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. Bill Jempty says:
  2. Bill Jempty says:

    I’ll drink to that The headline of the day-

    23-year-old woman arrested over 65 stolen Stanley drinking cups

  3. MarkedMan says:

    Trump is fine just fine no dementia here

  4. Scott says:

    I normally don’t pay attention what goes on in other states but just read about the debate amongst Senate candidates in California: Who won, who lost and who went untouched in our California Senate debate

    Steve Garvey? I haven’t thought about him in years. Good baseball player. Telegenic, etc. But isn’t he the guy who got two women (both not his wife) pregnant at the same time?

    I guess that makes him Senate material.

  5. Tony W says:

    @MarkedMan: This needs to be the major news story of the next year.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: link is broken

  7. Scott says:
  8. Scott says:

    Just so we don’t forget these are real people:

    Navy IDs two SEALs who died during sea mission off Somalia

    The Navy identified Monday the two Navy SEALs who died after they went missing during a Iranian weapons seizure mission this month.

    Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers and Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan G. Ingram were both part of a mission to board an “illicit dhow carrying Iranian advanced conventional weapons” on Jan. 11 when they went missing off Somalia, according to U.S. Central Command.

    Chambers, originally from Maryland, enlisted in 2012 and graduated from SEAL qualification training in Coronado, Calif., in 2014.

    Gage, originally from Texas, enlisted in 2019 and graduated from the same SEAL training in 2021. They both were assigned to West Coast-based SEAL units.

    BTW, their bodies were not found.

  9. DrDaveT says:

    I stumbled on a weird stat the other day. The IIHC publishes traffic crash statistics state by state, including per-mile rates. I was expecting the most dangerous states, in terms of fatalities per mile driven, to be either places like Idaho and Montana, or very urban places like DC and Rhode Island.

    I was totally wrong. The deep south (with the exception of Alabama) dominates the stats, with South Carolina posting a fatality rate 2.5 times that of the safest state (Rhode Island). Mississippi, Arkansas, and Florida are also in the top few, with Tennessee not far behind and Louisiana well above average. It really does invite speculation about the mechanisms.

  10. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @DrDaveT: I hardly find it surprising that my home state has the highest highway fatality rate in the country. Even with my eyes closed, I can tell when we cross the line into either Georgia or North Carolina by the change in the state of the roads.

  11. Kathy says:


    Offhand I see way too many variables. Road design, traffic regulations, enforcement of same, driver culture, general culture, cell phone usage, roadside distractions, vehicle sizes, commercial traffic, daylight hours, nighttime illumination, just to name a few.

  12. JohnMc says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: Ain’t it amazing how many ways the mason-dixon line shows up?

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: I can think of two reasons (only speculation): First, is the fact that there is anti-science, anti-reality bent in these states, and the progress we have made in the past couple of decades have, to some extend, defied “common sense”. Traffic circles, narrowing of lanes, etc.

    Second, though, is my hobby horse. There are basically two governmental philosophies. One is that government is about advancing and improving the public interest. The other, prevalent inside the Deep South, is that the primary function of government is protecting the powerful, and a common function of government officials at every level is to distract the general populace by setting groups against each other. Under this view, there is no incentive to reduce traffic fatalities as doing so doesn’t advance a legitimate governmental function.

  14. DrDaveT says:

    @JohnMc: For anyone who cares, the traffic fatality stats are reported here.

  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    It strikes me that snowy states do better than average.* Which is odd. Also, Nevada did better than I expected. Yesterday saw a guy run two red lights. I don’t mean that he was racing a yellow – which is epidemic here in Vegas – he had come to a complete stop at each red light, then figured, ‘fuck it’ and drove right through.

    *I am not a statistician, he says, with comic understatement.

  16. EddieInCA says:


    Trump Slurs His Way Through Chunk of Speech — Biden Team Pounces

    Another day, another Trump inconprehensible word-salad.

    Yet, crickets on too many media sites. Good for the Biden team to trumpet it. (no pun intended)

  17. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I thought traffic lights follow the Starman rule. Red means stop. Green means go. Yellow means go very fast.

  18. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan: @Tony W: @EddieInCA:

    Trump also said that if he loses this coming November, it will be because the election was rigged.

