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:

    Israel barrels towards fourth election within two years

    Israel appeared on track to tumble into its fourth election cycle within two years after efforts to keep a fractious coalition government intact looked likely to fail ahead of a midnight deadline. Unless the government, beset by infighting and distrust, can pass a budget by the end of Tuesday (10pm GMT), the country’s parliament will automatically dissolve and trigger a snap election in March 2021.
    Benny Gantz, the former head of the opposition who begrudgingly joined Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition in May, has been unable to get the prime minister to agree to a budget. Under their power-sharing deal, Netanyahu serves as prime minister for the first 18 months, after which Gantz would take the leadership role for the remainder of a three-year term.

    Political analysts in Israel have speculated that Netanyahu might want to torpedo the government prematurely rather than hand over power, especially as the 71-year-old leader is engaged in a lengthy corruption trial that he would rather fight as prime minister.

    That was the first thing that popped into my head.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hospitals in California are scrambling to handle an explosion of coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm the state’s emergency care system, with some facilities in hard-hit Los Angeles county even drawing up emergency plans for rationing care.

    As of Sunday, more than 16,840 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 infections, more than double the previous peak reached in July. That number could reach 75,000 by mid-January, according to one state model.
    A document recently circulated among doctors at the four hospitals run by Los Angeles county calls for them to shift strategy: instead of trying everything to save a life, their goal during the crisis is to save as many patients as possible. That means those less likely to survive will not get the same kind of care offered in normal times.

    “Some compromise of standard of care is unavoidable; it is not that an entity, system, or locale chooses to limit resources, it is that the resources are clearly not available to provide care in a regular manner,” the document obtained by the Los Angeles Times reads.

    tbh – rip

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In the United States last week, someone died from COVID-19 every 33 seconds. The disease claimed more than 18,000 lives in the seven days ended Dec. 20, up 6.7% from the prior week to hit another record high, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports.

    Despite pleas by health officials not to travel during the end-year holiday season, 3.2 million people were screened at U.S. airports on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Health officials are worried that a surge in infections from holiday gatherings could overwhelm hospitals, some of which are already at capacity after Thanksgiving celebrations.

  4. Scott says:

    This made me laugh:

    THE PRESIDENT is spending his final days in the White House interested in a campaign to pressure members of Congress to join a futile effort to overturn the 2020 election. At the White House on Monday, his remaining congressional brain trust gathered. In attendance: GOP Reps. MO BROOKS (Ala.), JODY HICE (Ga.), MATT GAETZ (Fla.), LOUIE GOHMERT (Texas), SCOTT PERRY (Pa.), JIM JORDAN (Ohio) and ANDY BIGGS (Ariz.), and Rep.-elect MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (Ga.). RUDY GIULIANI was there, as well.

    POLITICO Playbook: Trump lines up losses

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:
  6. Scott says:

    The military needs to crack down on extremists within the ranks, Pentagon report finds

    The U.S. military has a lot of work to do in countering extremist groups within its ranks, a Defense Department report on diversity found.

    Released on Friday night, the report found the Defense Department does not adequately track service members that have been radicalized by white supremacist groups. It also determined that the Uniform Code of Military Justice needs to be updated to address extremist activities by troops.

    “DoD requires further attention to service member extremist activities to counter the efforts of extremist groups to recruit service members to engage in their violent activities,” the report says. “Proactive steps that will mitigate the factors enabling extremist groups to successfully recruit and radicalize military members are needed.”

    In response to the report’s findings, Acting Defense Secretary Miller has ordered defense officials to submit a report by March 31 to address how to more effectively prohibit hate group activity within the military. The report will include a plan of action with milestones to be completed, followed by a second report by June 30.

    This issue has been bandied about for at least a decade. It tends to get buried. Talking about right wing extremism in the military or police forces is politically incorrect.

  7. Mikey says:

    @Scott: Haha…hard to have a “brain trust” when there isn’t one brain between them.

  8. sam says:
  9. Moosebreath says:


    “hard to have a “brain trust” when there isn’t one brain between them.”

    And not a lot of trust.

  10. Mikey says:

    This WaPo piece is…something else. The situation in the White House is deteriorating rapidly as Trump becomes increasingly unhinged and divorced from reality.

    The following does not inspire any confidence things will improve:

    Trump’s unofficial election advisory council now includes a pardoned felon, adherents of the QAnon conspiracy theory, a White House trade adviser and a Russian agent’s former lover.

    It doesn’t get any better from there.

