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. OzarkHillbilly says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mother Jones

    Given the undeniable suffering of enslaved Black people, you have to wonder why anyone would want to find a silver lining in such a dark history…

    takes us to school and debunks Florida’s slavery argument in 120 seconds.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On a sunny day in mid-May, Bobby Hunt fell asleep by the side of a gas station in Phoenix. Hunt says he was waiting for a friend to pick him up.

    “Next thing I know, I wake up in the hospital.”

    Hunt was in a burn unit. He doesn’t remember much, just the bright lights.

    “What am I doing here?” he recalled asking.

    Almost three months later, Hunt stands in the empty chapel of Circle the City, the central Phoenix medical shelter for unhoused people where he’s been recuperating. He lifts his white T-shirt to reveal a lopsided, round scar the size of a medium pizza.

    The burn appears to be about an inch deep, and mars the swath of intricate, black-inked tattoos of skulls and faces that once covered his back. Below the big scar, a bandage covers another wound on his lower back. Hunt pulls the leg of his khaki shorts up to reveal a large, red rectangle where skin from his thigh was removed and grafted on to his back. He’s still in terrible pain.

    Recent heatwaves in the US, stoked by the climate crisis, have caused a surge of heat-related injuries and deaths. Alongside heat exhaustion and the more serious heat stroke, there is also a summertime spike in another kind of injury: contact burns from superheated pavements and other urban surfaces.

    Welcome to the new normal.

  4. charontwo says:

    Russia, Ukraine, FBI (New York), Mueller and Rudy Giuliani:



    The conclusion excerpt:

    I think that pretty much brings it all together. The whistleblower and Dynamo were irresistibly drawn into a web of Trump-Russia intrigue featuring so many of the key players in the stories we tell, from Telizhenko (associate of Dmytro Firtash and Andrii Derkach in the efforts to save Firtash from criminal prosecution and to obtain hacked computer files to introduce into the Hunter Biden laptop at the FBI or the disk copy distributed by Giuliani and confederates to their favored Murdoch news media and eventually Catherine Herridge’s desk at CBS) to Deripaska (Paul Manafort’s boss in his Ukraine work and subsequently the conduit of confidential US election information to Russian intelligence through Manafort and Kilimnik).

    And an unremitting and ultimately successful effort to suppress their findings on these subjects organized in the FBI field office where the October Surprise of 2016 (the discovery of the Huma Abedin laptop and its possible classified information, of which there of course wasn’t any, but it did its intended damage on Election Day) was orchestrated to blindside Jim Comey and where Agent McGonigall sold services to Deripaska, for which he has now been convicted.

    And Giuliani always there at the center of the intrigue, with his propagandists (like Solomon) and thugs (poor Lev and Igor) and attorneys (like Toensing and DiGenova), and business associates (Rick Perry and the rest of the Amigos) in a way somehow even more louche than Trump himself.

    I leave it to the reader to build the contrast between this kind of whistleblower and the kind of phony produced on a weekly basis for the Republicans of the House of Representatives. To me it’s a lot more like the whistleblower testimony eventually traced to Alexander Vindman, a brave effort to expose some of the worst corruption in our history.

    And a sign to me that the exposure will, ultimately, succeed, even as Trump and Giuliani go on trial for some of their more recent crimes. The worst crime mob in Trump’s orbit was always the one working for Russian interests in Ukraine, in return for assistance to Trump (sometimes financial, sometimes political), and it too will have to go on trial one of these days. I thought we should all be totally out of our minds over it.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Here’s some grist for the mill in our ongoing debate about car prices. Simply put, some of us look at the $50K average sale price and say young ‘uns and poor people can’t buy a car. Others of us say that there are inexpensive cars out there but that people aren’t buying them. My pet theory is that given that a used car with a 100K miles on it goes for less than 50% of its original sales price but should get 100K more miles at least, it’s tempting to get a used something with nice seats and more gewgaws than a base metal new econobox. So here’s a Consumer Reports article (via Jalopnik) on 10 low cost cars they recommend. There are sedans, a pickup truck, a few SUVs and even a hybrid in there and all are actually going out the sales room door between $20K and $25K.