  19. EddieInCA says:

    Trump Rants About His ‘POLE NUMBERS’ — Posts Bizarre SIX-FINGERED Pic Of Himself Praying In Truth Social Spree

    Children shouldn’t play with AI generated photos. Apparently, neither should Trump.

  20. gVOR10 says:

    @EddieInCA: You’re just finding fault. There are obvious explanations. He just meant he’s doing well with the Polish ancestry demographic. And it’s just that they told the AI, don’t show his tiny hands, make them bigger.

    The man does seem to be both on his way to cinching the nomination and visibly losing his mental competence.

  21. Scott says:

    @EddieInCA: Surely six fingers is a sign of Satan.

  22. DK says:

    Congratulations to Tara VanDerveer, who became college basketball’s “all-time winnigest coach” this week. 1,203 wins is an astronomical number, along with 3 national championships, 15 conference titles, 14 Final Four appearances, and 5 Coach of the Year awards.

    What people often do not know is that recruiting to Ivies and pseudo-Ivies like Stanford is made more difficult by the need to recruit student-athletes who can actually pass academic muster. They really can’t recruit just anyone. So to put up these numbers at a school like Stanford is impressive.

    Tara’s recruitment of my sister to Stanford, just after another started attenting another college on a basketball scholarship, was the culmination of my dad’s hoop dreams, a key moment in my family’s upward mobility — from my parents’ birth in Jim Crow Georgia to their current Boomer wealth. My attending USC on an academic fellowship from Warner Brothers was an indirect, downstream effect of my family’s Stanford connection, as I’m 12 years younger than my next-oldest sibling (mistake baby!).

    Suffice it to say Coach VanDerveer is a secular saint in my parents’ household.

  23. Kurtz says:


    Did the statistics distinguish between fatalities at the crash site/en route to hospital vs. post arrival at the hospital?

    In addition to variables mentioned by other replies, one potentially salient detail would be proximity to a trauma center.

    I’ve seen analyses that one of the strongest predictors of GSW survival is proximity/travel time to a trauma center. This affects both rural areas with few or no trauma centers and dense urban areas with several within the metro area.

    In the latter, the hospitals equipped to effectively treat situations where the difference between survival and death can be measured in minutes are clustered in wealthier neighborhoods.

    It seems that may apply to car crashes as well.

  24. Kathy says:


    Are pole numbers what he has his entourage spend at the strip club?

  25. Beth says:


    My grandpa had dementia. From about 6am-ish till about 1-2ish he was great. From 1-2-ish till about 6 pm he was sorta ok. After 6 it was an absolute crap shoot. One time he was back in the navy and I was his commanding officer (a bit of luck considering I had to have him taken to the hospital). He was retired and had virtually no stress.

    Based on that experience, I’m wondering what is going to happen when Trump gets on TV during primetime and he’s “back in the navy”. I don’t know if Trump has dementia, some other medical problem, or what. I am certain he’s old, in bad shape, and under a tremendous amount of stress. I think it’s going to be all around bad.

  26. DrDaveT says:


    In addition to variables mentioned by other replies, one potentially salient detail would be proximity to a trauma center.

    Great point. On the other hand, Wyoming does quite well…

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    Whether it’s Alzheimers or just old age, one thing is for sure: stress, like, say, lying in bed at night fearing impoverishment and prison is not good for you.

  28. Arnold Stang says:

    Imagine what the debates will be like. Biden had better start practicing his deadpan looks for when Trump starts babbling. He won’t have to say a thing, just point.

  29. CSK says:

    @Arnold Stang:

    And the MAGAs will say that Trump blew Biden away.

  30. Mister Bluster says:

    I’m in the local Panera grooving to Message in a Bottle.
    “The Police are in the building.” I say to the cashier.
    She looks around…
    “It’s the band playing over the speakers.”
    She just shakes her head.
    Gets them every time.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: Or that he puts his hands together without his fingertips touching because he lacks practice at praying.

    ETA: Though I hear occasionally that he’s a good prey-er. Lots of people have said that.
    (Well, maybe only adequate, not GOOD per se…)

  32. EddieInCA says:
  33. CSK says:


    These three pieces are so heartwarming.

