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. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Happy Tuesday, everyone.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From I helped one man in this picture escape the horrors of Kharkiv. The other man? I may never know:

    I have been in touch with Leonid Andriyovych. He is still staying with his sister in Poltava. “We’re having a romantic dinner with the candles,” he joked. He hasn’t returned to Kharkiv since we left, but his neighbours have informed him that his nine-storey block of flats has fully collapsed. He thanked me for not forgetting him. I said, “Not at all.”

    I am glad that I’ve been able to follow up with him. I regret that I cannot do the same with the soldiers we met during those early days of the war. I have just their names in my notes. I also admit that I often do not dare write down the phone numbers of the soldiers, as I would be afraid to later call them. Sometimes I prefer not to know what happened.

    Yeah, I probably would feel the same.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Transportation Security Administration has intercepted a record number of guns at airport safety checkpoints this year, and an overwhelming majority of them were loaded.

    In a statement released late last week, TSA revealed that as of 16 December, its officers had intercepted 6,301 firearms. Out of those, 88% were loaded. The number marks an increase of more than 300 from the 5,972 firearms that were detected in 2021. About 86% of the firearms confiscated last year were loaded.

    The agency said it expects to prevent a total of 6,600 firearms in carry-on bags from entering the secure area of airports by the end of 2022, a nearly 10% jump from last year’s numbers.

    Since 2010, the number of firearms intercepted by TSA at airports has steadily increased, with the exception of 2020, when air travel fell significantly because of the coronavirus pandemic. From 2010 to 2019, the number of firearms detected by TSA at airport security checkpoints detected firearms increased from 1,123 to 4,432. Then, in 2020, the number dropped to 3,257 before increasing again almost twofold in two years.

    Our well regulated militia in action.

    In an attempt to reduce the number of guns at airport security checkpoints, the agency increased the maximum fine for a firearms violation from $13,910 to $14,950. TSA determines the fine amount for a violation based on each case’s circumstances, the agency said.

    Yeah, that extra $1,040 will get their attention in a way the first $13,910 didn’t.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    According to an analysis by the New York Times, the biographical sketch offered by the 34-year-old, first-generation Brazilian-American, who ran as a member of a “new generation of Republican leadership” as the “full embodiment of the American dream”, may not have worked at Citigroup or Goldman Sachs, graduated from a New York college, or run a pet rescue charity, as he has claimed. Moreover, Santos said that his family owned a portfolio of 13 properties, but the Times found only one – an apartment in Rio de Janeiro. And his claims that he is owner of a corporation earning him an annual salary of $750,000 (£‎616,000) and millions in dividends do not appear to hold up.

    What the paper did find in Santos’s name were records of a 2010 charge in his native Brazil for using a stolen checkbook to buy shoes, and two eviction proceedings against him in New York over the past seven years.

    Claims that the incoming US House representative’s career may not be as stated go further. He asserted in an interview that his company, the Devolder Organization, had “lost four employees” at the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. But a check over the victims found that none of the 49 victims were connected to the company. In statement to the Times, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs said they had no record of Santos ever working there. Nor did Baruch College find any record of Santos studying there, as he purported. The Internal Revenue Service said it was unable to locate a record for an animal rescue group, Friends of Pets United, that he said he’d run for five years beginning in 2013.

    The Daily Beast reported in April that Santos, who has identified as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and presented himself as a “walking, living, breathing contradiction”, had served as a director of a Florida investment firm, Harbor City Capital, that the SEC accused of running a $17m (£14m) Ponzi – or pyramid – scheme. Santos was not named in the lawsuit and has denied knowledge of the alleged fraud.

    During his campaign for Congress, in which he successfully ran to replace the retiring Democrat Tom Suozzi, Santos spoke often of draining the swamp. He appeared to be all in on Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again candidate, benefiting during the midterm elections from suburban voters’ fear of a city-focused crime wave.

    Yeah, a trump republican if ever there was one.

