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:

    ‘Exhausted and underpaid’: teachers across the US are leaving their jobs in record numbers

    Teachers around the United States are quitting or retiring early as schools have reopened for the new academic year and Covid-19 cases among children have surged in recent weeks in the face of some states banning mask mandates.

    There have been more than 200,000 reported weekly cases among children in the past five consecutive weeks, with most cases spreading in areas with no school mask mandates in place and low vaccination rates, as vaccines for children under age 12 are still pending federal approval.

    Several schools and school districts have periodically been forced to close in-person learning because of Covid exposure or high infection rates, leaving teachers struggling to continue their lessons through the disruptions.

    A shortage of teachers in the US was already a growing problem before the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in high poverty schools. The shortage has worsened during the pandemic. Some schools have closed when too many teaching positions could not be filled, while others grapple with higher than normal teacher vacancies, leaving remaining teachers overworked.
    After 19 years, Leigh Hart resigned from her elementary school teaching job in Maryland before the start of this school year, citing aggressive parents during the pandemic and insurmountable workloads.

    “At some point the realization hits you that you’re giving way more than you’ll ever get back,” said Hart. “I love the kids. I love the challenge and the realization that you actually can make a difference. But it’s truly disheartening to know how little you’re valued.”

  2. JohnMcC says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thought I’d mention that according to the lovely picture on my BING opening page, today is World Teacher’s Day. This holiday was created by the U.N. back in ’94, it says.

    And a brief thought to the large percentage of workers who have gained media attention by their shortages: Healthcare workers in general, teachers…. Work-choices that impact the public directly instead of through someone’s bottom line.

  3. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My wife is the school counselor at Title I (low socioeconomic) elementary school. She’s been getting home each day around 6:30 (official quit time is 4:00). I have never seen her this tired. Besides the normal duties of being a school counselor, she is now spending days substitute teaching because subs can’t be found.

    Because of the pandemic, there are a lot of family issues and and increase in abuse and neglect to say nothing of children dealing with a COVID death of a parent or grandparent.

    A couple of parental assholes (both pro and anti mask) but not too much

    On weekends, the texts and emails never stop coming. The principal and administration are just as stressed.

  4. CSK says:

    Since Corey Lewandowski can’t be forced out of the chairmanship of the Make America Great Again super pac, Trump has formed a new super pac.

    It’s called the “Make America Great Again, Again” pac.

    This is not a joke.

  5. Kylopod says:


    It’s called the “Make America Great Again, Again” pac.

    Pence already used that line while Trump was still president.

  6. CSK says:

    And you would think they’d have learned from the reaction when Pence used it. But no.

  7. Kylopod says:


    And you would think they’d have learned from the reaction when Pence used it.

    They did learn from it. Ridicule from the elite always leads them to double down. It’s what keeps them going.

  8. Jax says:

    So the good thing about my line of work is it’s pretty easy to quarantine and still do my work. This is a collection of drone pictures from the last two or three weeks of scouting for cattle. I think the drought and unseasonably warm weather contributed to an absolutely fantastic “fall color” season among the aspens, I’ve never seen them stay this colorful for this long!

    I kinda forgot I had a blog I could post pictures to if I wanted to share them with you guys!


  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Looking at that creek has me reaching for my trout rod.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnMcC: @Scott:

    A great country invests in it’s future but Republicans are too intent on raping, pillaging, and burning the future. We are not a great country.

  11. Kathy says:

    By the XIX century, vaccines against bacterial infections could be produced because 1) bacteria 8and bacilli) could be isolated, identified, and studied with the tools available at the time, and 2) there were means to kill or weaken them for use in vaccines.

    Viruses weren’t known, but were hypothesized. How, if they are too small to be seen with an optical microscope?

    Scientists developed filters to screen out cells and bacteria. If you removed all cells and bacteria from a serum, and on inoculating animals with it they got sick, then whatever remains in the serum is making them sick, right?

