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. Kathy says:

    PSA: Mike Duncan’s latest book, Hero of Two Worlds, is out today. I’m downloading the audio book right now. it’s a biography of Lafayette.

  2. sam says:
  3. sam says:
  4. Mister Bluster says:

    Talkin’ ’bout my generation
    On this day in 1967:
    Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, drives his Lincoln Continental (not a Rolls Royce, as is often thought), into the swimming pool at the Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan, to celebrate his 21st birthday, earning the entire band a lifetime ban from the chain.

    I was born in 1948. I’m still waiting to die before I get old…

  5. Teve says:

    The US military may soon declassify a secret space weapon

    Marjorie Taylor Greene was right! Son-of-a-biscuit!

  6. Mu Yixiao says:

    Rodrigo Duterte–barred from running again as President–is “making a sacrifice for his people” and running as Vice President in the next election.

  7. @Mu Yixiao: I’m sure that will end well.

  8. Kathy says:

    JetBlue has begun transatlantic flights from NYC to London. They use an A321LR (Long Range), configured much like their domestic transcontinental flights, but with a new Mint (business) class configuration.

    On the reverse direction, two new European airlines aim to offer low cost transatlantic services. One is Norse, composed of Norwegian’s old business model and some former executives, and the other is Iceland’s Play, which borrows the Wow Air model minus the dense widebodies.

    As an illustration of odd airline connections, Play’s 3 A321neos were formerly flown by the late Interjet. I wonder if they kept the original 32″ pitch configuration, or have densified them to ultra-low cost standards.

  9. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao: @Mu Yixiao:

    The presidential candidate has a marvelous name: Christopher “Bong” Go. I could do wonders with that one.

  10. Stormy Dragon says:

    Police in Colorado recover a stolen license plate. Head of the local FOP union takes the plate out of evidence and puts it on his “undercover take home” pickup truck* and racks up $1600 in unpaid tolls. Now Colorado won’t let the real owner register a new car until she pays the tolls:

    Police leave disabled Colorado woman with nearly $1,600 toll bill after using her stolen license plate

    * – If the truck is supposed to be undercover, why would you let a police officer take it to their house and risk it being identified as a police vehicle? This seems more like a bullshit way to get a free personal car at taxpayer expense then a legitimate police operation.

  11. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Well, at least Sgt. Schultz didn’t say he knows nothing. Guy sounds like a sleaze.

    The city should pay the tab, and then extract the money from Schultz’s paycheck.

  12. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Charlie Watts dead at 80.

  13. Long Time Listener says:

    @Kathy: this is an interesting move by JetBlue, to try to grab passengers from the Big Three (American/United/Continental), at the slightly-reduced fare price point. If JFK-LHR works, then they can try to do the same from Boston. I must say, though: the ‘economy’-class seat configuration on the 320LR looks claustrophobic for a flight like that (3×3). My local airstrip is IAD, so I have no desire to attempt an Atlantic crossing (especially against the jetstream) on anything smaller than an A350/B777/B787.

    I wonder how the Big Three will respond.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Long Time Listener:

    I think there are already plans for Boston.

    One issue for now is slots. Heathrow is slot-restricted, and JetBlue had a hard time obtaining any. This limits how many daily flights they can run, and the competition the big 3, plus BA and Virgin, have to put up with.

    Another issue, as you note, is the size of the plane. Even if/when they manage to obtain more slots, JetBlue is still limited in capacity per flight.

    So, we’ll see.

  15. Teve says:
  16. CSK says:

    If Trump’s getting booed for suggesting that people might want to get vaxxed, nothing will persuade them.

  17. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Long Time Listener:

    Once again, as much as consumers complain about how horrible the experience of flying is, their purchasing keeps demonstrating that all they care about is lowering the cost and will endure almost any hardship to save a couple bucks.

  18. Mu Yixiao says:

    NPR had an interview with Faucci yesterday, and an interesting statistic was mentioned.