    “We always knew he was running a scam against the voters, and we raised many of these issues but were drowned out” by a simultaneous election for governor, among other things, Zimmerman’s statement said.

    I hate to say it but that sounds more like some, “we didn’t take him serious enough” sour grapes.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The 10 biggest science stories of 2022 – chosen by scientists

    You know what didn’t make the top 10? The James Webb Telescope.

    Yeah, it was launched on Dec 25, 2021. So the F what? We launch stuff all the time. In the days, weeks, and months that followed, Webb thoroughly dominated science news right up to the release of it’s first image on July 12, 2022, and has continued to make news since then.

    You blew it Guardian.

  6. Stormy Dragon says:


    The New York Democratic Party didn’t take anything seriously this cycle.

  7. Tony W says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: When the punishment for a crime is a monetary fine, it is only a crime for poor people.

  8. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yep, I posted about that clown yesterday.

    The thing that gets me is that this was his SECOND run for the seat. There were two complete voting cycles to vet this guy, and no one did even a basic amount of opposition research?

    That never would have flown when I worked in politics.

  9. Rick DeMent says:

    OK here is a question for the group, and anyone explain to me how or what the right wing buzz phrase “Gain of Function Research” figures into the their bitch again Anthony Fauci? I mean why not just say that Fauci worked with the Chinese to create a bio-weapon than then unleashed it on the world for … reasons.

    Anyone know of an explainer as to why that phase is so important to the argument over the upcoming case to charge Anthony Fauci with some kind of crime?

  10. Rick DeMent says:


    …. and another thing.

    Can anyone explain to me how his lies are somehow different then the bushels full of BS that comes out of MAGA Republican pie holes on any given Tuesday? I mean Hershel Walker claimed to be in Law enforcement, a Collage grad, a decent human being, and a werewolf and Republicans fell all over themselves hand waving all that away.. Compared to that, this is just a garden variety fake resume.

    Help me out here.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: So I’ve heard.

    @Tony W: it is only a crime for poor people.

    Well, aren’t they the real criminals? If you have money, you’re just another “hardworking American.”

    @Jen: Oppo research is what candidates who have to work for their seats do, not those who are gifted their seats.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rick DeMent: I suspect it’s because they don’t want to sound like a Qanon cultist. “Gain of Function Research” sounds like they actually know what they are talking about so that all the ignoramuses who have no idea what GoFR means will just accept the BS they are spewing out.

    @Rick DeMent: Help me out here.

    You want help? OK,: Don’t, just don’t even try to wrap your mind around the workings of the MAGA brain. It’s all poison and you risk permanent damage in any serious attempt to understand it.

  13. Mikey says:

    @Rick DeMent: As the saying goes, “it’s easy to make something a conspiracy when you don’t know how anything works.” Gain-of-function research sounds scary but it’s a valid method for determining how a virus could evolve to become more virulent and deadlier.

    Morons have simply glommed on to this scary-sounding term and are using it to assert all sorts of bullshit about Fauci.

    It also plays well with the general anti-science and anti-knowledge push on the idiot right.

  14. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Opposition research is the bare minimum of campaign work you do if you have an opponent. Any opponent.

    If Democrats don’t understand this by now, they never will.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Oh they understand it, but some campaigns take it more serious than others. I am now also hearing that the campaign is blaming the press, which is what losers do. The news media is never fair, no matter which side you are on. It’s the campaign’s job to get their message out, not the news media.

  16. CSK says:

    This was apparently Robert Zimmerman’s fourth try and fourth failed attempt at getting elected to Congress. Maybe the voters just don’t like him.

  17. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: What can be done? One of the ways in which the Constitution needs amending is to remove Congress’s monopoly on disciplining its members, to permit recall by a specified percentage of the voters. Not that it will ever happen.