    The natural thought was toxins, which bacteria were known to produce. Sure, but if the sick animals could transmit their disease to healthy animals, then it was an infectious agent and not a toxin.

    It was through such means, which are far more complex than they seem, that Louis Pasteur, one of humanity’s greatest benefactors, was able to develop a rabies vaccine, even if he never managed to see a rabies virus.

    So by the 1890s flu outbreak, never mind by the 1918 flu pandemic, scientists did know viruses existed and were infectious. They just didn’t know what they were (one hypothesis was they were a form of fluid), nor could they isolate or manipulate them easily. Thus we remained in the dark as to the cause of influenza until the invention of the electron microscope in the 1930s.

  12. Neil J Hudelson says:



  13. CSK says:

    Johnson and Jonson is seeking FDA approval for a booster. Interestingly, they claim that whereas the Janssen vax doesn’t lose effectiveness as do Pfizer and Moderna, a booster will raise the immunity level of the recipient from 80% to 94%.

  14. CSK says:

    These are quite spectacular.

  15. Scott says:

    @CSK: This is where the strategic development choices of the vaccine makers come in. J&J chose to have a 1-shot regimen and tested to that. Moderna and Pfizer chose a two shot regimen. The second shots are actually boosters. The 3 and 4 week intervals were also a choice to accelerate the approval process. Evidence is building that 2-3 month intervals are actually better. But to give approval for that would require additional testing.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Canadian company Enbridge has reimbursed US police $2.4m for arresting and surveilling hundreds of demonstrators who oppose construction of its Line 3 pipeline, according to documents the Guardian obtained through a public records request.

    Enbridge has paid for officer training, police surveillance of demonstrators, officer wages, overtime, benefits, meals, hotels and equipment.
    Police have arrested more than 900 demonstrators opposing Line 3 and its impact on climate and Indigenous rights, according to the Pipeline Legal Action Network.

    It’s common for protesters opposing pipeline construction to face private security hired by companies, as they did during demonstrations against the Dakota Access pipeline. But in Minnesota, a financial agreement with a foreign company has given public police forces an incentive to arrest demonstrators.

    The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which regulates pipelines, decided rural police should not have to pay for increased strain from Line 3 protests. As a condition of granting Line 3 permits, the commission required Enbridge to set up an escrow account to reimburse police for responding to demonstrations.

    Enbridge told the Guardian an independent account manager allocates the funds, and police decide when protesters are breaking the law. But records obtained by the Guardian show the company meets daily with police to discuss intelligence gathering and patrols. And when Enbridge wants protesters removed, it calls police or sends letters.

    “Our police are beholden to a foreign company,” Tara Houska, founder of the Indigenous frontline group Giniw Collective, told the Guardian. “They are working hand in hand with big oil. They are actively working for a company. Their duty is owed to the state of Minnesota and to the tribal citizens of Minnesota.”

    “It’s a very clear violation of the public’s trust,” she added.

  17. Kathy says:


    While mRNA vaccines are a new technology, they’ve been in development and testing for years. I assume the two dose regime was derived from what was learned studying the effect of such vaccines in animals.

    That is, BioNTech and Moderna likely knew a single dose regime would lead to 40-60% efficacy at best, while a two dose regime would get better efficacy.

    Viral vector vaccines have a slightly longer track record, but even then they were known to require multiple doses. See the AstraZeneca and Sputnik V shots, for instance. J&J surely knows this, but their single shot regime was 1) efficacious enough against infection, and 2) very effective against severe disease and hospitalization. Ergo, they went with the one shot even if two shots are better.

    The interval is a different matter. Partly it’s due to abbreviated testing, but also the urgency in getting the vaccine out. Suppose the mRNA vaccines had been tested at three month intervals, then we would have gotten vaccines until February 2021 rather than December 2020.

  18. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Now, who would ever have thought that a pandemic, compounded by an unending presidential election, would reveal such hidden stresses in our way of life? Only those who have studied enough history to look back at past crises and what they’ve revealed about us.