    In a recent survey (Gallup?) ~30% of the unvaccinated said that the full FDA approval would “move the needle”* toward getting vaccinated. That’s 30M people. Perhaps the “hesitant” (not the anti-vax) are starting to come around.

    *Sorry. Couldn’t resist. 🙂

  19. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    In a recent survey (Gallup?) ~30% of the unvaccinated said that the full FDA approval would “move the needle”* toward getting vaccinated.

    I’ll believe it when I see it. “Not FDA-approved” has been one of the talking points of the anti-vax movement up this point. I believe it’s a rationalization, not a motivation. They’ll quickly shift the goalposts now.

  20. CSK says:

    The giant yellow rubber ducky has vanished from the Belfast, Maine harbor as mysteriously as it appeared two weeks ago.

  21. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Alex Jones called Trump a “dumbass” for making this suggestion.

  22. Teve says:

    @CSK: i saw that clip. There was some booing, but some breathless news coverage i had seen had me thinking he was virtually shouted down. Instead it was some boos, some people just being quiet.

    I wish I knew what percentage of the unvaxxed are legit those who will fight to the death about it versus how many are hesitant but if it inconveniences them they’ll go ahead and do it.

  23. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: that’s true and also we have tools that reinforce that. I was curious about how much a first class seat JAX to Rome, Italy differed from economy class and I was on Orbitz or one of those and I couldn’t even figure out how to *see* prices for anything other than economy.

  24. CSK says:

    I wonder how much weight Jones’s word carries with Trump? Or with the MAGAs?
    Me, too. The way the news reports had it, the crowd was was practically hurling rotten tomatoes at Trump. Pity they didn’t.

    It’s hard to say who’ll end up eventually getting vaxxed. The whole thing really has become a matter of “anything a lib tells me to do, I’ll do the opposite.”

  25. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Kathy: I’ll have to check it out. Ironically, Lafayette’s legacy is more unblemished in the U.S. than in France – largely as a result of hostilities from the French Revolution.

  26. Kylopod says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Just to clarify: I think it’s possible that the FDA approval will push at least a few people toward getting the vaccine. I’m just skeptical about it, and I’ll be very surprised if if it makes anywhere near as big an impact as that poll suggests.

    I keep thinking back to 2011 when Obama finally released his long-form birth certificate after years of right-wingers screaming about it. I remember there were polls soon afterward that seemed to suggest the amount of people questioning Obama’s birthplace dramatically dropped following the bc’s release. But in the ensuing years, this didn’t really hold up. It’s true that a lot of right-wingers in the public sphere (including Trump) moved on from birtherism to other things, but I don’t think the apparent drop in birther beliefs among the populace was sustained–ultimately, if you look at the polls over time, birther beliefs in the populace were pretty much the same as before. It was like the bc’s release created a temporary shock in the movement, just long enough for them to get their bearings. This is because the cries of “Release the birth certificate!” were always a smokescreen; it was the birther version of “just asking questions.” Once Obama did release it, they were bound to find new reasons to clutch onto their beliefs. I suspect the same is true of “The vaccine is not FDA-approved!”

  27. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Avenatti case declared a mistrial.

  28. Mu Yixiao says:


    Just to clarify: I think it’s possible that the FDA approval will push at least a few people toward getting the vaccine. I’m just skeptical about it, and I’ll be very surprised if if it makes anywhere near as big an impact as that poll suggests.

    And some clarification on my end: The poll didn’t say 30% would now get the vaccine. Just that it would make them more willing to. The way I see it, it’s one more nudge in the right direction. Combine it with incentives, “punishments”, high death rates, etc., and it starts getting the job done.

  29. Kathy says:


    IMO the main difference is the US had one revolution* that worked out reasonably well**, while France had several which didn’t work out that well. And that was before the 1830 and 1848 revolutions.

    *I think of it as a war of independence rather than a revolution.
    **For the dominant minority.

  30. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I wonder how much the dislike of plane travel is due to ground side inconveniences, like getting to the airport, waiting hours there, lines at the security checkpoint, tight connections*, delays, etc., and how much to the actual flight experience.

