Steven L. Taylor
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
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).
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Miami and New Orleans face greater sea-level threat than already feared
My son says that once his wife graduates from college, they are going to leave NOLA. Can’t happen too soon as far as I am concerned.
Iowa suspends provision of emergency contraception to sexual assault victims
Because getting raped is just the beginning of what the sluts deserve, I guess.
Well, obviously these tramps are lying about being sexually assaulted. Therefore, they should suffer.
Kevin Drum has an interesting post about 8th grade educational outcomes. In his analysis he focuses on the Deep South and legitimately concludes that they don’t do as badly as often assumed. But I think there is a lot of interesting nuggets in the two charts he posts in addition to that one. For some reason he has two charts, one for black students and one for everyone else. Not sure why he does that. Why not by gender? Why do it at all? It certainly skews the data, as Deep South states have some of the highest percentage of black residents and they generally do worse on these tests. But let’s put that aside.
While it is true that the Deep South is pretty evenly distributed when it comes to black students, 2/3 of them are in the bottom half when it comes to white students. And, more interestingly, the states making up the rest of the bottom half skew heavily Trump state-ish. Going from the bottom: WV, OK, Maine (ok, there’s an outlier), AL ,AR, KA, KY, OR (another outlier), ND, WY, NH (third outlier), MO, MI, IA, TX. From the top: NJ, MD, HA, MA, CT, CO, NY, GA, UT, IL, RI.
I do think it is interesting and encouraging that, say, Louisiana punches above it’s weight in both categories. And what the heck is up with Maine and New Hampshire? Libertarians?
It’s worth every second of the 4 minutes it takes him to accomplish this feat.
RF really nailed that landing. Trigger warning: put down the coffee cup and swallow it all before clicking. I will not be responsible for your keyboards.
@MarkedMan: I don’t even see NH on the first chart.
Do private schools take these tests, and do they report results? NH has a lot of fancy private schools, as does Maine.
We have very inequitable school funding in NH. That’s what happens when you put the entire tax burden on property taxes.
Our transpo problem is solved.
A couple of things, there’s an awful lot of trust in those bags not breaking (and what will he do with that mostly unrecyclable plastic). Can’t imagine my wife doing that. 🙂
Conway finally gets that the GOP may have a problem with Gen Z.
People will vote, in 2024, who have never seen the GOP win the popular vote for President.
If you are <36 y.0. you've only seen it happen once.
Youth have been coming out to vote…and are behind many of the big wins Dems notched in the last few cycles. Yet the GOP continues to fuq with them on issues they are passionate about.
@OzarkHillbilly: Speaking of Stormy, while the whole Trump thing was going down, I happened to start watching Party Down on Hulu. It was a 2009 comedy on Starz with a cast consisting of Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Megan Mullaly and a host of other guests that went on to fame and fortune. Very funny and raunchy.
Anyway, in a convergence of the cosmos, Stormy Daniels pops up in Episode 5 of Season 1 playing, appropriately, a porn star.
This is a very good explanation of Bragg’s case against Trump:
Al Jaffee, legendary Mad magazine cartoonist, dies aged 102
Can you believe he retired at age 99?
I read a lot of his work in Snappy Answers To Stupid Questions collections. I can’t say I recall many of them, but my use of snarky observations leads directly from there.
Hawks and Doves
@OzarkHillbilly: As with many things, the wonder of it is not so much in how he did it as why.
I’ve often had those plastic grocery bags rip. And he had a baby carrier for the melon, wouldn’t a large back back for the whole load have made more sense?
That’s how W became The Education Governor(tm) (sic). A court ruled TX had to more equitably distribute property tax money for schools.
Over the weekend, someone mentioned that boygeniuses new album is really good. It is, and I was reminded of a bit of trivia I learned from a vid of a live session on KEXK(?) on where the group’s name comes from; an ironic (or mildly disparaging) reference to men (mostly young) who whose confidence is easily substituted for knowledge.
