Tuesday’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. CSK says:

    Bill Barr is a “cowardly RINO and shill for the Marxist Democrats.” So sayeth Donald Trump.

  2. CSK says:

    This is good.


    Quote:”…the tangle of loose wires, celebrity gossip, Putin-worship, grade school taunts, and world class vapidity that forms Trump’s mind…”

    Charen has a way with words.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    I found this opinion piece by Conor Friedersdorf on the subject of free speech on campus to be well written. And I agree wholeheartedly with his conclusion:

    To fix this problem at Georgetown and elsewhere, faculty need power to protect free speech. At present, sanctions in higher education flow in one direction: Diversity bureaucrats exert control over faculty members whose speech allegedly undermines inclusion. I propose giving faculty the power to investigate, sanction, and fire diversity officials if they undermine free speech. Administrative abuses will continue as long as bureaucrats can punish speech, even in flagrant violation of university policy, without any consequences.

  4. Jax says:

    This makes me so angry, I want to punch Kelley Watts from Tulsa in the face.

    When we spoke, I asked her whether she doubted Sandy Hook because first grade children being murdered in their classrooms was too hard for her to face. “No. I just had a strong sense that this didn’t happen,” she said. “Too many of those parents just rub me the wrong way.”

    She judged the parents as “too old to have kids that age.” She found their clothes dowdy, their hairstyles dated. Where were their “messy buns,” “cute torn jeans,” their “Tory Burch jewelry”? She mocked their broken stoicism. Their lives had fallen to pieces, but in Watt’s mind they seemed “too perfect,” and also not perfect enough.

    Watt had read widely about the shooting and the families, choosing from each account only the facts that suited her false narrative.

    She brought up Chris and Lynn McDonnell, parents of 7-year-old Grace, a child with striking pale blue eyes who liked to paint. Lynn McDonnell told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Grace had drawn a peace sign and the message “Grace Loves Mommy” in the fogged bathroom mirror after her shower, leaving traces her mother found after her death. She described the abyss she felt upon seeing her daughter’s white casket and recalled how she, Chris, and Grace’s brother, Jack, used markers to fill its stark emptiness with colorful drawings of things Grace loved.

    Watt mocked this reminiscence in a singsong tone. “ ‘Ohhhhh, Grace. She loved loved loved loved loved Sandy Hook, and we’re glad she’s in heaven with her teacher, and she’s with her classmates, and we feel good about that,’ ” she said. “ ‘She had a white coffin, and we busted out the Sharpies and drew a skillet and a sailboat.’ NOBODY CRIED,” she barked.

    Watt’s feral lack of empathy astonished me. Watt a few minutes earlier had boasted about her son Jordan’s voracious reading habits and how well her daughter, Madison, played the piano. If Watt’s children died, wouldn’t she also speak highly of them and their gifts?

    “No. This was to build up the sympathy factor,” she said. “I think they’re people with a gun control agenda.

    “If Jordan died, I wouldn’t be in Washington lobbying,” she added.

    It was a strange thing to say. When Watt’s children were young, she ignored them, obsessed with saving families from imagined government plots while her own family unraveled around her.


    “Being a curious person, I immediately clicked off of Anderson Cooper and logged on to Memory Hole,” Watt said. “This professor was saying this didn’t happen, and something just clicked. That’s when I called to ask them who got the contract to clean up the blood.”

    Watt made hundreds of phone calls to the Newtown Town Clerk’s office, town education officials, the Connecticut State Police, and state environmental protection officials, demanding the name of the company that cleaned the crime scene. When they either told her off or slammed down the phone, she named them as participants in the cover-up.

    In fact, the Newtown police had already released detailed records of the school’s cleanup, performed by Clean Harbors, a national industrial cleaning company.

    Watt told me she had visited Clean Harbors’ website. “Now, it might have changed, but it said, ‘We clean up harbors and waterways from oil spills.’ Which told me they don’t clean up urine and blood and guts from elementary schools.”

    That’s wrong, I told her. It had taken me one phone call to confirm that Clean Harbors had cleaned Sandy Hook. The company had performed biohazard cleanup for decades, including of ground zero after the 9/11 attacks.