    Trump assembles a ragtag crew of conspiracy-minded allies in flailing bid to reverse election loss

  11. sam says:

    Brain-dead trust is more like it.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Thailand rescue worker Mana Srivate has performed dozens of resuscitation attempts in his 26 years on the job, but never before on an elephant. Mana was called into action while off duty on a road trip, treating a baby elephant that had been struck by a motorcycle while crossing a road with its wild herd in the eastern province of Chanthaburi.

    In a video that spread on social media in Thailand, Mana is seen giving two-handed compressions to a small elephant lying on its side as colleagues a few metres away treat a dazed and injured motorcycle rider. Afterwards, both the rider and elephant were recovering and neither had serious injuries.

    “It’s my instinct to save lives, but I was worried the whole time because I can hear the mother and other elephants calling for the baby,” Mana said. “I assumed where an elephant heart would be located based on human theory and a video clip I saw online. “When the baby elephant starting to move, I almost cried.”

    The elephant stood up after about 10 minutes and was taken to another location for treatment, before being returned to the scene of the accident in the hope of being reunited with its mother. The elephants soon returned when the mother heard her baby calling out, Mana said.

    Despite having dealt with dozens of road traffic accidents involving humans, Mana said the elephant was the only one of his CPR recipients that had revived.

  13. CSK says:

    Typical Vikings.

  14. sam says:
  15. CSK says:

    Magnum Force, Clint Eastwood, 1973.

  16. CSK says:

    My stomach is heaving.

  17. sam says:
  18. Mikey says:

    @sam: How is it that I knew exactly what this would be?

  19. Kylopod says:

    Over the past several years I have often quoted the classic Onion piece “‘Iraqi Gandhi’ Preaches Slightly Less Violence” (usually as a metaphor for Republicans).

    But now we have this article:

    Saudi authorities have been removing anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist content from the country’s textbooks for the coming school year, a report by the Jerusalem-based Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education has found….

    The report said that many of the books no longer include the prediction of a religious war in which Muslims would annihilate all Jews. Furthermore, the classic anti-Semitic trope saying that “Zionist forces” use nefarious methods to control the world has been dropped.

    “Examining the trendline of our 2002, 2008 and even 2019 reports of the Saudi curriculum, it is clear that these new 2020 textbooks represent an institutional effort to modernize the Kingdom’s curriculum,” said IMPACT-se CEO, Marcus Sheff. “The Saudi authorities have begun a process of rooting out anti-Jewish hate.”

    Attitudes towards Israel are becoming “more balanced and tolerant,” the institute said, giving as an example the removal of an entire chapter that was titled “the Zionist danger,” which delegitimized Israel’s right to exist.

    More generally, the majority of references to jihad have been removed, whereas a decade ago the focus of the curriculum was to prepare students for martyrdom, the group found.

    “This being said, anti-Israel content does still remain in the curriculum,” IMPACT-se noted. Hatred of Jews is still present, including “a decontextualized and ambiguous” story about Jewish “wrongdoers,” who are described as monkeys.

    Despite this progress, the report found that Israel is still not shown on maps of the region, while Zionism is depicted as a racist political movement and in many places, the name “Israel” is replaced with “Zionist enemy.”

    According to the report, “There is clearly still work to be done. However, the changes made thus far show promise for a moderate and tolerant curriculum. Further improvements need to be made. But the overriding impression is of a willingness to engage, to participate in dialogue regarding curriculum content and finally move towards textbook reformation.”

  20. Monala says:

    @Mikey: @sam: that can’t be real!

    I recall a story, I think on NPR’s Planet Money, about two Chinese-American entrepreneurs who started an Annie’s pretzel franchise in China that initially failed miserably. One major reason: Chinese people don’t typically eat food with their hands. So they came up with a different concept: pretzel bites that could be eaten with chopsticks. I think they had written a book about really understanding new markets before diving in.

    The creators of this monstrosity fail all around!

  21. Teve says:

    Swan: Trump Turns on Everyone

    Trump is now attacking Pence, Meadows, Cipollone, Pompeo, and McConnell. 😛

  22. Monala says:

    @Monala: here’s the story: link

  23. Kathy says:


    This would explain his inability to concede: he’s too scared of what he’d do to himself if he were to betray himself.

  24. Mu Yixiao says:


    Chinese people don’t typically eat food with their hands.

    That doesn’t make sense. Chinese eat all sorts of food with their hands–especially bread products (bao zi, jian bing, rou jia mo, etc.)

  25. Kingdaddy says:
  26. sam says:


    Next up: “This country doesn’t deserve me.”