IIRC correctly, my spitting beer almost required the purchase of a new laptop.
@Scott: Seth Rogen claims that on the set of Knocked Up, Stormy told him about her Trump fling.
@daryl and his brother darryl:
Yep. And since before the Tea Party days I have not heard a single Republican politician say anything about listening to younger voters, or responding to their concerns. Instead their solutions are all variations of “we Republicans have to explain how they are wrong more politely”.
@Kathy: I am only mildly embarrassed to admit how much of my world view came from Mad Magazine.
NH is one of the last — perhaps the last — holdout on shifting a lot of K-12 funding to the state level. In more typical states, K-12 funding is 25% or more of all General Fund spending, and state funding is half or more of the total K-12 funding. Such funding is usually not uniform. Poor districts get a larger percentage of funding from the state. Here, some rural districts are more than 80% state funded.
Sure, but how many clicks would that have gotten?
So, the whole Clarence Thomas thing: I don’t see a purpose or path to impeach him or even to try to dun him into stepping down – he won’t. To me this report reflects an incredibly entitled worldview, which clearly affects his wife, Ginni and reflects a world where nobody actually lives but them and their patrons, uhhh, providers of hospitality. The Thomases live there in a protected bubble wrecking havoc in every way they interact with the rest of us, having blissfully forgotten how the real world works. Just that.
@MarkedMan: Exactly. That’s been their outreach to Blacks, “We’ll put more effort into whitesplaining why they’re wrong.”
Their own post-Romney post-mortem told GOPs they needed to reach out to minorities, especially Latinos. What they did was a wall, “not sending us their best”, “calf’s the size of melons”, bomb Mexico over drugs.
I feel like we’re balancing on a knife edge. Tip one way and we revert to the norm of a sun and moon party system with Ds as the dominant sun. Tip the other way and GOP money, propaganda, vote suppression, gerrymandering, and FS judges implement electoral autocracy. Three things give me hope.
First, Ds seem to be matching GOP money. Always footnoted that there’s so much dark money floating around who knows for sure.
Two, this. It looks like the kids really are alright. Maybe the demographic wave that’s been predicted forever will actually happen.
For three I’ll quote a tweet I saw. It was a picture of a very official looking page. Styled like a military manual cover, with a couple fake document numbers and everything. It read in it’s entirety,
The crazy may actually be reaching the point it’s obvious to all but the blindest MAGAs. I like Biden differentiating the MAGA from reasonable Republicans. I’m unconvinced there are more than a handful of reasonable Republicans, but Biden avoids triggering them or R leaning “independents”.
Amid all the recent buzz regarding new Star Wars movies, there was mention that the Ahsoka series will also feature Sabine Wren, Admiral Thrawn, and Hera Syndula.
I’m looking forward to that more than to the movies. The series is supposed to premiere this summer, too.
@daryl and his brother darryl:
Conventional wisdom says the young don’t vote in numbers large enough to matter.
So maybe the GQP found a way to get them to vote. Sure, for the ther party, but that’s something.
@Kathy: And Chopper, too!
Still hoping for Zeb as well, who had a brief cameo in The Mandalorian last week (or maybe the week before, I can’t recall).
I don’t agree that that’s the conventional wisdom. The conventional wisdom (and I believe this happens to be correct) is that it’s hard to engage younger voters, but very doable. Going back at least to 2008, the most successful Democratic cycles have always involved getting decent turnout from young voters, and their worst cycles have happened when they failed to do so. Of course it’s consistently true that young adults don’t vote as consistently as older people, but it’s a matter of degree.
I’m impressed that anyone can generate even a mote of enthusiasm for Star Wars. I think the franchise has been hugely mismanaged. Andor was good because finally someone had the balls to get beyond light sabers and Skywalkers. More Rey? Why?
Interesting thread on a J6 defendant undergoing cult de-programming.
Perhaps we could use this on a large scale?
But Gen Z came out in huge numbers the last few election cycles and are arguably responsible for Dems biggest victories.
