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:

    Allison Slater Tate

    I *am* the woman in the background.

    Quote Tweet
    philip lewis
    · Jan 22
    Somebody in the background is fighting for her life!!!

  2. Jen says:

    Ms. Palin not only tested positive for coronavirus, she–against NYC rules–dined in a restaurant without having been vaccinated.

    Arrogance personified.

  3. CSK says:

    Hmmm. Palin was dining where the elite meet to eat? Her? A woman of the people? Who was the regular who brought her in there?

    (I had to read The Guardian story rather than this one.)

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    To the fainting couches! Clutch thine pearls! Biden called somebody a “stupid son of a b!tch!” In fact, the same person John McCain called a stupid son of a bitch. You don’t remember that? You probably don’t remember that time when GWBush called a reporter a “major league assh0le either. But IOKIYAR.

    Oh well, as George Takei says, “Biden rarely drops curses, but when he does it’s a Doocy.”

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And speaking of pearl clutching, Glenn Greenwald has his panties in a bunch. You know, the same guy who “ridiculed Ben Jacobs after being assaulted by Rep. Gianforte.“? Yeah, that great defender of the press.

    (via germy at balloon juice)

    Fortunately for me, that stupid son of a b!tch isn’t a journalist, just a hack Russian stooge. I wouldn’t want people to think I don’t believe in the 1st Amendment or anything.

  6. CSK says:

    According to CBS News and other outlets, “A Georgia district attorney’s request to have a special grand jury impaneled to investigate possible interference in the 2020 election by former President Donald Trump has been granted.”

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And as long as I’m fixated on people wigging out over other people calling people SoBs, here’s 45 seconds of trump’s greatest SoB hits.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Wisconsin health care workers will be allowed to start new jobs at Ascension after judge dismisses temporary restraining order

    APPLETON – Seven health care workers will be able to start their new jobs at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton after a judge dismissed a temporary restraining order Monday that was barring them from doing so at the request of their former employer, ThedaCare.

    Outagamie County Circuit Court Judge Mark McGinnis ruled that ThedaCare’s arguments were not enough to uphold the injunction.

    McGinnis said he signed the initial restraining order Friday because of the gravity of the situation that ThedaCare laid out in their complaint. Wisconsin statute says the court should give “substantial weight” to any adverse impact on public safety when deciding what to require in the order.

    Lawyers for ThedaCare had argued the region would be in danger of not having health care for severely injured patients or people who had suffered strokes if the seven employees moved to Ascension for their Monday start date.

    But after Monday’s hearing, McGinnis said ThedaCare could rely on alternate staffing solutions it already is pursuing to preserve care, including cross-training employees who do similar jobs at ThedaCare’s Appleton hospital.

    The broader case, in which ThedaCare argues that Ascension inappropriately group-recruited these employees, will go forward in court, but the employees are free to begin their new jobs on Tuesday. A lawyer for ThedaCare said the seven employees would be compensated for Monday’s missed work at the higher wage they would have had if they’d started as planned at Ascension.

    I guess even indentured servants have rights in Wisconsin.

  9. Jen says:

    @CSK: They declined to identify the regular, but it’s probably circulating on Twitter, I just don’t care enough to check.

  10. Jen says:

    Apparently, there’s a Pepsi boycott because the company sent donations to pro-life legislators in Texas. Interesting because a few years ago, there was a pro-life boycott of Pepsi because some extremely conservative Catholic publication alleged that Pepsi was using stem cell lines from aborted fetuses in their product development (long story but basically it has something to do with testing flavor additives).

    It’s hard to keep up.

  11. CSK says:

    According to Twitter, Elio’s isn’t too punctilious about requesting vax proof from anyone who wanders in there. Even non-celebrities.

  12. CSK says:

    Oh that’s just Trump expressing his righteous anger in the way a true man of the people would.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Sometimes you just can’t make anybody happy.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, I was just fit tested for a 3M N95 mask. The process is as follows:
    – Put a spacious hood over my head. Clear panel in the front with a dime sized hole in it
    – Spray in an aerosolized solution to check whether I tasted it was bitter. I did, but it wasn’t too uncomfortable.
    – Put on my mask, fitting it carefully to the nose. It’s the kind with two straps that go completely around your head, not ear loops
    – Spray in a more concentrated version of the solution while I nod my head no for thirty seconds, then yes, then read a script and check whether I taste anything bitter
    – Ask me to pull the mask away from my space, and spray in the full strength solution. Oh gawd yes! It was bitter. I still kinda taste it a half hour and two lifesavers later.

    I was really impressed by what a great job the N95 mask did (3M Aura 1870+). When we tested such masks in house in the past, we typically got significantly better than 95%, but that is with a perfect seal and I figured there would be significant leaking around the seams. Doesn’t appear to be the case though. The metal strip at the top was more form fitting than most of the KN95 masks or N95 masks I’ve bought for my family, and the mask as a whole was somewhat to significantly easier to breath through.