  27. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Scott: The problem with this Scott is that left leaning Service people also participate in groups like BLM. And I can easily see a “fairness” false dichotomy set up where only right wing shitheads are discharged but since no one from BLM, etc was kicked out…now be have to go and find some to boot out.

    I can see this being a cluster. Its going nowhere anyway unless the incoming SecDef picks it back up. Pentagon Action Officers can poop out a POA&M for anything with an hour. Until there is an demand signal for an execution/implementation plan this isnt a serious request

  28. Monala says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I’m just saying what the story said (I posted a link to it in a follow-up comment).

  29. Mu Yixiao says:
  30. CSK says:

    Well, we always knew he’d end up like Captain Ahab, flailing crazily at everyone.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Starting with his own?

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: At least in Shanghai, my recollections is that people ate bao zi and similar foods with chopsticks. Even things like those giant pancake-like Korean breaded pork cutlets were held aloft with chopsticks as people nibbled away.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: As anyone who has ever been involved in a Trump deal can tell you, it always ends with Trump attacking those that brought him to the dance. In the end his allies always fare far worse than his enemies. Quick, name one business leader who has done more than one deal with Trump. Can’t think of one? There’s a reason for that.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Tesla mania vs. economic reality

    Tesla is now more valuable than the combination of the world’s top seven traditional auto makers, despite only delivering half a million cars this year.

    Why it matters: Anyone searching for evidence that the stock market and the real economy are not the same thing, should look no further.

    * Tesla’s frenzied ride in the capital markets culminated on Monday in the company being the largest entrant ever be included in the S&P 500, the main benchmark stock index.

    Tesla’s true believers are not paying for actual performance, but they are betting on Elon Musk as a visionary and the potential upside in the still nascent electric vehicle market.

    * The merits of that investment thesis diverge greatly from the current state of affairs in the automotive industry, and the broader economy.

    Reality check: The overall equity market’s meteoric rise in the face of a U.S. economy that will end 2020 3% smaller than it started the year, is just the latest example of the economic reality decoupling from stocks.


    “Tesla shares are in our view and by virtually every conventional metric not only overvalued, but dramatically so,” wrote Ryan Brinkman, a JPMorgan analyst, in a research note.

    Ya think?

  35. @Kingdaddy: It is just beyond amazing.

    I was talking to two of my sons about the Senate election just the other day and lamented that if the contest had been at all about competence, Doug Jones would have won in a landslide. Alas, partisanship does not take such factors into account.

    Our Senator-elect has no clue about the job he now has–this is why I called him recently perhaps the most trumpian politician post-Trump. He is an amateur (no prior political experience), was propelled to office by celebrity, and he has zero clue (and that is not hyperbole) about the job he now has. Plus he won nomination via a rejection of the old guard in the GOP (to Sessions’ chagrin).

  36. Kingdaddy says:

    As a citizen of Weld County, Colorado, I wish our locality wasn’t fueling both the anti-democratic and anti-vaccination madness simultaneously.

  37. Kingdaddy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: And I would add to your excellent list, “Doesn’t care about his ignorance and incompetence” (the Rick Perry standard of poor stewardship of the public good). If this were a Freaky Friday-ish movie, in which a 13 year old swapped bodies with a US senator, we’d see the main character frantically dog-paddling through meetings, floor speeches, and interviews, keenly aware that he or she has zero competence, and therefore zero reason for being there. The truly Trumpian character understands his or her inability to do the job and just does not care, despite obvious damage done.

  38. Sleeping Dog says:


    This shouldn’t be surprise, 22% of the voters think the soon to be ex prez is the greatest ever. The tesla fanatics are simply a different 22%. Delusional, just a different delusion.

    While it’s not unusual for a young company’s stock to be over valued, that is usually based on they are the first mover in an emerging industry. EV’s are simply a different method within a well established industry. If EV’s take over the market for personal transportation, it is not difficult to imagine that the established players will eat Musk’s lunch.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I don’t think a significant number of the Tesla investors are in the same category as Trumpers. I suspect they are subscribing to the “bigger fool” theory of investment. Purveyors of this strategy merely test the winds to see if there is still a bigger fool willing to buy stock at an even higher price. Basically,they are gambling they will be the second to last one off the train.

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: If I were in China right now, I’d probably be trying one. I (amusingly) remember the 10 and 12 can Spam gift sets that Lotte Department Store used to sell at Christmastime and Seolnal (New Year) while I was in Korea, too.

    Not available in stores most of the year. That makes it a treat! 😛

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “Next up: ‘This country doesn’t deserve me.’”