  19. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The teaching schedule that I am working this semester has me wrecked. Yet it is about the same as the types of teaching schedules I taught on a regular basis pre-pandemic without any issue.

    On top of the teaching, I also am my 80 year old mother’s sole caregiver and personal shopper. 18 months into this and I’m just exhausted every single day.

  20. CSK says:

    Steve Bannon says that Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is part of a psy-ops mission to destroy MAGA.

    I don’t know what the hell he means, either.

  21. Kathy says:


    Facebook as is works for Bannon and others in the white supremacy party. Regulations to make it crack down effectively on misinformation and reduce divisive rhetoric would work against it.

    Bannon does not strike me as possessing Cheeto-level idiocy, ergo he must have learned from Russia’s 2016 meddling several tricks he can use. Discrediting Haugen would help maintain the status quo.

  22. CSK says:

    Ah, okay. That makes sense. Clearly I didn’t think this through. Apparently Haugen stated that Facebook was pushing QAnon. (I didn’t see the interview.)

    As an aside, Trump doesn’t appear nearly as frantic to get back on Facebook as he does on Twitter.

  23. Kathy says:

    I wonder how biology is taught today in high school as compared to my time.

    Typically school curricula lag current events and developments. SO we got nothing on genetic engineering, even though it was the hot research topic at the time, with tools like PCR being implemented. Worse yet, we got too little about genetics, beyond being told the nucleus holds the “inheritance” molecule aka DNA.

    Today genetic engineering is a maturing discipline, and a commercial endeavor in fields like agriculture and pharmacology (citation: see your COVID vaccines).

    I did learn much about genetics, and molecular biology, cell receptors, the importance of evolution to biology, etc. at the time, but from reading science magazines like Discover.

    Of course, in physics back then we only were taught the classical stuff. Not a word on relativity, much less quantum mechanics (though that got a very misleading mention in chemistry class), or even radioactivity past the obligatory lectures on the Curies and nuclear energy. Again, we got more about radioactivity in chemistry class when we learned about isotopes.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    Here’s something I don’t understand about social media in general and Facebook in particular. There is a law from the computer bulletin board days that basically says businesses or individuals who merely host discussion sites are not liable for what the users post. So far, so good. But Facebook et al don’t merely host the sites, they actually push specific content to their users. How are they protected by that original law?

  25. Scott says:

    @Kathy: Science curricula is way behind the times. Back in my day (60s), a lot of biology was classification and taxonomy. Just started to touch biochemistry. Genetics was still very new. In my humble opinion, biology should have been expanded to two years even at the expense of chemistry and physics or some other non science course. First year would be classical biology covering classification, microbiology, ecology and evolution and the 2nd year biochemistry and genetics.

  26. Mu Yixiao says:


    But Facebook et al don’t merely host the sites, they actually push specific content to their users. How are they protected by that original law?

    If you’re referring to Section 230, it’s because Facebook isn’t writing the material. And, despite what many people think, it has nothing to do with how content is moderated or curated–it’s strictly about “who wrote it”.

    An analog analogy would be: A news stand is not responsible for the content of the magazines, even though they decide where those magazines sit on the shelves–ostensibly promoting some content over other.

  27. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I thought that magazine distributors paid for advantageous placement.

  28. Mu Yixiao says:


    I thought that magazine distributors paid for advantageous placement.

    That’s common, but a news stand can also choose their own placement based on their own sales and customers’ preferences.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: From wiki:

    While Section 230 had seemed to have given near complete immunity to service providers in its first decade, new case law around 2008 started to find cases where providers can be liable for user content due to being a “publisher or speaker” related to that content under §230(c)

    It seems that by searching out specific content and actively putting it in front of specific users, a case could be made that Facebook and the like have moved beyond the “provider” mode as embodied in the law and moved into “publisher or speaker” territory.