  15. CSK says:

    From Politico, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has compared Anthony Fauci to Hitler and claimed that Fauci is “orchestrating fascism.”

    Kennedy also stated that “Even in Hitler’s Germany, you could cross the Alps to Switzerland. You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did…The mechanisms are being put in place that will make it so that none of us can run and none of us can hide.”

    Last month he put out a video that showed Fauci with a Hitler mustache.

  16. Jen says:


    You could hide in an attic like Anne Frank did…

    This…he really said THIS?

    Words fail.

  17. CSK says:

    Yeah. He did. It’s being reported in a number of places.

  18. JKB says:

    Well, we know the vaccines don’t stop infection or transmission. And now the CDC has a study that shows the vaccines offer no advantage to those who’ve have natural immunity from prior infection. The vaccines do reduce the severity for those without prior infection who develop severe COVID.

    While the vaccines did provide around 10 weeks reduction of infection, the boosters are providing less than half that and may actually increase risk to Omicron infection COVID.

    Sad really to see how many cling to their masks and vaccine passports.

  19. CSK says:

    I think we’ve known for a while that the vaccines didn’t guarantee 100% protection from infection, nor do they completely block transmission. They do, however lower the viral load.

  20. Neil Hudelson says:


    We know the vaccines don’t stop infection or transmission

    Contrary, yes they do.

    And now the CDC has a study.

    If you can’t find a link to the supposed study, but instead have to rely on “Guy on Youtube” for your information, how seriously do you think we are going to take you?

    While the vaccines did provide around 10 weeks reduction of infection

    A vaccine can’t simultaneously “not stop infection” (sic) and “provide 10 weeks of reduction of infection.” I already know your (what you think is) clever reply about infection rates you found on youtube, if a vaccine reduces the average chance of infecting others, then it’s stopping infections. Like most of your comment, the “10 weeks” metric seems to be made up out of cow dung.

    boosters are providing less than half that

    Which TikTokDoc told you this?

    may actually increase risk to Omicron infection COVID

    You know what actually reduces risk to Omicron? Repeatedly slamming your head into the corner of your desk. Give it at try.

  21. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    I’d have a lot (ok, a little) more faith in your statement about a CDC study if the link, you know, actually led to a CDC website, or some official site other than another U-Tub video. C’mon, JKB, as I’m sure our hosts have told students for years, you can’t just put an answer down, you need to show your work.

    Seriously, would you PLEASE use the brain that is lurking behind your eyeballs… more than occasionally?

  22. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: The thing that always gets me about Nazi analogies is that the people most eager to use them seem to have no fucking clue what they’re talking about; it isn’t even close. It’s like they’ve got this vague idea of the Nazis as comic-book supervillains, and beyond that, just a series of soundbites they picked up from reading Snapple labels or something. One of the prime examples that stands out in my memory is when Carl Paladino spoke about the “six million Jews murdered in the gas chambers in Auschwitz.”

    There isn’t even any internal logic that would justify these statements; even if you were to concede all of Kennedy’s insane claims about vaccines killing loads of people, he still comes off sounding profoundly ignorant about the Holocaust. For one thing, the reason people were able to hide Anne Frank and other Jews isn’t because there were “mechanisms in place” but because incredibly courageous individuals risked their own lives to protect them from the Nazi government, keeping them cooped up in their homes for years and continually evading authorities while smuggling food and supplies. The only reason Miep Gies survived the Franks’ capture was because of one officer who happened to take mercy on her when he learned they shared the same hometown; most people caught hiding Jews were murdered.

    So even if we pretend that vaccines are as harmful as Kennedy claims, even if we ignore the fact that nobody’s been arrested for refusing to get vaccinated and therefore they’ve got no one to hide from, his statements about the Holocaust still don’t make a lick of sense. He displays no sense of the gravity of what actually happened, and treats it as essentially just a way to score points. That’s always the case with people who resort to these analogies. It’s a desperate attempt by entitled and ignorant people to coopt the moral high ground of a persecution narrative without any understanding of those who earned it.

  23. CSK says:

    Very well said.

    Apparently even Kennedy’s wife Cheryl Hines found his remarks “reprehensible and insensitive”–or so she posted on Twitter.

    She understated the case by several orders of magnitude.

  24. Jen says:

    @JKB: Again with the nonsense.

    Seriously, why do you do this? This is a bad mix of not understanding what vaccines do, not reading/comprehending things accurately, and just stubborn refusal to acknowledge reality.