  18. KM says:

    Was reading through the usual depressing comments on a Yahoo story about teachers fighting back against a bill proposing body cameras / constant camera monitoring in classrooms when it hit me, most people don’t seem to understand *why* there are cameras at work and thus advocate for everyone to be subjected to Orwellian observation. They’re not there to watch you and make sure you’re working as a large part aren’t actively observed; they’re there to record evidence of crime. Not only that, actionable crimes like theft, assault and battery and not just “OMG he left the milk out for longer then allowed and that’s ILLEGAL”.

    The oft cited example of cops being forced to wear body cams is because the police are violating civil rights and breaking the law by harming and killing citizens. The fact that it catches them committing little crimes like jaywalking and minor road violations never gets brought up because nobody cares. Teachers if recorded would be nothing but piddly ass crap like “Don’t Say Gay” violations and zero real crime. Who’s gonna watch those hundreds of hours of video to find non-issues? All it does is normalize the idea that a person should be under surveillance 24/7; it’s funny how when it’s suggested the average worker needs to wear a body cam it’s still considered highly invasive (“I’M not doing anything wrong”) but if this starts to catch on, the previous logic of “necessary to document crime” will now become “just in case you do something I don’t like”. The people who scream loudest about Big Brother are the ones who will set up his rig…..

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: There are other “solutions,” problem is most of them involve jail time.

  20. Kathy says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    The usual misunderstanding of what science is, what science does, and what gain of function is.

    I’m pressed for time, so I’ll just resume the wingnuts may be thinking Fauci created the trump virus to embarrass Benito and steal the election, using “gain of function research.”

  21. Kylopod says:

    Did I step into an alternate time line or something? Boebert is now attacking MTG for being too insane:

    “I don’t believe in [McCarthy as speaker], just as I don’t believe in Russian space lasers, Jewish space lasers and all of this.”

    I guess getting nearly voted out in a very Republican district got her to take a hint.

  22. CSK says:


    It gets better. Matt Gaetz thinks Marjorie Taylor Greene would be a terrific Speaker.

  23. Kathy says:


    There’s an old joke where a bum goes into a fancy large corporation to ask for a job. The clerk at HR asks him what position he’s interested in, and the bum says “Chief executive officer.”

    “Are you insane?” the clerk asks.
    “No,” the bum says. “But I could pretend to be.”

    Maybe that’s the insanity level for the median GQP politico these days, and they are dismayed at the genuine loonatics like Marjorie.

  24. Jen says:

    @CSK: Well, if Zimmerman can’t vet his opponent in even a minimal fashion, I’m not sure he’s cut out for politics.

  25. CSK says:


    Big ego on Zimmerman’s part, I suppose.

    Santos won in what was almost a landslide: 54.2 – 45.8

  26. Sleeping Dog says:


    Oh please, please R’s, make MTG speaker.

  27. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Just one month ago Gaetz and Greene were squabbling over McCarthy.

  28. Mikey says:

    @Kylopod: They’re apparently having something of a feud. Whether it’s kayfabe or not, who knows?

  29. Kylopod says:


    Maybe that’s the insanity level for the median GQP politico these days, and they are dismayed at the genuine loonatics like Marjorie.

    Well, as usual it isn’t so easy to distinguish the “true” lunatics from the ones who are only pretending. MTG herself finally kinda sorta distanced herself from Fuentes. I think even she was starting to get the memo after the Kanye debacle.

  30. CSK says:


    They suddenly dropped that yesterday when Matt said he thought Marge would make a swell Speaker.

  31. Kylopod says:


    They’re apparently having something of a feud. Whether it’s kayfabe or not, who knows?

    It wasn’t the feud itself that I found notable. MTG has been attacked by other rightists before, but it has usually been from the perspective that (as incredible as it sounds) she isn’t right-wing enough. Last year (and I am not remotely making this up) Lin Wood called her a communist because she brought articles of impeachment against Joe Biden, which according to Wood means she’s acknowledging Biden is the president. More recently, the Fuentes crowd has been attacking her for her sort-of condemnation of Fuentes.