  30. Mu Yixiao says:


    It seems that by searching out specific content and actively putting it in front of specific users, a case could be made that Facebook and the like have moved beyond the “provider” mode as embodied in the law and moved into “publisher or speaker” territory.

    That’s the case that a lot of people are trying to make. But it’s not the default standard. And I know that in at least some of those cases, the prosecution is hanging their case on “sex trafficking” (see the Backpage.com trial)–even when it’s legal sex-work being advertised, and/or the website has been actively moderating the content and working with law enforcement–because they think that will sway the juries.

    As it stands, Section 230 is the law. There are always going to be exceptions that can result in judgement against the defendant, but the default assumption is that the website has immunity.

  31. Kathy says:


    I took three years of biology in junior high school, plus one semester in high school.

    I’ve mentioned before we should teach finance in high school, beyond generalities, the better to prepare students for adult life where they have to handle credit cards and various other types of credit or loans (not least student loans).

    Beyond biology, we should also teach high school students the basics of medicine. things like the various types of disease (infectious, degenerative, metabolic, cancers, genetic, etc.), as well as the types of treatments in use, specifically antibiotics, antivirals, and with particular emphasis on vaccines.

  32. Kathy says:


    IMO, Facebook exercises editorial control on the content displayed for each user, and thus qualifies as a publisher rather than a carrier.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: That’s what I’m driving at. I’m not a lawyer and so my opinion on this isn’t worth much, but I’m curious as to why someone who, say, has had a family member killed by some enraged Trumper hasn’t made a go for, “it was at least somewhat the fault of Facebook and so they should pay.” Or rather, some enterprising liability lawyer.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    That’s the case that a lot of people are trying to make

    Are they, though? Not just idle speculation, but is someone actually suing Facebook on those grounds?

  35. JohnSF says:

    Ooh ohh… This is nasty:
    UK gas price spiking, now at 300 pence per therm, compared to average over last decade of around 50 p/therm.
    $230 per barrel of oil equivalent. Yikes.
    Not just UK either.
    Also UK food prices under pressure:

    …price of vegetable oil stands at a 30-year high. A kilogram of tomatoes wholesale now costs £1.47 compared with 75p a year ago.

    Meanwhile; continuing reports of global logistic bottlenecks.

    And in China, the embargo on Australian coal imports seems to be at least part of an ongoing, and apparently little reported energy crunch.
    An example of the impacts:

    In stainless steel drinkware, 93% of the world’s production happens in one province in China. Of that production, about half happens from now until Chinese New Year.
    What that means is that almost 20% of the world’s production isn’t going to get built this year!


    Brace for impact time?

    I suspect that interest rates are going to start rising, and sooner and faster than a lot of people are expecting.

  36. CSK says:

    The FTC tried to sue Facebook in Dec. 2020 on anti-trust grounds. That suit was dismissed in June of this year. The FTC filed a new complaint this past August.

  37. Sleeping Dog says:


    Awfully purdy 🙂 Ah the fall colors, beautiful till you remember what follows them.

  38. Scott says:

    @JohnSF: Are we seeing the impact of rising trade barriers and protectionism? Of tariffs and Brexit? Not going through with Trans Pacific Partnership, etc.?
    Of the failed MAGA trade policies?

  39. Mu Yixiao says:


    Are they, though? Not just idle speculation, but is someone actually suing Facebook on those grounds?

    I don’t know of any against Facebook, specifically, but there have been a few high-profile cases in this area. And I’m using “make the case” in the general sense. A lot of politicians are “making the case” that, because FB curates the posts (through deleting, promoting, etc.) that they should lose their 230 immunity. That is, it would seem to be, a popular attack from both the left and the right.

  40. Mikey says:

    I don’t even know what to think about this. Just…wow.

  41. CSK says:

    Just when you may have thought you’ve heard it all:

    A new Hampshire state rep, Ken Weyler, is claiming on the basis of a 52-page scientific “report” that the Covid vaccine contains live creatures with tentacles that now swim freely in the bodies of the vaxxed.