    Vaccines stop both transmission and infection very effectively. They aren’t 100%, but they are very good at what they do. I now have multiple examples of friends who had household infections of covid–with anyone who was able to be, vaccinated. The few with symptoms had mild cases, and–in every case–there was at least one person in the household who never even tested positive. Family of 5, two got sick, three never tested positive. Family of 4, 3 mild illness, 1 never tested positive. Family of 2, one got sick–this was a child who couldn’t get vaccinated at the time–his mom, despite providing round the clock care–never tested positive.

    Due to reduced viral loads in those who are vaccinated who do get sick, they ARE INDEED less likely to transmit disease.

    To repeat, you are wrong.

    On the natural immunity front, I am assuming you are talking about the study that showed that FOR DELTA, prior covid infection was more effective than vaccination (but you failed to note that the study further found that vaccination + prior infection was even better protection). So far, that is variant-specific AND it is a wholly unsafe strategy to suggest that everyone just go out and roll the dice with an infection. You aren’t saying that, right? Because that would be both really dumb AND really dangerous.

    The vaccines do reduce the severity for those without prior infection who develop severe COVID.

    This is actually a really important feature, because that’s what’s going to ease the strain on our hospitals. Vaccines are our best strategy and safest hope to get out of this mess without completely breaking our healthcare system.

    Your shtick is beyond tiresome.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JKB: Remember that time you were playing poker and when you looked around the table you couldn’t spot the sucker?


    Now you’re looking around Youtube and you still can’t spot the sucker.

  26. Kathy says:


    I don’t think he responds to reason.

    Perhaps we should send him some silver so he can make a bullet, and a quarter so he can buy a clue.

  27. CSK says:

    @Jen: @Kylopod:
    It occurred to me that RFK Jr. might not actually know what happened to Anne Frank. That’s very difficult to believe, but I suppose it’s possible.

    He apologized on Twitter to anyone he “might have offended.”

  28. Kurtz says:


    Did you read the study to verify the YouTube MD was interpreting the study fairly rather than confirming his priors?

    I know you did not. To the doctor’s credit, he provides the link to the study in the video description. So do I.

    If you would like to learn, read the study and you will find all sorts of interesting tidbits, such as of the four studies of natural immunity, two showed that natural immunity wanes over time, two didn’t show evidence of it. Like all credible studies, it also identifies the limitations of the study and points to areas that require more investigation.

    Finally, a quote from the summary:

    Across the entire study period, persons with vaccine- and infection-derived immunity had much lower rates of hospitalization compared with those in unvaccinated persons. These results suggest that vaccination protects against COVID-19 and related hospitalization and that surviving a previous infection protects against a reinfection. Importantly, infection-derived protection was greater after the highly transmissible Delta variant became predominant, coinciding with early declining of vaccine-induced immunity in many persons (5). Similar data accounting for booster doses and as new variants, including Omicron, circulate will need to be assessed.

    It’s best not to take pride in letting preference override judgment.

  29. Kurtz says:


    Ha. You beat me to it. I like your approach better than mine. 🙂

  30. Kylopod says:


    It occurred to me that RFK Jr. might not actually know what happened to Anne Frank. That’s very difficult to believe, but I suppose it’s possible.

    Do you find it difficult to believe because you thought Kennedy in particular was too smart to make such an error, or because you’d have been surprised to hear anyone make this error? I already mentioned the Carl Paladino quote about the entire six million being gassed in Auschwitz. There’s quite a lot of people out there whose knowledge of the Holocaust (and really, a great deal of history) is limited to soundbites they’ve picked up, and when you grill them on the details it quickly becomes clear they know almost nothing about the references in question. They wind up confessing that Abe Lincoln chopped down a cherry tree and Nixon got busted for sneaking water past his gate.

  31. just nutha says:


    Sad really to see how many cling to their masks and vaccine passports.

    Because there are sooooooooo many more effective and better methods to avoid infection?

  32. just nutha says:

    @Neil Hudelson: My research shows that desks with rounded or padded corners offer no significant protection, so it may not work for him.

  33. CSK says:

    Well, both, I suppose. I mean, I knew who Anne Frank was and what her fate was when I was nine years old. Even if he never read anything on his own, RFK Jr. went to supposedly good schools, so you would think he’d have encountered the story at some point. Then again, since he spent his teens, twenties, and early thirties addled on whatever drug he could ingest, including heroin, maybe it all slipped by him.

    His apology was beyond perfunctory. So perhaps he really doesn’t get it about Anne Frank.

  34. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    Contrast to how happy things are for those who cling to their ivermectin and ventilators.

  35. Mimai says:

    @Neil Hudelson: (and others)

    This discussion brings to mind the wonderful short story “Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders. Better to engage with that than, well, the not-that.

  36. Sleeping Dog says:


    …RFK Jr. went to supposedly good schools…

    This is the problem with legacy admissions.