    “You told me you made hundreds of phone calls looking for the cleanup information,” I said, working to keep my voice neutral. “Did you ever read the one-page Newtown police report that spells out what you spent years trying to get?”

    Watt was momentarily silent. “I haven’t seen that document,” she said blithely. “But where are the receipts?”

    More at the link if you, too, want to punch Kelley Watts in the face.


  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Pouring gasoline on a fire:

    New Ohio law allows teachers to carry guns in schools without a permit

    Ohio’s permitless gun carry law for “qualifying” adults went into effect on Monday – a measure that would lift restrictions on school teachers, custodians and bus drivers from carrying firearms at work.

    After Governor Mike DeWine announced he signed House Bill 99, which lowers the required training hours for armed personnel from 728 hours to 24 hours, DeWine said he still preferred law enforcement officers to carry the guns at schools.

    Signed into law after 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the legislation no longer makes it a requirement for Ohioans aged 21 and older to complete eight hours of the handgun training course to carry and conceal a firearm. And it eliminates the requirement for gun carriers to tell police officers they have a concealed weapon on them, though they must say if they are asked.

    “My office worked with the general assembly to remove hundreds of hours of curriculum irrelevant to school safety and to ensure training requirements were specific to a school environment and contained significant scenario-based training,” DeWine said in a statement after the bill passed earlier this month.

    He thanked lawmakers “for passing this bill to protect Ohio children and teachers”.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I am far better off not reading it.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: How long until a legally armed teacher shoots someone at school?

  8. CSK says:

    What Kelley Watts doesn’t seem to understand is that for Sandy Hook to have been a conspiracy, it would have required the full cooperation of all the parents, all the kids, all the cops, all the doctors and nurses, all the reporters covering the story, all the local hospitals, all the funeral home staff, all the clergy who officiated at the funerals…oh, why go on?

  9. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: Yes, this is the true crisis in academia. Not that state legislators are eliminating tenure so that they can fire professors who do not agree with the government’s message. Or laws in states demanding that “conservative” ideas be prioritized, or that certain aspects of American history be censored. The problem is those annoying diversity people.

    I mean, what possible harm can come of allowing state governments to dictate what is allowed to be taught in universities? Somebody might be getting chided for using the N-word!

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: The first time an armed teacher is faced with an active shooter. The gun fetishists all think they are John Wick when they are really nothing more than corner boys on The Wire, with predictable results.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Well, they are all in on it. That’s how she knows it’s a conspiracy.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I can’t wait for the time when a teacher leaves his/her piece in the bathroom.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @wr: Was that’s boilerplate or did you read the article?

  14. MarkedMan says:


    what possible harm can come of allowing state governments to dictate what is allowed to be taught in universities?

    And what possible harm can come from anonymous committees deciding what speech academics are allowed and what they are not, based solely on some vague undefined definition of right and wrong. After all, those academics/actors/writers/teachers who were investigated and sanctioned by McCarthyite committees in the 50s were just dirty commies who didn’t deserve an open and fair hearing, right?

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Holy shit. I crap my pants just watching this:


    This is as close a shave as you’re ever going to get

    I can’t f’n believe that kid is not only still alive, but mobile. Run? You dawgdamned right!

  16. CSK says:

    Even the six-year-old kids who survived the shooting. Yeah, they make top-flight conspirators.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Heartland Signal

    Here’s DeWine’s opponent, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D):

    “Teachers need 180 hours to renew their teaching license … but only up to 24 hours of training to carry a gun … That is insane.”

    “[Mike DeWine] doesn’t give a shit about whether you or your family are safe.”

  18. Kathy says:

    How many divisions has the Pope?

    None, but he has Russian talking points.

  19. CSK says:

    Well, this is odd. Bennie Thompson says it’s not the Jan 6 committee’s job to make a criminal referral of Donald Trump to the DOJ.

    Everyone else on the committee seems to disagree.


  20. CSK says:


  21. gVOR08 says:


    What Kelley Watts doesn’t seem to understand is that for Sandy Hook to have been a conspiracy…

    Yesterday I linked an article in WAPO about some woman in GA whose whole life has become MAGA politics and conspiracy theories. My observation was that she understands nothing and conspiracy theories are the easiest way for her to feel like she understands. Cataloging what Kelly Watts doesn’t understand would likely require an encyclopedia, not a blog comment.