    One thing surprised me though. Most are going for over MSRP. Only one is averaging less, and that’s only by $700. Which tells me there is more of a market for these than I thought. Still, the cheapest car for sale in the US, the Mitsubishi Mirage ES, only sold around 5K units last year. It’s not recommended by Consumer Reports, but reviews say it is by no means a terrible car and it gets nearly 40 miles to the gallon. That compares to, say, the Toyota RAV4 which sold 367K in 2022 and that invoiced out between $26.5K and $37K.

    Make of all this what you will. I’m sure we will all find it reinforces are preexisting opinions 🙂

  6. gVOR10 says:

    The supposedly liberal MSM doesn’t like to cover the most important aspect of politics, money. So I was a bit surprised POLITICO has this story on what they say would be the biggest win for GOP money since Citizens United. It’s a suit that would eliminate the requirement party committees and candidate campaigns operate independently, allowing party committees to work closely with campaigns, essentially becoming part of the campaign, and give the party committees access to the lower ad rates given to candidates. I’m not sure it’s as big a deal as POLITICO says in that the independence was largely pretense anyway. But it should be a bigger story than Ramaswamy.

  7. CSK says:


    I quit reading this in the middle because it made me overwhelmingly sad.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I made myself read it all.

  9. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: The question still goes to “Does $15/hr* pay both $1000/month rent and a $300 or so car payment?”

    In 1979, my mortgage company answered that question with “no” at $650 and $150, respectively. Has the math changed since then?

    *Used for illustrative purposes only. Actual wages may be lower in some areas.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha: FWIW, I’m not commenting on the difficulties in low wage workers getting a reliable car. Just that I think it’s an exaggeration to say the problem is worse now than it was in the past. If nothing else, cars are much more reliable now than in the past, so used cars are a much better value. In the early eighties someone outright gave me an Oldsmobile Cutlass. It was less than ten years old and had well under 100K miles on it (65K? It was 40 years ago!). It wasn’t worth the effort to sell and was literally falling apart. In 2015 I bought a used 2011 Infiniti sedan with 70K miles on it for somewhere around $15K and drove it without major issues to 185K and would have put another 10 to 15K miles on it before selling, if it hadn’t somehow gotten itself involved in an accident. And that was a nice car, with all the latest at the time, nice leather seats, quiet, well handling and got decent but not great gas mileage (30 mpg on the highway). That’s what low priced bare metal cars are competing against today.

  11. Kathy says:

    I seem to be developing a habit. Lately I want to cook something just because I saw a video of it being cooked. Usually these are things I don’t usually cook, or a very different technique from one I use.

    For example, a technique called cold searing for steak. I don’t ever cook steak* and don’t really want to. But seeing that video made me want to try that technique. the feeling passed.

    Sometimes the feeling doesn’t pass. Right now I’m trying to figure out how best to do chicken stock using bones with a little meat and maybe a couple of whole wings. I have a use for stock in many other recipes, and it can be frozen for later use, too.

    The thing is that it’s too much work, takes hours, and I’ll probably won’t be able to tell the difference from using plain hot water and bouillon cubes. So, I’m hoping the feeling passes, too.

    *I think steak is way overrated.

  12. Scott says:

    There is growing evidence and awareness that Operation Lone Star is ineffective, out of control, and possibly engaged in illegalities. Not that it matters one whit to the Texas political establishment.

    Texas National Guard disbanded intelligence wing after members used WhatsApp to spy on migrants

    An investigation by Military Times and The Texas Tribune has found that Texas National Guard leaders disbanded Operation Lone Star’s intelligence wing after whistleblowers reported the WhatsApp surveillance, which targeted migrant groups to track them through Mexico, because they believed it violated long-standing rules against state-run spy operations. During the same period, another team from the intelligence directorate allegedly sent classified FBI intelligence to their Texas Guard colleagues in an apparent violation of federal secrecy laws, according to an internal incident report.

    Then there is this: Texas National Guard member fires across Rio Grande, wounds Mexican citizen

    A National Guard member on duty at the Texas-Mexico border in El Paso fired across the Rio Grande, injuring a 37-year-old Mexican man in Ciudad Juárez on Saturday night, according to the Texas Military Department and Mexican news outlets.