  37. Kylopod says:


    His apology was beyond perfunctory. So perhaps he really doesn’t get it about Anne Frank.

    Well it’s obvious he doesn’t “get it” about Anne Frank, for the reasons I outlined earlier. The question I understood you and others were wondering about was whether he didn’t even realize Anne Frank died in the Holocaust. That to me isn’t as clear, though I certainly wouldn’t put it past him that he really didn’t know. If we’re being generous, he could have meant merely that there were ways Jews could be protected from the Nazis, even if it ultimately didn’t succeed in this instance. It’s just hard to fathom that he’d be accepting that level of nuance, since it cuts against the entire nonsensical analogy. Of course it’s true that “hiding” the unvaccinated in one’s attic isn’t going to prevent them from being fired from their jobs or refused service in a restaurant–the only things that are actually happening to unvaccinated people in this country. Honestly, he might have been better off invoking Jim Crow instead of the Holocaust. That would be no less offensive or inappropriate, but at least you could kind of follow the train of thought. But no–in the hierarchy of strawman evildoers stupid people use to try to win an argument, the Nazis always sit comfortably on top.

  38. Stormy Dragon says:


    I’ve been boycotting Pepsi for decades on account of it sucking.


  39. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I don’t feel like being generous to him.

  40. CSK says:

    And I was indeed wondering if RFK Jr. was aware that Anne Frank died of typhoid in Bergen-Belsen.

  41. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: At this point I wouldn’t be shocked to learn he thinks she died from a typhoid vaccine.

  42. Mikey says:


    He displays no sense of the gravity of what actually happened, and treats it as essentially just a way to score points.

    And in doing so he degrades the memory of all who perished. Their souls must cry out in righteous anger.

    What a reprehensible piece of human trash he is.

  43. CSK says:

    Sure, if he’s even aware that she died.

  44. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: So she’s secretly still alive, just like the other Kennedy Jr.?

    Sorry, have trouble keeping all the batshit theories straight.

  45. CSK says:

    He probably has no idea what became of her after she finished her jolly game of hide and seek with the Nazis.

  46. inhumans99 says:

    Sigh, Kennedy is married to Cheryl Hines, dagnabbit…I like Cheryl Hines a ton as an actress, but oof, her husband is an uncouth dumbass. An article notes that she criticized her own husband for his remarks, but I just thought of another thing that makes me issue another sigh, Cheryl Hines is an anti-vaxxer, yuck?!?!.

    If she is currently working on a show she either sucked it up and despite it being against her will got poked or is in-between jobs. My understanding is that Hollywood is still very much in get vaccinated mode or do not expect to be gainfully employed. I could be wrong though, and often am.

  47. Kylopod says:

    Apparently this isn’t a first time.

    Robert Kennedy Jr. on Monday apologized for describing the number of children injured by vaccines as “a holocaust” during a film screening last week.

    That was from 2015.

    Note that he also did the “Sorry if you were offended” routine.

  48. CSK says:

    Well, if you find what you think is a good line, I suppose you’ll keep using it.

  49. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Some years ago Lewis Black coined the term “Nazi Tourette’s,” which he applied to Glenn Beck. There are quite a few people afflicted with this disorder.

  50. Kurtz says:


    Thanks. I’ll read it.

  51. Kurtz says:


    In fairness, when I read Greenwald’s tweet via Scott Lemieux, it seemed like satire to me without even reading the rest of the thread. After continuing to read, it seemed pretty clear to me that GG was being sarcastic.

    I still find him annoying, but he wasn’t defending Doocy, the stupid son of a bitch II.

  52. Kathy says:

    Pfizer is testing an Omicron specific vaccine. It will be tested as a third and fourth dose on top of the original vaccine, as well as two doses for unvaccinated subjects (wouldn’t it be great if there were none available for this last?)

    Some of my reading on infection-acquired immune response, suggests latter variants confer effective immunity against earlier ones, perhaps due to which parts of the spike they wind up targeting. But such info was fuzzily presented, and I don’t take it very seriously. We’ll wind up, as with the flu, with polyvalent anual shots.

    Unless we need a shot every six months.

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: My inner sociopath found the ironies with Abnath’s and Verlaine’s justifications of “the science” of it all hilarious, but I don’t see how the producers of the movie are going to make an action/crime story with most of the meta theme coming in the interior monologue of Jeff. Maybe they’re going to do a Hammer Films version of it where, as Vincent Price once joked, the budget was so low that the producers could only afford to buy the name of the story–not the story itself.

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Based on situations where I’ve seen her portraying herself (interviews and such), even understating the situation by orders of magnitude exceeds what I would have imagined, but it is very possible that I simply have an unjustly low opinion of her. Either way, well done Cheryl Hines!