  22. CSK says:

    Trump simply ignores the truth if it’s not what he wants to hear:


  23. Kathy says:


    Whereas for cataloging what they do understand, a blog comment has an excess of sufficiency.

  24. CSK says:

    Yes, I read that. Fascinating. And bloodcurdling.

    It’s also a way for people to fill the voidin an otherwise meaningless life, and to feel superior to those who aren’t “in the know.”

  25. gVOR08 says:


    The first time an armed teacher is faced with an active shooter. …

    Bad memory. I recall there was a case a few years ago of a guy intervening with a gun to stop a shooting, not a school, maybe a mall, and being shot by the cops when they arrived. He had the misfortune of being Black, and he had a gun, ergo… But I can’t remember enough to Google it. Anybody? Were I a Black teacher I would absolutely refuse to carry.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: I remember that and yes, it was at a mall. I think in Ohio for some reason or other, but I wouldn’t bet on it. IIRC he had his gun out but wasn’t actually trying to engage the shooter. Instead he was shepherding people into a store when he was shot. Don’t recall if he lived or not.

    eta: I recall a number of mass shootings (Jared Loughner, the Virginia college shooting, and others) where there were armed people in the area and they did just like everyone else: Run and hide. One guy at the JL shooting said he couldn’t tell exactly what was going on and didn’t want to shoot the wrong person. A guy at the VA college shooting said he didn’t want to get shot by cops when they showed up.

  27. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: It’s not boilerplate. I’m just sick of rightwingers whining because some student at Smith said something stupid while ignoring the Republican state takeover of education.

  28. CSK says:

    Today is Trump’s 76th birthday. I wonder what Melania is giving him.

  29. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    A hilarious story from the Patriot Front arrest the other day.
    One of them, who calls himself “Alph-Chad” and has the online name @PedosnJooshang (pedos and jews hang), got tossed out of his mothers basement.
    Ladies and Gentlemen, your well-trained militia.

  30. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Not that exact scenario…yet (but the report is a few months old so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) :

    Every Incident of Mishandled Guns in Schools

  31. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Yes, it is amusing. There’s also a story about this jerk in The Daily Beast.

  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    Here’s one for Michael Reynolds.

    Progressive groups are eating themselves from the inside.

    “I got to a point like three years ago where I had a crisis of faith, like, I don’t even know, most of these spaces on the left are just not — they’re not healthy. Like all these people are just not — they’re not doing well,” he said. “The dynamic, the toxic dynamic of whatever you want to call it — callout culture, cancel culture, whatever — is creating this really intense thing, and no one is able to acknowledge it, no one’s able to talk about it, no one’s able to say how bad it is.”

  33. Beth says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    There’s a judge on the ballot here that was rated not recommended by the Jewish and LGBT bar associations. She’s rated fine by everyone else. I turned to my partner and said, “when you’ve lost the Jews and Queers there’s a problem.” I don’t think I’ll be voting for her.

  34. CSK says:

    Just curious: What does this have to do with the jerk whose mother booted him from the house?

  35. Kathy says:

    I feel I should print an image of Lucy removing the ball while Charlie Brown goes flying in the air, and post it at the door of the boss’ office.

    I think I’d get in trouble if I did, and in any case it really belongs on the door of his boss’ office.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  37. inhumans99 says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Kevin Drum also has a post up on this article. The commenters on his site are correct, some of these Progressive Orgs have a management problem, if management is too scared of the inmates in the the asylum, replace them with managers that are not scared of their employees.

    The GOP has this problem too, most of the GOP Congress-critters say they are too scared to compromise with the Democratic party because they fear the Base that makes up a lot of the GOP, so the GOP is also letting the in-mates run their Party, this is to point out water is wet, very unhealthy for the future of our Country.

  38. Beth says:


    The jerk who got booted apparently hates Jews and Queers too. Just reminded me of the Judge.

  39. CSK says:

    Ah, thanks.

  40. Kathy says:

    From Trevor Noah’s show last night:

    “When you think about it, it actually makes sense that Trump would listen to a drunk person,” he concluded, “because that’s the one time people probably sound like him.”