Data suggests the Red Wave was stopped in part by Gen Z.
They care about the issues, like abortion and gun control and Democracy, and they are mobilized to vote.
Thus far there’s been little mention of Ezra, and I’ve heard none of Kanan (Caleb?)
You need to come watch my PowerPoint which explains I great depth why you are wrong. Heads up, I will cry a lot.
I haven’t gotten through an episode of the Mandalorian this season without crying.
Kanan’s dead. I believe that character is replaced with his and Hera’s son.
@Michael Reynolds: I am quite sure that they are reimagining the, uh, political-religious landscape accompanying The Force. In that, they are getting rid of both the Jedi and the Sith. The Force itself is neutral, it is nature, it is amoral. The “light” side is not more good than the “dark” side.
That was the message of The Force Awakens, but there was so much hate for that film, they backed off of it for the finale – to my disappointment. But they are still going to do it. Make The Force more universal, and more democratic – everyone can have it.
There are other Force traditions in the very extended universe which I am aware of because my daughter is a complete SW nutcase devotee. They already hold very non-Jedi views of the Force.
Rey (and I liked the character anyway) is ideal for this. Unlike Luke, she does not have inherent fear of the Dark Side, though she still operates according to moral principles. Luke and Yoda recognize that in creating the Jedi, the founders also created the Sith. They both burn down the first Jedi Temple. Rey is left to reimagine the path going forward.
They also are looking to stop the whole genetic legacy of Force using – midichlorians, yada yada. I’m guessing. Again, that was hinted in The Last Jedi.
@daryl and his brother darryl:
I think it’s one of the key factors in how the Dobbs decision affected the cycle. Young people (especially young women) are the people most directly impacted by the decision.
So are Obi Wan, Qui Gon, Yoda, and Anakin, and they’ve all appeared, quite dead, in movies and TV shows.
@daryl and his brother darryl:
Interesting. I wish they had given the names of the websites Sanford relied on for his “news,” though I can probably guess.
@daryl and his brother darryl:
Yeah, state sponsored re-education camps! That’ll sell.
@Jay L Gischer:
I doubt they have anything resembling real a plan for Star Wars. Disney seems to have fallen into a creative rut and can’t find a way out. The ins and outs of democratization of the Force is not what brings people into theaters.
The problem with Star Wars is that the world-building is thin, so filmmakers keep recycling the same stuff. Another problem is a legacy fan base that rejects any effort to broaden the appeal, leading to endless boring and transparent fan service moments. But the biggest problem is just shitty writing and a puzzling failure to understand how stories and characters work.
Much the same with Marvel, though Marvel has much deeper world-building. But the writers who’ll work for SW or Marvel at this point are not a bunch of George Lucases or Philip K. Dicks or D.C. Fontanas. Put 10 hacks in a writers’ rom together and the end result will be safe and dull. Add in a dozen executives terrified that their stock may drop, and in the end, you got crap.
Sometimes I too am baffled the rest of the world does not feel exactly as I do.
Andor was good because it had interesting characters and a good story. Not just the title character, but his handler, some of the rebels, the villains, even the droid. It was also the first time SW did straight science fiction.
Because she’s a bad-ass character.
Besides, did you never get caught up in melodrama?
@Michael Reynolds: Of course they have a plan.
1. Make three more Star Wars movies.
3. Big bucks.
Thinking about Star Wars (which is something I’ve generally managed to avoid doing since the first film, LOL) how about this, for your entertainment:
– the Force as some universal, uh, force, accessible by semi-mystical disciplines has always been there.
– Midichlorians were the product of an early Republic bit of genetic finagling that produced an aristocratic (as inherited) elite of near-supermen, with easier access to such powers; genetically recessive or dominant?
– but with no greater intelligence or wisdom (see the repeated assclownery of both Jedi and Sith)
– such genetic tomfoolery was outlawed, hence the lack of becoming universal in the population, and lack of analogous superhumans with other abilities (Mandalorians an exception, in their origins?)