    He’s probably wrong about that, but I’m willing to agree if it means he’s willing to leave. 😀

  42. Gustopher says:


    If this were a Freaky Friday-ish movie, in which a 13 year old swapped bodies with a US senator, we’d see the main character frantically dog-paddling through meetings, floor speeches, and interviews, keenly aware that he or she has zero competence, and therefore zero reason for being there.

    Did Donald Trump somehow switch minds with Barron? There’s a lot of petulant 13 year old in him. No recognition of being over his head, but a lot of anger that with the power of the presidency he cannot just make things happen and that has to be the fault of everyone else.

  43. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I’ve heard some suggestions that the real value of Tesla is in the Li-ion battery “gigafactories”.
    Apparently Tesla and its partner Panasaonic, Samsung, and LG, are the remaining major non-Chinese players in that field, the Chinese corporations being CATL and BYD.

    Though that might be vulnerable to battery technology change? Dunno.

    Also, a major part of the skills of the current auto majors relates to combustion drivetrains (likewise their retailer vehicle servicing skills). So that’s a big relative loss of edge for them, perhaps.

    I do suspect though that Tesla is going to find the going a lot harder once as the behemoth that is VAG (Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche/Skoda/SEAT) starts to really move.
    Initial reports are that the Porsche Taycan as a proposition is seriously treading on the tail of the Tesla S already, and in some respect betters it.
    And their Mii/Citigo/Up trio are among the best small electric cars available; Tesla doesn’t even have a rival in this sector, with the T-3 being about double the price.

    The established manufactures problem may be the battery issue. So, points to Tesla. But I’d be wary of betting against the Germans (or the French or Japanese for that matter) when they seriously put their minds to something.

    Tesla shares certainly seem overvalued on balance.

  44. gVOR08 says:


    The truly Trumpian character understands his or her inability to do the job and just does not care, despite obvious damage done.

    I don’t think that’s right. Projection and Dunning-Kruger. Trump himself is the poster boy for Dunning Kruger. It has often been apparent that Trump thinks Obama behaved just like he himself does: acting on impulse, seeing the office as simply a way to enrich himself, doing foreign policy on the basis of personal feelings toward other leaders, surrounding himself with sycophants. If the only way you know to operate is on emotion, impulse, and gut feeling, you don’t realize other people may be more analytical.

    Trump and his ilk think they’re eminently qualified. Do you really think Jared and Junior and Ivanka ever set aside their arrogance and think about who they’d be without their families? And any damage done is an unfortunate side effect, the fault of others, Democrats, the deep state, usually the victims, someone who doesn’t understand their brilliance.

  45. Kingdaddy says:

    @gVOR08: My assumption is that they believe they hire the little people to do the real work.

  46. Teve says:



    I worked in the car business several years ago. You couldn’t pay me to buy a Volkswagen or an Audi or any other European car.

    (With the exception of Porsche, but that’s more of a romantic, nostalgic thing, and I’d only consider it if I had seven figures in the bank.)

    I could tell you horror stories.

  47. Teve says:

    10 most reliable models of 2020, according to Consumer Reports:

    Mazda MX-5 Miata
    Toyota Prius Prime
    Toyota Prius
    Lexus GX
    Hyundai Kona
    Mazda CX-3
    Lexus NX
    Toyota 4-Runner
    Mazda CX-9
    Lexus GS

    10 least reliable models of 2020, according to Consumer Reports:

    Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon (same body style, different badging)
    Chevrolet Camaro
    Jeep Wrangler
    Alfa Romeo Giulia
    Volkswagen Atlas
    Volkswagen Tiguan
    Acura MDX
    Tesla Model X
    Chrysler Pacifica
    Chevrolet Traverse

  48. Michael Reynolds says:

    Trump’s personal banker, er, money launderer, just abruptly resigned from Deutsche Bank.

  49. Sleeping Dog says:


    I’ve heard that as well, that it is the battery factories and the energy storage business that sets Tesla’s value. Sometime ago, I read a comment from a professional investor that the car business is actually a drag on value and that it is really a marketing loss leader.

    It seems that Tesla maybe better off just selling power units automotive manufacturers.

  50. Sleeping Dog says:


    You couldn’t pay me to buy a Volkswagen or an Audi or any other European car.

    Yup, if you really want one, lease it. If you insist on owning, dump it before 100,000 miles, as the electrical gremlins begin emerging.

  51. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: That’s basically what I heard from more experienced car people—fine, get a European car, but dump it between 75-100k miles.

    LOL one guy told me, “the best reason to buy a European car is if you hate your bank balance and wish there weren’t so many dang numbers in it.”

  52. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    So has his (and Kushner’s) other banker there, Dominic Scalzi.