    I was just surprised that Boebert actually brought up the space-laser thing. Most Republicans–even the establishment ones–say as little about that as possible, or they say it’s fake news (the defense is that she never uttered the phrase “Jewish space laser,” which is true). Boebert came very close to outright calling MTG a lunatic, which is not something I’ve heard from even the establishment Republicans, and it’s strange when you consider how loonie she herself often sounds.

  32. Just nutha says:

    @Rick DeMent: When Lars Larsen was ranting about it on his show, the point was to complain about weaponizing viruses for diseases humans weren’t vulnerable to in order to have an excuse to create vaccines to treat the new diseases. A kind of a “stupid government research” and “evil big pharma” daily double.

  33. Mikey says:

    One of Trump’s most ardent supporters, who was arrested and charged for his violent actions on January 6, was just arrested again–this time for plotting with a co-conspirator to attack the Knoxville FBI field office and murder the agents who had conducted the investigation, and also other law enforcement and local police who had participated in his arrest.

    Two Tennessee Men Arrested for Planning Attacks on Law Enforcement Personnel and the FBI’s Knoxville Field Office

    According to court documents, Kelley, who is facing charges in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia related to his assault on a law enforcement officer during the breach of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, obtained a list of law enforcement personnel who participated in that criminal investigation. In conversations with a cooperating witness, Kelley and Carter discussed collecting information and plans to kill the individual law enforcement personnel on the list that included an attack on the FBI’s Knoxville, Tennessee Field Office.

    The full federal criminal complaint is here.

  34. CSK says:

    Well, MTG is back to ranting at Gaetz and Boebert again on Twitter, accusing them of lying to the base.

    Guess yesterday’s rapprochement with Gaetz only lasted 24 hours.

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: I’ve long thought that when AI reaches a certain point, cameras will be virtually everywhere. Just one example: There is a small but disgusting problem of people shitting in department store changing rooms. The stores don’t put cameras in there because of the possibility of abuse. But if no human is monitoring it, only a machine, then objections will eventually wither. The AI doesn’t alert a human until it actually “sees” something and as long as the false positive rate is low, the average person will cheer the capture and permanent expulsion of the sicko.

  36. Gustopher says:


    Oh they understand it, but some campaigns take it more serious than others. I am now also hearing that the campaign is blaming the press, which is what losers do. The news media is never fair, no matter which side you are on. It’s the campaign’s job to get their message out, not the news media.

    On the other hand, the NY Times, which broke the story, didn’t bother to look into the dude until after the election. The NY Times routinely covers Long Island politics, so it’s not wildly out of their area.

    It’s possible for both the candidate and the media to be incompetent.

  37. JohnSF says:


    …MTG is back to ranting at Gaetz and Boebert again…

    Ooh, I’ve missed this story.
    Do tell wassup.
    Fratricidal righties are always such fun!
    Can it end in violence, can it , please cannit? 🙂

  38. Gustopher says:


    In an attempt to reduce the number of guns at airport security checkpoints, the agency increased the maximum fine for a firearms violation from $13,910 to $14,950. TSA determines the fine amount for a violation based on each case’s circumstances, the agency said.

    A mandatory two year ban on flying, and intensive pat downs for the next five might.

    Don’t even have to throw them in jail, just give them some real consequence. (I’d suggest community service, but I don’t want to inflict gun-humping mouth-breathers on the community)

  39. Gustopher says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: You can get a glass flask for your courthouse appointments — no weird metallic taste, and it won’t trigger the metal detectors.

    You would need a plastic cap for it, or a cork.

  40. CSK says:


    Well, it boils down to Greene supporting McCarthy, and Boebert and Gaetz contending that McCarthy is the spawn of Satan.