– the Jedi order was an attempt to tame this elite; the Sith originated as those who thought this a mistaken approach
Explore from there the implications of a genuine aristocracy of power (and cross reference with the wizards of the Harry Potter universe; another largely hereditary empowered but constrained elite 🙂 ).
Did the Old Republic have a last resort “anti-Force-User” weapon?
Can the Force be accessed by AI?
How does midichlorian inheritance work?
Can you acquire them by transfusion? LOL.
What about “Force-vampires” who must drink the blood of a carrier to sustain their powers.
Admission: I’ve seen little of the more recent stuff, apart from Force Awakens and Rogue One., the latter being by far the best StarWarsiverse thing ever. No Amazon Plus, or whatever, and no intention of ever having such.
And now, back to ignoring it again.
@OzarkHillbilly: Well sure. If you still have the balance to ride a scooter.
@OzarkHillbilly: I wouldn’t say happier but I wasn’t any more unhappy either.
Then again, Trump was a form of comic relief for me as I watch the society crumble. DeSantis won’t be funny at all. 🙁
As I noted the other day, as long as they keep making ’em, I’ll watch Star Wars.
I love Andor. It’s not just a good Star Wars story, it’s a good SPY story. Better than almost any on television, and certainly recently. The stupid stuff that comes out in the “Bourne” tradition of things drives me nuts.
Rouge One, Mandalorian, I loved TFA and TLJ–I’ll watch it.
@MarkedMan: I’m not sure the 3 outliers you note are outliers if you factor in poverty and concentration of poverty as a factor in school performance, but statistics are the colors we use to paint the pictures as we want to see them.
@Jen: And yes, how schools are funded makes a big difference in outcomes, too.
@Jay L Gischer:
One interesting thing they could have gone with but didn’t: Sith get “promoted” by killing their predecessor, and since Luke killed Darth Vader by removing his helmet, it could be argued at the end of Return of the Jedi, Luke was both the last Jedi AND the last Sith.
@gVOR08: Out here on the dystopian left coast, we eliminated single-use disposable bags about a year or so ago and went to heavier duty single-use/reusable bags* that stores charge (8 cents) for, so his bags may not be likely to tear depending on where he lives. But yeah, a backpack may be a wiser choice, but I can’t say given that I wouldn’t even be able to keep my balance in that situation.
(Moreover, Wallyworld informs me that by next Tuesday all check-out counter bags will be fazed out. Don’t know why.)
*And they were using such bags in Korea (10 cents per) when I moved there in 2007.
In the book The Science of Star Wars, which was written before The Phantom Menace came out and midichlorians were introduced, the theory is put forth that the Force abilities are the result of some long-ago, forgotten genetic engineering that people eventually mistook for mystical powers. Theories like that are sort of like the ones that the Star Wars world is actually the future relative to our world (“Coruscant is future Earth” has long been a popular theory)–they may be a way of making sense of the unscientific elements to the story, but it’s unlikely that’s what Lucas or any of the other writers ever had in mind. And if the official series ever revealed the Force was the result of some purely scientific technological process, the response from fans would almost certainly be overwhelmingly negative, as it would be seen as undermining the quasi-religious component that attracted so many people to the series in the first place.
Force sensitive droids are a thing.
@daryl and his brother darryl: Yeah! Forcing people to undergo deprogramming under the penalty of law. Maybe even kidnap a few, if necessary. What could possibly go wrong?
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
So, figures lie and liars figure? It’s easy to be cynical but many of the epic troubleshooting battles I’ve waged involved sussing out root causes from statistics rather than simple yes/no, this-part-is-smoking dichotomies.
Lucas borrowed a lot from Carlos Castaneda in creating The Force. Even borrowed dialog. “Luminous beings are we…” and Luke’s stunt in Last Jedi was Castaneda’s dreaming body projection to a tee.