    *I have very rarely done connections. That’s the advantage of living in a city that’s a hub to two of the three major airlines. Pretty much all their destinations are available direct from Mexico City.

  31. JohnMcC says:

    @CSK: You know, there was a similarly mysterious monolith that briefly made an appearance then disappearance in the Utah desert no so long ago.

    Hmmmmm….. About the UFO report….

  32. Kathy says:


    Personally, I’m not interested in monoliths unless they’re orbiting Jupiter (or was it Saturn?)

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    I can’t get no satisfaction.
    Well a little more today than yesterday.
    The Panera dining room is open til 4pm today. That’s two hours more than yesterday. For the week before that ending on Sunday two days ago the dining room was not open at all. That means if I want to use my Coffee Club Card, all the coffee I can drink for $10.05 every 30 days, I have to go to the Drive Thru window and then sit in the parking lot in my car to use the internet connection. It’s either too hot or too wet to sit on the patio lately.
    Maybe things are looking better for staffing here at the Panera. I am sitting at a table right next to the entrance. A gal came in about 30 minutes ago and reported to me that she was here for a 2:30 interview. She was a little embarrassed when I told her that I don’t work here but not overly so. She didn’t fall all over herself apologising for the error. On that alone I would have hired her on the spot. Of course my interest in seeing her get the job is that maybe this place will stay open regular hours and I can get the full value of my Coffee Club membership. I couldn’t help but hear the boss interview her as they were sitting close by and his voice carries especially when there aren’t alot of people in the shop. I don’t like to interfere with the help here when they are conducting business so I resisted the urge to give her a high five when I heard him say. “I’m going to offer you a job.”
    If I sit here long enough they might hire enough staff to run this place proper. Somehow I get the idea that time is on my side.

    Hey keef! That looks like your grandma jumping up and down in the crowd!

  34. dazedandconfused says:

    The FAAs recent decision to no-fly the people who are causing cabin disturbances prompted a thought. I am against no-fly. It’s too important to the careers of too many people. However, there is no need for them to be banned from flying, only from the passenger cabin. The baggage compartment is pressurized, dogs in crates fly down there all the time.

    To first, business, premium economy and economy I say we add a new ticket class: Animal.

  35. Teve says:

    Unexpected bit of happiness today: I found stacks of copies of pro-DeSantis antivaxxer screeds left at all the sinks in the Panera bathroom and soaked them in water and threw them in the trash.

    It was great. I read the first sentence “Governor DeSantis, the communist Media Is TRYING to take away Our CONSTITUTIONAL right as AMERICANS…” (Teve starts running water and humming a ditty ‘doot da do, doot doot doot a-chu…)’

  36. Teve says:

    @Teve: it was a minor unfortunance (?) that I’d already peed.

  37. Long Time Listener says:

    @Teve: that’s Orbitz (and the other sites)’s favorite trick. They don’t want to show you the full monty. They’ll sell you the economy seat; and then either they or the airline will come at you a few weeks later, and offer you an upgrade…for an additional fee.

    @Kathy: I avoid connections, in order to reduce the opportunities for ground staff to lose my luggage; and I don’t like running through airports like OJ (minus the double-murder stuff) in a Hertz commercial….

  38. Stormy Dragon says:


    I don’t even mean things like business vs. economy. I mean like if an airline took two rows out of an A321, they could give the entire plane premium economy seating with a price increase of like $12, but that would be enough for people to switch to another airline because for all they complain about the seats being too small, most of them won’t pay $12 for a better one.

  39. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I wonder about the total money spent on air travel per person these days, given the ancillary fees for bags, seats, food and drink onboard, and in some cases carry-on bags or even getting a boarding pass printed at the airline’s counter.

  40. de stijl says:

    I was playing a game and glanced down and noticed two prominent lesions on my forearm.

    Is that cancer?! Am I dying?!

    Turns out it was tomato sauce.