  41. JohnSF says:

    Ah; so MTG has put aside her ambitions to be squeaker in return for some nice shiny from McCarthy, I assume. And a “power behind the throne” position.
    And the other gruesome twosome have someone else in mind, with similar rewards for themselves?
    Just gogglelified: Andy Biggs of Arizona is the Gaetz/Boebert choice?

  42. CSK says:

    This morning Gaetz said Marge would make a great Speaker.

  43. JohnSF says:

    And she hates him for it? Hmm.
    Was it, taken in context, a taunt : “Everyone knows you want, but we all know you won’t get.”?
    Or, an attempt to throw a turd into McCarthy’s punch-bowl? Or both.
    What jolly japes. 🙂
    Can’t they decide using trial by combat?

  44. steve says:

    Dont remember all of the details and too lazy to go look up but there have been some real, valid concerns about gain of function research. There was a moratorium placed on it for a while during Obama’s terms with permission granted to (I think) 6 labs to continue. When Trump took over and deregulating became important they allowed more people to resume research but cant remember if it was just some or all.

    The claim by some on the right is that Fauci got around the rules but having the research done in China and also using CDC money to fund it.


  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Why would MTG be supporting McCarthy? Is she hoping that she’ll get committee assignments? (Why would she want committee assignments anyway? They’d mean she had to do work.)

  46. JohnSF says:

    @Rick DeMent:
    Would seem implausible as an accusation, even if the science were what they think it is
    Why would anyone with any sense contract out to China?
    GoF research is carried out in EU and UK; and they have much tighter partnering with CDC than does China.
    But implausibility never stopped MAGA/Qanon nonsense in the past, why should it now?
    Any of them claim the full files were all on Hunter Biden’s laptop yet?
    Or it was really partnered with the “biolabs in Ukraine”?

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: “Can’t they decide using trial by combat?”

    Would that require a vote of the people to approve? I might be willing to register for that one election/issue.

  48. Kathy says:


    Why were they looking for bamboo fibers in ballots? Because they’re racists and China and the Chinese are the current boogieman.

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: If you are looking to the news media for “fair” coverage, let me paraphrase somebody we all love to hate: “You don’t go to campaign with the media you want. You go to campaign with the media you have.”

    In other words, deal with it.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: A mandatory two year ban on flying, and intensive pat downs for the next five might.

    Agreed. Hit them where it hurts.

  51. Kathy says:

    News recap (no links):

    Zelensky is traveling to the US to address Congress. I hope TV cameras catch reactions by the unhinged in the GQP (If they even show up)

    The Ways and Means committee has voted to release Benito’s tax returns. I reiterate: an abuse of power, if that what this is, on a habitual power-abuser is poetic justice.

    Two and one half solid days of nagging had the desired result to kill a project we never should have entered to begin with. All the managers and the boss knew it, but they were reluctant to take the initiative. I wasn’t, but I’ve little authority here. In any case, it’s a huge weight lifted. I felt the same way I did when the COVID test came up negative after being exposed.

    Benito fan boy, His Royal Majesty Andres Manuel I, new King of the Covidiots, has sent a law project to allow cabotage in Mexico. Cabotage allows foreign airlines to carry passengers domestically within Mexico. This applies either as part of an international flight (say Turkish airlines Mexico City to Cancun and thence to Istanbul) or stand alone (say Delta sets up shop at MEX and runs flights to Acapulco or Tijuana).

    Why? To get more flights for his ill-conceived pet airport project.

    I may post more about it as time permits. TL;DR I’m not for or against just yet. I need to give the matter some thought.

  52. Kathy says:

    Literal headline from The Guardian: Elon Musk says he will resign as Twitter CEO when he finds a ‘foolish enough’ replacement

    It’s always nepotism with these rich types.

  53. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Actually, a felony conviction ( which means permanent loss of all firearms), plus monetary fines and the permanent no fly list would seem appropriate to me.

  54. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    These days I just leave the flask in the car. I just have to remember to stumble around downtown drinking from it before I get back in the car.