    Governor Sununu is displeased, to put it mildly.

  42. JohnSF says:

    All of the above IMO, plus the covid hit.
    Though I think protectionism per se and TPP are relatively marginal; if anything their effect might be to reduce demand and thus price spikes.
    (Mind, that’s just a WAG estimate on my part, need a proper economist/modeller to run the numbers)

    Crash stopping and re-starting global logistics not conducive to smooth flows.
    In UK slowly escalating impact of labour shortages due to covid and Brexit; but increasingly Brexit is the key factor as post-covid demand increases.
    Gas in W.Eur spiking due to growing demand pressures and tight supply: Russia appears to have have a severe maintenance backlog in some fields, and to be deliberately yhrottling trans-Ukraine pipeline supplies to force Nordstream takeup.

    China energy crunch appears to have multiple causes, including shifts in policy aimed at reducing energy intensity, and also sanctions on coal imports from Australia.

    One aspect of this: almost invariably, the more efficient a system is, the resilient it is.

  43. JohnSF says:

    More eeek!

    UK Gilts sell off on a Bloomberg headline about surge in UK natural gas price

    At the mo’ I’m occasionally peeking at the currency and govt bond markets; because if a real quake is in the offing, that’s where it’ll show first.
    Hopefully this is just some folks in London twitchy after a bad day.

  44. JohnSF says:

    News from Conservative Party Conference is enough to give any City guy indigestion.
    Basically, the Tories are now joyfully scampering across the meadows of Planet Zarg and reporting back to Earth on how lovely the weather is.
    Economics a la Comical Ali.

  45. Jon says:

    @Mikey: Ha! I just saw that too. Bless his heart.

    Never change, Rod. Never change.

  46. JohnSF says:

    Well, this is nice.
    Searching for data re. gas price going vertical.
    Wow. Just wow!

    Gazprom reduced the gas flow to Europe
    via Belarus and Poland by 70%
    and via Ukraine by 20%
    Since. Last. Week.
    These are official Gazprom figures. Putin is using energy as a weapon…


    113€ / MWh and rising, ladies and gents.
    100% up in three weeks.
    This is crazy.

    Well, so much much for Berlin’s argument that conceding on Nordstream 2 would encourage Russia to be reasonable.
    “Wandel durch Handel” my ass.

  47. JohnSF says:

    Aaargh. Wretched fickle edit function!
    Correction to comment:

    One aspect of this: almost invariably, the more efficient a system is, the less resilient it is.

  48. Jen says:

    @CSK: At this point, I’m just relieved that it isn’t one of our reps (again). IIRC, all three of them have had incidents in the past year that were local-news-worthy.

    The thing about having such a massive state house (there are 400 state reps and 24 state senators) is that you’re going to end up with some real oddballs. Especially considering the time commitment is substantial and the pay is…not. ($200 a year.)

  49. Kathy says:


    You don’t think things will improve once the US defaults on its sovereign debt and some large Chinese companies collapse?

  50. JohnSF says:


    Oh yeah, I was just thinking I should add something on Evergrande to really cheer everyone up.
    In the meantime, thinking of investing in whisky futures, ’cause my stockpiles a surely getting depleted fast.

    Dear Republicans, please refrain from crashing US bond market in meantime? K, thx, bye.

    US oil hits 7-year high after Opec+ resists calls to accelerate production

  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    In the world of amusing, but otherwise basically meaningless, trivia – Forbes published its annual list of the 400 wealthiest Americans.

    Donald Trump is no longer on it. 😀

  52. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I was wondering if someone was trying to break their section 230 shield.

  53. CSK says:

    Yes, and as Forbes pointed out, he has no one to blame for that but himself.

  54. CSK says:

    Not so far, that I know of.

  55. Mu Yixiao says:


    Oh yeah, I was just thinking I should add something on Evergrande to really cheer everyone up.