  34. Jen says:

    Charles Osgood has died, age 91.

  35. charontwo says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Whether it’s Alzheimers or just old age,

    People keep saying “Alzheimers.” Alzheimers is most common, but there are several other senile dementia diseases, which present significantly differently.

    IMO senile dementia, but not Alzheimers.

  36. MarkedMan says:

    The Times’ John McWhorter has a piece up about the two meanings of the word “plagiarism” and how they cause confusion to non-academics. The first is one that everyone can agree on: stealing another’s work and presenting it as one’s own. The second is of interest only to academics and I would describe it as: failure to perform a meaningless ritual when copying boilerplate sentences. Here’s an example

    I find this passage at the start of one of the chapters: “In recent years researchers in artificial intelligence have unveiled systems that seem to ‘write’ without any human involvement. The best of these churn out remarkably convincing prose.”

    This is a simple statement of fact, provided as background for the meat of the chapter. It’s not a notable idea, and it’s not written with meaningful style. But if that sentence were to appear in a book of mine, even decades later, precisely as written or with just a couple of words changed, I’d be guilty of plagiarism. However, I’d be fine if I just reworded the thought minimally as: “Artificial intelligence researchers have recently developed algorithms that seem to ‘write’ by themselves, with the most advanced of them easily generating text that is uncannily similar to what a human would write.”

    Any doubt that this a meaningless exercise to all but academics is dispelled later on when he points out

    because of course one is not supposed to “plagiarize” even one’s own work.

    Only an academic would get worked up about “plagiarizing” your own work. To everyone else it’s ridiculous.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Of course, I would say that “The best of these churn out remarkably convincing prosed” is a matter of opinion rather than a “statement of fact,” but other than that point, a fair amount of what your citation refers to is only of interest to academe and, to some degree, represents hoops that people who want to rise to the top of that particular food chain must jump through. I suspect that I would find similar systems in most “professions.”

    The objection about plagiarizing oneself has to do with double dipping. Think of it as a variation on getting a commission from the company you work for and a portion of the profits from the company you sold to. (Again,) At the top of the academic food chain (and even in lower levels, TBH) we want people to be producing new research, ideas, methods, scholarship rather than selling the same essay to 14 different academic journals* to stay “published.”

    In my career as a teacher, I had “one trick to last a lifetime,” but I worked for several different schools (I think ~ 14 all together), so I was more in the “all a pony needs” category.

    *I encountered an example of this in a situation where I was doing research along with my students in one summerr-session research writing class I taught. I encountered the same article about pulp fiction with very minor changes from version to version all submitted by the same author to about 8 (IIRC) different teaching journals and popular magazines. I don’t know if he was ever found out or not. He was a high school teacher someplace, so I suspect no one ever even checked.

  38. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I encountered the same article about pulp fiction with very minor changes from version to version all submitted by the same author to about 8 (IIRC) different teaching journals and popular magazines.

    I guess I have trouble seeing the harm in it, and why simply rephrasing mitigates the harm.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I suspect that I would find similar systems in most “professions.”

    FWIW, reusing code, circuit or mechanical design is considered a good thing,as long as there is no IP issue. Accusing someone of “Not Invented Here” syndrome is a pretty big insult. I know for a fact that there are code snippets in your smartphone originally written in the 70’s. Rewriting them would be hubris, and foolish.

  40. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I don’t know about legal writing for journals, but I massively reuse sections of motions I’ve previously written. If the case law is still good, is applicable, I’m copy/pasting the hell out of myself. No one wants to pay me for an hour and a half to write a wholly new extension motion when I can bang it out in 10 minutes and charge for that.

  41. senyordave says:

    @MarkedMan: John Fogerty of Credence was sued for plagiarizing one of his own songs. That seems more ridiculous, because how can John Fogerty not sound at least somewhat like John Fogerty?


  42. Kathy says:


    That’s a bit misleading. The piece doesn’t say it explicitly, but it seems to me the suit involved copyright infringement. Fogerty had no rights to the song he allegedly borrowed from.

