the entire Republican Party who is in denial…about the complete failure of their economic theories.

  46. reid says:

    @al Ameda: I can’t stand Kirk (of course). I occasionally reply just to call him a propagandist dweeb.

  47. reid says:

    @Kathy: My wife is from Juarez and has a brother that works in the USA but still goes to Juarez often. He said that they’re actually charging an exorbitant amount for a test there; over $100. Plus, it sounds like there’s a lot of “eh, whatever” attitude about the virus. (Wife and brother are a bit like that, too.) Doesn’t bode well.

  48. Kathy says:


    I guess it varies. My research indicates the test is free at government hospitals (no testing stations), but the cost to the government is around $58. Private clinical labs and hospitals offer the test, too, at around $120 to $150. The kicker is they seem to be testing only people with symptoms or who have been exposed to people with symptoms. That’s a recipe to miss lots of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers.

    Attitudes vary. Some people took until late March or even early April to take it seriously. Some others think the odds of infection are too low.

    Given the low testing rate, I assume the actual number of cases to be at least ten times as big, meaning around 110,000 in the country, not evenly distributed. And here we get to a lottery paradox kind of thing:

    The odds of encountering someone infected with the virus are low, around 0.09%. But the odds of someone infected encountering someone not infected are very high, around 100%. In short, take precautions, wash your hands, wear masks, and stay home as much as possible or permanently until further notice

    In most cities, only essential businesses are operating. In theory people are still getting paid regardless, but in practice who knows how true that is. And this is not sustainable in the long term. Not to mention the whole informal sector of the economy, which may be as big as the formal one.

    It’s a huge mess.

    BTW, I think deaths are under-counted, too, but not to the same extent.

  49. Mikey says:

    In a development that should surprise nobody, the guy Trump picked to be the spokesman of the Department of Health and Human Services is a vile, racist piece of shit.

  50. Mikey says:



    Good news that Nancy Antoinette has stopped eating her fancy ice cream


  51. DrDaveT says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    It’s the entire Republican Party who is in denial…about the complete failure of their economic theories.

    Their economic theories are working just fine. The rich are getting richer, and can buy all the stuff they want. What else matters?

  52. Tyrell says:

    NFL draft starts tonight. This will be one of the most watched drafts ever.