  41. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..all the sinks in the Panera bathroom

    Sinks! plural? Must be a good size restaurant. The restroom in the Panera I frequent when it is open has one sink right next to one urnial and a decent size stall to accommodate a wheelchair patron and an attendant, a throne and a baby changing table that opens down from the wall. The usual literature I find there is the standard religious tract. “Where will you spend eternity?”
    I always carry one of those four color pens so I can write FAKE NEWS in big red letters on each page of the offensive material and prop it up by the diaper duty station for all to see.

  42. CSK says:

    Someone once wrote that if you die And go to hell, you still have to change planes in Atlanta.

  43. Kathy says:

    Rudy, one of trump’s very fine people, can’t reach bottom.

  44. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Thank freakin God! I’ve been on a musical odyssey and WHERE WERE YOU?! I subscribed to Spotify and they think I’m weird. I mean, we knew that. 😛

    Latest earworm. I really admire his ability to rhyme “inconclusive autopsy” in time.


  45. Jax says:

    Karma visited my county last week. Or maybe it was God, I don’t know. Since my daughter/son came out as trans last year, there’s been one particular child who bullied. Family was anti-vax, anti-mask, anti-lockdown, and very vocal about it, to the point where they called me to tell me what a libtard we were for getting vaccinated. The father died of COVID last week, he’s our 10th death.

    The family “doesn’t want anyone to know it was COVID”, though. (Eyeroll)

  46. keef says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    My grandmother is dead. But thanks for beclowning yourself.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Nah, that was just as well. It’s messy to pick them up out of the urinal, and you can’t flush them because they’ll make a clog. We need to remember our good citizenship–especially when the other side doesn’t have any.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Long Time Listener: When I use Travelocity (which is my go to), I just select first class in the box for that choice. I don’t do it often, the last time I looked, a first class seat was 5 or 6 times what I pay. More on some flights. That makes it more that it’s worth in my value system. The mileage of others etc., etc.

  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: Don’t normally do country-type sounds, but that was pretty clever. Reminded me that Jerry Lee’s other cousin (the one he didn’t marry) is Jimmy Swaggart. He’s the Assemblies of God pastor who had some problems involving visiting prostitutes a while back. (I always want to pronounce his last name “Swagger” for some reason. 😐 ) I wonder if ol’ Jerry Lee’s life would have been different if he’d followed cousin Jimmy’s lead? Would Jimmy’s have been different if he’d decided to follow his cousin in seeking out the dim lights of the honky tonk scene instead of the bright lights of television preacherdom? The world will never know. I’ve heard both play. Hard to tell apart–stylistically or visually.

  50. Mister Bluster says:


    You dimwit. That film was made almost 60 years ago. She wasn’t even your grandma yet.

  51. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Ohhhh, Cracker, that’s why this is FUN!! I don’t do “Country”, either, as far as music. Best I can tell, I need banjo.

    Now….I think you and Luddite might like this….it’s the Pine Box Boys, and they really had my heart with the Tardy Hearse. I literally had to slow my tractor down a little and just LISTEN…..


  52. Jax says:

    Now, who likes “storyteller” songs? I’ve always been a fan of Gordon Lightfoot. I hear from my biological mother she used to have him on repeat while I was in utero.

    I like this one. It’s not Gordon, but it’s Canadian.


    Heave! Ho! Heave Ho!

  53. flat earth luddite says:

    Oh, yeah, thanks Jax! Warped, sick, twisted, and perverse… of course I love it!

  54. Jax says:

    @flat earth luddite: They’ve got some other “most excellent” songs should you choose to delve deeper. 😛 This one made me laugh, though. I hear my “music tastes” are somewhat “goth-country”.

    So if they’re really gonna sing about their dog or girlfriend or their truck dying, I basically need some details. And they need to have a banjo.

  55. Jax says:

    @flat earth luddite: I did say “musical odyssey”, correct? 😛


  56. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    Turns out it was tomato sauce.

    I hope your tomato sauce is cancer free.