    DB opened its internal investigation into Rosemary Vrablic last August. I guess they found something.

  53. Teve says:


    Vice President Mike Pence: “[Democrats] want to make rich people poorer, and poor people more comfortable.”


  54. JohnSF says:

    My father used to be a paint plant/production manager for AustinRover.
    So, horror stories, I heard them.

    I can’t find direct equivalent to Consumer Report; closest would probably be Which? and they’re paywalled.
    Others give overall figures for brands, or break it down into types, rather than “all models”
    But here’s the WhatCar UK new car reliability ratings for 2020
    1 Skoda Citigo
    2 Toyota Aygo
    3 BMW 1 Series diesel
    4 Mini Countryman
    5 BMW X1 petrol
    6 Ford Kuga petrol
    7 Tesla Model 3
    8 Toyota Yaris
    9 BMW 5 Series
    10 Porsche Macan

    And here Warranty Direct top 10(which is for all cars under warranty, not just new ones
    1 Toyota iQ
    2 Mitsubishi Lancer
    3 Vauxhall Agila
    4 Hyundai Getz
    5 Honda Jazz
    6 Hyundai i10
    7 Nissan Almera Tino
    8 Hyundai i20
    9 Citroen C1
    10 Suzuki Alto

    Bottom 10:
    1 Maserati Granturismo
    2 BMW M5
    3 BMW M6
    4 Nissan GT-R
    5 Audi R8
    6 Mercedes-Benz GL
    7 Aston Martin DB9
    8 Bentley Continental GT
    9 Mercedes-Benz R-Class
    10 Citroen C6

    Personally, I’d never buy a new car.
    Buy low-mileage “nearly new” second hand, and let the first owner eat the worst of the depreciation, and discover any massive faults.

    In this category I’d think about a VW if the price was right.
    I’d very definitely consider a Skoda; who are a VAG operation, but with a much better reliability reputation than the the other units.

  55. Kathy says:

    The strangest thing just happened. I looked up “paper tiger,” and a Steelers logo came up 😉

    Seriously, losing against the Bengals playing without their first draft pick starting QB, is not what a top seed team does.

    But that’s ok. other years I’d be upset or angry “my” team is losing to, literally, no-name teams. Not this year. this year the winning team were Biden and Harris, and that’s a done deal.

  56. Monala says:

    Seen today on Twitter:


    Mike Pence unironically bashing [Mary’s] Magnificat during Christmas season

    (Pence today said Democrats want to make rich people poorer and make poor people more comfortable. Kinda like Mary prayed in Luke chapter 1 that God would use the Messiah she was carrying to do.)

  57. Mu Yixiao says:


    At least in Shanghai, my recollections is that people ate bao zi and similar foods with chopsticks

    In six years in China, I never saw anyone eating bao zi (or man tou) with chopsticks. I don’t know how you’d eat jianbing with chopsticks (it certainly never happened–neither shandong or lao beijing style).

    Meat? Certainly. Buddy Ji Pai came with a skewer rather than chopsticks, but the idea is the same. But bread products? Never.

  58. Teve says:

    LOL Trump said he didn’t necessarily want to sign the Covid relief bill because it should have been $2000 instead of $600.

    So AOC and Rashida Tlaib wrote an amendment replacing $600 with $2000 and they want a vote.

  59. Jax says:

    @Teve: I think that’s a MONTHLY $2,000, too!!! I hope Moscow Mitch has severe heartburn tonight.

  60. Kathy says:


    Imagine if he had proposed something like that in October, or at least promised to.


    Will someone please think of the poor billionaires? They’re having to make do with more money.

  61. Kylopod says:


    Imagine if he had proposed something like that in October, or at least promised to.

    This occurred to me, and I think it points to the fact that his behavior is primarily reactive. He’s not seriously trying to propose this plan, he’s just trying to stake out territory to differentiate himself from the bill he invariably will sign (which is just what he did in 2018 toward the omnibus budget bill). He’s trying to have it both ways, take credit for the bill while also blaming others for any shortcomings it may have.

  62. Teve says:

    The amendment is tiny, I counted 89 words, and I didn’t see anything about monthly, but I really don’t have my hopes up that Republicans will abide it.

  63. Kathy says:


    Yeah, more than a populist he’s a panderer.

  64. Jax says:

    @Teve: There’s no way Mitch will let it pass. If he even considers it, there will be non-negotiable “strings” attached, cuts elsewhere that Dems will not be able to abide by. And poor widdle Rand Paul’s head might explode at more “free money”, that would be messy.

  65. Teve says:

    Birx says she’s retiring at the end of Trump’s term.