    If you want to cheer me up, show me where their HQ is on a map. 🙂 They’re based out of Taicang–where I lived for 3 years. I’ve tried looking up photos, but the areas I recognize (Century Lake–a man-made lake across the river) are just things they’re building. I’m really curious where the HQ is–because I don’t think I’ve ever seen it, and I was all over that city for work.

  56. Mu Yixiao says:


    May I post a comment with 9 links? It’s the 9 proposed “fair maps” for Wisconsin.

    3 for State Senate
    3 for State Assembly
    3 for US Congress

  57. flat earth luddite says:

    Hot dang! Best laugh I’ve had all day! Thanks for sharing…
    oh, wait, you were serious? Really? Ewwwwwwww.

  58. CSK says:

    @flat earth luddite:
    Unfortunately, I did not invent that story. It’s all true.

  59. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: I am shocked, shocked I tell you!

    (Allow a sociopath to put a rope around your neck in the expectation that he won’t use it.)

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah. I’m not sure of what’s going on where I live, but in a typical year, I work, maybe 10 days between September and Christmas break. This year I’ve worked 11 days since the beginning of the school year and have been asked to work the hour that I have a prep period (which means that there was a job for which there was no substitute) on about half of those days. And I don’t work elementary school so most days that I didn’t work had jobs that I said “no thanks” to.

    I suspect that things being how they are with Covid-19–my county is up to 700 new cases a week from 500 a week a few weeks back–there are a lot of teachers who are no longer in the “if I’m well enough to get out of bed, I’m well enough to go teach” category any more. Frankly, I don’t blame them.

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: WA! Amazing colors. One thing that I missed when I moved back to Western Washington is the fall colors. Our forests are mostly evergreens and even the trees that aren’t just don’t color up in the temperatures we have here. Also, with the long-term slightly drought-like conditions, lots of leaves go from green to dried out khaki color without any intervening change.

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I kinda see their point on the not investing in the future thing, though. I mean, it’s not like I’M going to see any advantage from that kind of investment, right?

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker----- says:

    @Kathy: From what I see teaching biology at the high school from time to time, not much seems to have changed from what you describe. Part of that may be that our high schools only offer first year biology, it’s taught mostly to 9th graders, and change in education (defined as 51% adoption of new whatever) is said to take 65 years. (Which may be true. I’ve seen teachers struggling with whether to teach the “writing process” for essays that was first presented to me when I was a high school senior–52 years ago.)

  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: In my districts, we’re struggling to get students to finish taking algebra by the time they’re seniors–we start teaching it in grade 8 at most schools I’ve taught at. Irrespective of one’s feelings about whether the state is right or wrong to demand that as a requirement, the laundry list of things you would like included seems a touch unrealistic given the necessity of student buy in for most post elementary coursework (witness teaching algebra for 5 years).

  65. Mu Yixiao says:

    Only Connect is back! Only Connect is back! Only Connect is back! Only Connect is back! Only Connect is back! Only Connect is back!

    (I think only Michael Reynolds will understand my exuberance)

  66. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I think the drought this year has really contributed to the bright reds on the aspens. I even found some goth/emo aspens while wandering around. I’ve spent a lot of time wandering, maybe I’ll make a post with some pictures I took on the ground. I found some hella cool camp sites, and places I want to explore further on foot!

    Today, though, I am updating my drone’s firmware, because I spent two hours finding my way to the top of the mountain in order to drone cattle that I knew were up there off of it, and when I got to the top, Pete failed me. I’m gonna have to fly Re-Pete tomorrow.

    Also, it was a “three flat tire day” for my cowboy crew. Boss Man was grouchy right out the gate, so I unloaded at the first flat tire and told Boss Man and Cowboy “Toodalooo! I’ll see you at the bottom!” Then I ended up driving my scooter home all the way from the mountains thru a super-secret back way I found.

  67. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I get it, too.