  41. MarkedMan says:

    @inhumans99: Just based on my own experience, I haven’t noticed the problem with the younger people we have hired. They are certainly more willing and open to talking about their emotional difficulties than in the past, but I don’t see that as a negative. I wonder if the problems at the political groups is that it attracts the type of young person who is hyper-focused on social justice and who got their degree through programs that were long on talk and feelings and not so much on delivering.

  42. Mu Yixiao says:


    The article goes into this. It’s not so much about age as it is about “activism” (though the venn diagram certainly has a lot of overlap).

    There’s a bit in the article that talks about the Bernie Sanders campaign. Sanders told senior staff to “stop hiring activists” and, instead, look for people who are there to do the job they were hired for.

    The article is long-winded (and goes into a lot of history), but if you have the time, I recommend reading the whole thing. It’s not–as I first thought it would be–a screen on “kids these days”, but a deep look into how activist organizations (especially in the past decade) almost inevitably fall into the “self-destroying” trap and focus inward rather than having a coordinated plan on moving forward and accomplishing things.

  43. Mu Yixiao says:


    The Whiskey War is ending. 🙁 🙁

    Canada and Denmark (Greenland) will cease hostilities soon.

  44. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Sanders told senior staff to “stop hiring activists” and, instead, look for people who are there to do the job they were hired for.

    My first reaction upon reading this was, “That is rich, coming from a guy who has been nothing but an activist his whole life and who has accomplished virtually nothing in a long, long political career because if it.” But I thought about it for a moment and realized there was another, equally valid interpretation, “Bernie has only ever been about Bernie and the adulation of the crowds. He’s got no use for campaign workers who have their own ideas because by definition that they aren’t focused on the vital business of the adulation of Bernie Sanders.”

  45. JohnSF says:

    Mix of news from the UK.
    Planted out some more sweetcorn (hooray!) to replace those shredded by slugs (boo!) during the cool wet spell we had.
    Planted new rose bush. Hooray!
    Weather perfect: sunny, slight breeze, 22C, 45% humidity. Hooray!

    England win the Second Test against New Zealand on final day by five wickets, last innings score 299-5.
    Amazing batting by Jonny Bairstow: 136 off 92 balls, 14 fours and 7 sixes.
    Which I’m sure impresses everyone here 🙂
    One of the all time great Test batting knocks; a privilege to see it.

    Meanwhile, back in the realm of politics, our rotten government continues to kick the country into the gutter with it’s shameful policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.

    European Court of Human Rights has late today blocked the deportations proceeding pending hearings.
    Cue the government floating leaving the European Convention of Human Rights etc.
    I guarantee they knew a prolonged legal tussle would be the outcome of this abominable scheme, and positively hoped for the headlines.
    “Battling Boris ambushed by Remoaner Lefty Lawyers”
    Yet another attempt to save Johnson by throwing red meat to the Right.
    There are some moments when I really dislike some people.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Progressive groups are eating themselves from the inside.

    If there is one thing I can ignore, it is any link titled such. Not because the read is a waste of time, but because the person making the link is far more focused on finding fault with progressives, than they are with the kernel of truth or 3 within the article.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Been watching this drama since I was 15 or 16. Maybe my view is jaundiced by having been exposed for too long, but the message that I keep seeing is that most of us probably are not as liberal as we imagine ourselves to be. Telling “the progressives” to STFU is ultimately not going to redound to better social safety nets and gentler, kinder national policies. But we really know that, don’t we?

    And yeah, I know that progressives/leftists can be really annoying. It’s what kept me voting for Republicans through 2000.

  48. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: Bernie hired Briahna Joy Gray as his campaign press secretary in 2020. I don’t always subscribe to the horseshoe theory, but she is clearly about to hop to the other prong of the horseshoe.

    Hates “centrists” (read moderate left Democrat corporatist shills) more than Republicans, and is right on the Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi path, but in a slower trajectory. Every time she pops up I am reminded of just how much she embodies the worst part of the left.

    She made it very clear that Bernie was not surrounding himself with good people, and even if I like his politics better than everyone else left, there was no way I would support him in any primary. He would be a shitty president.

    I’d sooner get a president who will get a small part of a less ambitious agenda done than one who gets none of a more ambitious agenda done.