    “On the night of 26 August, a National Guard Servicemember assigned to Operation Lone Star discharged a weapon in a border-related incident,” a spokesperson for the military department said in a statement. “The incident is under investigation. More information will be made available as the investigation progresses.”

  13. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: If the comparison you’re trying for is cars, then/cars, now, it’s an apple/orange comparison. Cars now are a good value for the money. Having the money is the issue.

  14. Mr. Prosser says:

    @MarkedMan: In the 70s and 80s my co-workers and I when talking cars endorsed the saying, “Buy American, buy often.”

  15. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: I make bone stock every time I roast a chicken. It’s “different,” but not “better,” IMO. (But I’m also the guy who doesn’t think flouring the stew beef makes a difference. ☹️)

  16. Scott says:

    @Kathy: I make my own chicken stock and it is my favorite food hack. I buy a rotisserie chicken, shred the meat off it (used for any number of recipes, chicken salad, chicken enchiladas, etc.), throw the bones and skin in the instant pot, add an quartered onion, chopped garlic, peppercorns, whatever spices I have like parsley, rosemary, thyme, etc., cook under pressure for 2 hours. Gives me about 7 12 oz jars of stock which I keep in the refrigerator. I use the stock mostly for pasta and rice (also in the instant pot) but also any other recipe that calls for it. Basically, the stock pays for itself.

  17. MarkedMan says:


    I think steak is way overrated

    It just goes to show that it takes all kinds. I’m still on nominal vacation at the lake but am on my own tonight for a variety of reasons, so I am headed to Oscar’s Smoke House to get a nice steak for the grill and a pound of thick cut bacon for when my daughter gets back (wife no longer eats red meat).

  18. Gromitt Gunn says:

    It is nice to see the Kia Soul on the list.

    I am still driving the 2014 Kia Soul that I bought new in December 2013 (bare bones model). It has been a great car – has only ever needed basic maintenance plus a couple of random warranty / recall events. I’ve replaced the tires twice and that’s been the only real major component. It can carry more than you would think.

    Every year for the past three or four years, I’ve looked at what’s out there in the market, debating whether or not I want to take on another car payment, and end up deciding I can wait another year and fund some home improvement projects instead.

    I would highly recommend it to anyone that does not have a valid need for an vehicle that can off-road and/or is NSTB rated for a tow hitch.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @just nutha:

    If the comparison you’re trying for is cars, then/cars now

    Not really. It’s the entry level price point for a reliable car. In the 70’s – 90’s used cars didn’t fit the bill, especially American cars. But now they do.

    Put another way, Mitsubishi sells a car that, adjusted for inflation, is as cheap an entry level
    new car as has ever been. But few people are buying it. Why? Because a nicer used car at half or a third of that price will give them reliable transportation for years to come.

    If you are arguing that there is a higher percentage of the population can’t afford a reliable car than in the past, we’ll go ahead and make that case. But the cost of new cars isn’t the only factor.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Mr. Prosser: I’ll always remember what a mechanic friend told me in 1980: “Don’t buy a Japanese car, a four cylinder engine will never reach 80K miles”

  21. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    this changes things a bit. I was unsure whether bones off a cooked bird would work or not. The issue being you can’t just buy chicken bones. I’d thought about deboning some pieces myself, but that’s not as easy as it seems. Off a cooked bird, it’s far easier.

    I may try that.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Every couple of months I buy a whole chicken and roast it. That’s one meal. Then I take most of the remaining meat and set it aside for stir fry, so that’s another. Finally, I take the carcass which I’ve deliberately left with some meat, knock the tips off the joints to expose the marrow and simmer it in vegetable stock for 3 hours or so. I also add the liver and heart if they came with the bird, diced very fine. I then strain the whole thing, returning the liquid to the pot. I let the carcass cool and then pull off all the meat bits and throw them in the pot. Onions, garlic, carrots, a parsnip, bay leaf and whatever else strikes my fancy, simmer again and then throw in some egg noodles. I turn an $8 chicken into three meals for two people.

  23. Kathy says:


    There are plenty of high end restaurants here that specialize in serving high end beef, I’ve been to many of them. They’re fine, but, IMO, nothing special. Essentially it’s grilled slabs of beef with little in the way of seasoning past salt and pepper, and few if any condiments on the table. When we had something like steak at home, I added lime and Worcestershire to mine (which troubled the dogs a great deal*).