I read a lot of his stuff, but will never admit it..too many people took it seriously. However what appears to have happened to Carlos was getting busted was a stroke of luck. When a prof at UCLA demanded to see his field notes Carlos was exposed and dropping the shame of being an anthropologist fully unleashed his awesome imagination. Which can be a scary thing. Some ghost stories among the best I’ve ever read* and the formation of a small but tragically doomed cult, which the bastard was unethical enough to foster so he could sell books. People died. Nuff’ said.
I seems important for sci-fi writers when the venture into the bizarre landscape of our dreams, to constantly seek touch-stones to reality to keep the reader hooked. We as a species are still addicted to the concept of divinity passed through our own loins. The Sith are the Hapsburg Chins of The Force, I guess.
*But nearly incomprehensible out of context. See “The Death Defiers” chapter.
@gVOR08: I rather suspect he had a poundage per bag limit, a lot of them had only 2 or 3 items in them and they weren’t so big. As to the backpack I’m not so sure that would be a good idea. It’s puts most of the weight on his back where as doing it the way he does distributes the load more evenly.
He’s been doing it for quite some time and says he does it every week. I think he knows better than we do as to the best way.
This isn’t as good as seeing benito put away, but it’s not bad at all: Elizabeth Holmes will finally begin serving her time on April 27th.
It looks as though she will have managed to avoid incarceration longer than she will serve time.
I don’t think a third pregnancy will work for her this time.
@Kathy: Ezra shows up as a hologram in the preview. I am sure he is still alive somewhere since we see Thrawn.
Which is what they should have been doing. They could have broadened out the world, instead it’s one family from one dreary planet we’ve seen far too much of. Even the same tech – apparently they don’t have an Apple or an MIT or a DARPA. It’s an absence of creativity. SW has an entire galaxy to play with, FFS, and what do we get? De-aged Luke fondling a plush toy and then, apparently, changing his mind off screen so we can keep the merch centered in this weary third season of Mandalorian.
It may not keep her from trying.
There’s an actor cast, even. Just not much mention of his character.
In The Jailhouse Now.
People hate Midiclorians (the Force Powerhouse of the cell).
I think that with the galaxy being thrown into upheaval once a generation by various Force users, killing. Trillions of people, the obvious next step would have been a vaccination and treatment plan, to ensure that this weird midiclorian infection can be managed.
It would have been a more interesting direction to go with the sequel trilogy than to rehash A New Hope and then stagger around wounded from there (congratulations, JJ, you destroyed hope by making everything cyclical!). Lots of room for some interesting stories.
(Chewbacca abducts Han and Leia’s kid (age 12, they started their family improbably late) who is falling to the dark side in the Millennium Falcon, hauls then around with a medical droid and a scientist searching for a cure, pursued by everyone.)
I do wonder what would have done in the real world though, with antivaxxers becoming a problem a few years after the movies.
(Maybe midichlorians could have a hive mind and an agenda, pitting Jedi and Sith against each other, an echo of the prequels with the separatists and the clones both being controlled by Palpatine. One of the nice parts of The Last Jedi was the bit about the wealthy profiting from the wars rather than having a side, as an echo of Palpatine’s motives)
And Daisy Ridley is pretty great.
I think the character of Rey is all over the place, but now that the mystery box has been opened, she has potential.
Star Wars has always had a bit of the fantasy “fallen civilization” element running through it, so technological advancement really wouldn’t fit with it.
The original trilogy was about destroying an empire and hopefully reclaiming the shining and beautiful republic that preceded it.
The prequel trilogy was about how the republic had decayed and was collapsing under its own weight.
The sequel trilogy was not really about anything. The best movie of that bunch was partly about how you cannot look to the reviving the past for answers.
We know the Republic itself was around for over a thousand years, and had hyperspace, light sabers and droids from way back then. Things stagnated. You had space wizard wars, but overall things are stagnant.
It’s always looking backwards. If there was going to be a technological leap, it wouldn’t be from Space DARPA, it would be from discovering something left by the ancients.