    And the bit in the lede that it went to the Supreme Court is fully misleading. Fogerty won the suit, but appealed the ruling that he wasn’t entitled to recover legal fees from the plaintiff. That’s what went all the way to the SCOTUS, not the copyright matter.

  43. steve says:

    Nice McWhorter piece. Of course I like it as i have made that case. I would just take it a bit beyond and say that for technical/scientific/medical writing it should also be OK if we let AI do a lot fo the work. It would make researchers more productive and it would make papers more readable.


  44. Kathy says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about potato soup lately. It’s odd, because I don’t like it that much. I ran across recipes for it using the instant pot, too, but that’s hardly necessary. Potatoes cook well enough on the stove in a reasonable time.

    Besides, I want to see if I can fix the mistakes I made with the slow cooked goulash.

    Of course, this takes up all day for the multi pot, so anything else I cook has to be on the stove or in the oven. Or the next day. I make rice to pair with the goulash. So maybe Sunday I can try to air fryer fries, as lots of people have been telling me I should.

    Meantime, I’m working on how to incorporate cocktail wieners and potatoes in air fryer chicken. Both get a pleasant flavor when cooked under a chicken breast in the oven, but this is because they cook partly in the juices rendered off the chicken. The air fryer isn’t built for that. The trick is implementing a solution that does not obstruct the airflow on the bottom of the pot.

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: My understanding is that it doesn’t always mitigate the harm depending on what protocols need to be followed. In the last text I used for instruction of student researchers and writers, there were 3 protocols suggested and “simply rephrasing” would not have mitigated the harm in two off them. (And I don’t think McWhorter’s example in the passage you cited would represent a “simple” rephrasing, BTW.)

    My style, which got me through an MA program just fine but probably would have run aground in a PhD study, was to avoid paraphrasing. I used quotations pretty extensively in my thesis, but I also engaged in pretty lengthy and detailed explanations of what the sources were and why what they said was important. Then again, I was mostly doing literature and rhetorical study in my program, so I suspect that I may have been given more latitude because I usually wrote killer essays. 😉

    ETA: I’d be inclined to agree on the harm issue except that in the case I cited discovering that every citation of this guy was the same essay corrupted his value as an “expert” on the subject. Then again, pulp fiction is a pretty arcane subject.

  46. Kathy says:


    I did that with homework in the early days of the PC revolution*. I outright reprinted papers written a year or two earlier, too. Why not? I’d already done the work involved.

    Less technical, I used the notes I took in junior high school history class to write papers in high school. My old teacher was that good and thorough. I pretty much slept through WWI, the interwar period, and WWII in the equivalent of World History 102, and wrote two papers, homework, and studied for the exams with my old notes. I got very good grades, too.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: In other fields, there is always an IP issue.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: A friend bought me a new convection oven for Christmas with an air fryer basket. I can’t speak for french fries as I don’t like ovenable fries very much, but it is great for doing tater tots and hash brown cakes similar to the ones McDonalds sells. If you like the results with french fries, let us know.

  49. Slugger says:

    @senyordave: I heard an interview with John where he described taking the defense stand this case and playing the new licks to the jury. I heard him with CCR in1969 and on his own in 2008; he was fabulous. I was struck at the second hearing by his energy and ability to play things like “Proud Mary” like he had just written them. I wish I had been on that jury. I’d have made him play every song he ever knew.
    Yes, I know someone who worked as a waiter at Mammoth ski area before CCR was big who said that John was irritable. I still think he was great.

  50. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I make oven fries from time to time. I gather than air fryer ones are crispier, more like deep-fried fries, than oven fries, but with the far smaller amount of oil. I can believe it, given how crisp the skin on the chicken thighs came out.

    I thought of making potato slices, actually, and seasoning them with a mix of black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika (a bit redundant given the goulash…). Or maybe lots of slices in batches, adn then put them in the oven layered with cheese and cream and onions (fries au gratin?)

    I’ve a few days to make something up.

  51. DrDaveT says:


    Good baseball player.

    Not really. Bill James knew that back in the day, but modern analytics have confirmed it. Garvey’s combination of good batting average (but poor power and patience) and low error rate (but poor range) have not aged well. He was overrated then, and nobody today gives him a second thought.