    For slabs of beef, I prefer dishes prepared with some kind of sauce, like pepper steak or just about any beef dish at a Chinese restaurant, stews, or things like burgers, beef patties, and meatballs.

    *Of course I reserved a share for them before adding condiments.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: You’d do well in Korea. In the few restaurants that serve Western style steaks, they always pair them with some sort of sauce. My Korean students thought it strange that I ate steak without a burgundy reduction, hollandaise, or some other sauce on it. And the day that I went to the steakhouse in Daegu, the server thought it strange that I asked for the sauce to be served “on the side” had to check with the manager about it.

    Bulgogi, or bulgalbi would be right up your alley, though.

  25. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Republican former lieutenant Governor of Georgia, Geoff Duncan, buries Donald Trump, ends by saying he has the “moral compass” of an “axe murderer”.

    Did anyone have his comments on their bingo card today?


    ETA, never known an axe murderer, but the murderers I’ve known would have taken umbrage at their morals being put on a par with The Orange One’s.

  26. Jax says:

    @Kathy: One of my favorite cooking discoveries has been how great bearnaise sauce is on steak. And pretty much all vegetables. And most types of potatoes!

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan: @Mr. Prosser:..I’ll always remember what a mechanic friend told me in 1980: “Don’t buy a Japanese car, a four cylinder engine will never reach 80K miles”

    I bought a new 1979 Datsun pick up with a regular cab and an 8ft bed. (King Cab was only available with a 6ft bed at the time.) The odo-meter ran up to 99999.9 and then turned over to 00000.0 I did that twice (I still have the picture I took when I stopped on the side of the road after it turned over 200,000 miles.) and ran it a few thousand more miles for good measure. Traded it in for a new 1985 Nissan regular cab, 8ft bed. (Still couldn’t get an 8ft bed with a King Cab.) I think the odo-meter on the ’85 had enough digits to display 100000.0 Didn’t matter as I traded it for a new 1989 Ford F-150 before the Nissan reached 90000.0
    Not long after I bought the ’85 I was driving southbound on US Route 51 in Illinois about 50 miles north of home and there was my old ’79 Datsun in a used car lot. It must have been Sunday as the lot was closed. (an auto dealer can go to jail for selling a vehicle on Sunday in Illinois) There were two people looking in the driver side window. I had to stop and tell them about the mileage. Don’t know if they ever bought it.

    ETA I think that the 1985 Nissan Truck was built in Tennessee.

  28. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Now I’m wondering whether I should try a Korean restaurant. there must be a few.


    I’ve shied away from French sauces. They seem horribly complicated to make, and too delicate.

    There was a restaurant long ago that offered beef fondue. This consisted of bite-sized pieces of raw beef, a small pot of hot oil on top an alcohol burner, long forks with two barbed twines, and four or six dipping sauces.

    You did have to be careful not to get burned by hot oil splatter, but the results were amazing once you fried the beef and dipped it in a sauce.

    I once made thin, narrow strips of beef topped with a dab of tomato sauce, cheese, and pepperoni slices. they were good, but for some reason I’ve never made them again. I think they don’t keep well for a whole week of meals.

  29. Jax says:

    Question…..so I suppose US taxpayers are required to pay for security for folks such as Mark Meadows? Is it the Secret Service who does that, or does that fall on a different branch of the government? How do we find out how much we’re paying to protect Trump’s co-defendants from the crazies?

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: The steak was good. So good. It was a sirloin and they cut it thicker than I wanted and it was mammoth so I cut it in half. There was a garlic press in our (rented) cabin so I used that to coat the steak in garlic and salt and pepper, than cooked on our tiny propane grill that we bring with us every year as we prefer it to the charcoal ones available here. It has a lid so I controlled the heat by the amount of smoke coming out, flipped it once and let it sit for five minutes. It came out just the amount of done-ness that I wanted (pink in the center). I had it with a spinach/cucumper/feta cheese salad, some angel hair pasta done with garlic, onions, peppers, basil, oregano, and salt, and sautéed in butter, and a class of cheap (but inoffensive – really!) red wine. Looking out over a lake as still as a mirror.

    Heaven on earth.

  31. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: You can’t go wrong with a good sirloin cut and a lake!