Or by changing the entire story in a way that would redefine everything (there’s roughly half the galaxy they cannot explore, because hyperspace basically doesn’t work — that could be a barrier constructed by someone/something that does advance, which built a barrier to keep the backwards hicks out)
It’s also a sparsely populated galaxy, with various temples and ruins. The rebel base in ANH was in some abandoned temple on a planet that no longer had a normal population. We see more of that in the cartoons and other media — lots of planets with one small settlement, and weird stuff over there in the distance.
And they do for the reasons I described. It came basically out of nowhere in The Phantom Menace, and it not only undermined the element of spirituality and mysticism in the original trilogy, but wasn’t even very good science: it was more along the lines of something like dianetics, where you invent some vaguely scientific-sounding mumbo-jumbo that has no place in any current scientific theories. It’s also cheesy as hell (in contrast, stuff like the katra from Star Trek may be just as dubious scientifically, but at least it has a certain elegance). And in any case, it hasn’t gotten better with age; some fans may tolerate it, but I don’t think anyone really likes it. I don’t see any benefit from the series doubling down on this sort of thing.
@MarkedMan: Look, I get that for you Trump and the GQP are the enemies of education. Chances are you’re right. I’m simply noting why your “outliers” are not “outlying” at all but part of an additional problem that not only plays a significant role but also doesn’t require abolishing Republicans to address the problem.
One fan theory I saw that I liked is the midichlorians had nothing to do with force abilities, they were just a parasite that tended to concentrate in people with high force abilities and the Jedi were confusing correlation with causation.
Basically Jedi herpes.
In Timothy Zahn’s original Thrawn Trilogy, we learn of two animals, I forget what they’re called, that relate to the force.
One is a sessile tree dweller that can push back the force. It creates small areas free of the force. The other is a predator that uses the force to track prey.
I loved that. Any factor present in an environment can be used by living beings. So, given a predator that uses the force, a prey species might develop force-repulsion as camouflage.
In a long, long series of movies, you don’t want to mess with the technology much, unless that’s an important plot point. Otherwise you get the audience massively confused, and the fanboys (they’re mostly men) obsessed with tiny details more than they already are.
It’s like why aliens look like weird humans. because they’re played by human actors*. One big failing with the first prequel, IMO, was using CGI to create a humanoid character. If you’re going CGI with a new alien character, make them as weird, non-humanoid alien was you can.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: It requires the voters if the state prioritizing educational success over social outrage, guns and preaching
@MarkedMan: Voters have the right to set whatever priorities they prefer. It’s called democracy and one of the problems that came with liberal interpretations of it was that a lot more people got to take part in the deciding. Many of them are fans of social outrage, guns, and preaching in lots of areas in the US, sadly. But they have the right to strive toward their vision for Murka, too. 🙁
Late Tuesday thought, but here’s what a fuster-cluck a REAL amateur can bring to the table. And I thought management at Pioneer was dysfunctional.
Kanye’s Christian School Is an Absolute Disaster, Teachers’ Lawsuit Says
@MarkedMan:..I am only mildly embarrassed to admit how much of my world view came from Mad Magazine.
Mad Magazine was my first political journal.
Note the date on the cover.
@Kylopod: They never really did anything with midichlorians*, so it is all downside and no real upside.
Tell an interesting story well, and people will accept nearly anything. Tell a shitty story poorly, and you have Rise of Skywalker**.
*: They come up in Clone Wars kind of marginally, and Rebels as a minor element — the Empire is using them to identify force sensitive children and abduct them, but I don’t think we ever get an explanation beyond “they’re the baddies and baddies abduct children.”
**: There were the Dark Empire comics that were commonly cited as some of the best Star Wars Extended Universe stuff before Disney… they tell the story of Palpatine returning through clones that are falling apart and his desire to possess a force user to extend his life. Same dumb premise, but done better in a story that was better structured and had actual character beats and motivations rather than a McGuffin hunt.