Valentine’s Day 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:

    I’m sure Gym Jordan will get his Weaponizng Govt subcommittee right on this.

    The FBI’s use of an informant to infiltrate Black Lives Matter in Denver during the wave of protests over the 2020 police killing of George Floyd has prompted concern in Congress that the federal agency is once again abusing its powers to harass and intimidate minority groups.

    Another day, another school mass shooting:

    At least three people were killed and several more injured in a shooting at Michigan State University, according to campus police. The suspected attacker died from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

  2. Scott says:

    There are many issues here I don’t see being discussed anywhere:

    Decrying Starlink’s ‘Weaponization,’ SpaceX Cuts Support for Ukrainian Military

    SpaceX will no longer support certain Ukrainian military operations through its Starlink satellite-communications service, the company’s president said on Wednesday, explaining that the tech was “never meant to be weaponized.”

    SpaceX began providing Starlink terminals to Ukraine shortly after Russia invaded in February 2022. The satellite service—along with help from other Western IT companies—helped Ukraine ride out a Russian cyberattack intended to knock Ukraine’s civilian population and government offline. That enduring connectivity has helped distribute aid, medicine, and supplies, and enabled Ukrainians to document and publicize Russian war crimes. And it’s been vital to the Ukrainian military, which uses it for purposes such as communicating with Western experts about equipment upkeep and guiding drone strikes on Russian positions.

    On Wednesday, Shotwell said has taken steps to keep Ukraine from using Starlink to control armed drones and perform other military tasks.

    Musk then tweeted:

    Starlink is the communication backbone of Ukraine, especially at the front lines, where almost all other Internet connectivity has been destroyed.

    But we will not enable escalation of conflict that may lead to WW3.

    Isn’t Musk interfering with US conduct of foreign policy? Making decisions on major issues? Is this the role of a private corporation? Isn’t this an argument for nationalization of a major national capability?

  3. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Once more the good guy with a gun doesn’t show up. And I’m still looking for verification that an armed society is a polite society.

  4. Kylopod says:

    Another Jew-ish freshman House member?

    Republican congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna has said she was raised as a messianic Jew and has Jewish roots, but her extended family refuted the claims and said her grandfather apparently fought on behalf of Nazi Germany, the Washington Post reported Friday.

    Luna is the first Mexican-American to represent Florida. The report also raised questions about some other details of her past such as her claims of a deprived childhood and that she was the victim of a burglary in the middle of the night when at home.

    While campaigning for her seat in Congress, Luna, 33, told Jewish Insider in November that although she identifies as Christian, she was raised by her father as a messianic Jew….

    Luna, who says her father George Mayerhofer was a drug addict, told the Insider at the time “I am also a small fraction Ashkenazi” referring to Jews whose ancestors come from Central or Eastern Europe.

    Her mother, Monica Luna, backed up the claims telling the Washington Post that Mayerhofer “got clean and started attending a messianic Jewish church in Orange County. He brought Anna to services and she buried him to Jewish customs.”

    However, members of her extended family told the Post that Luna’s father was Catholic and that they had never heard of him embracing any form of Judaism. Her grandfather, Heinrich Mayerhofer, moved to Canada from Germany in 1954 and his immigration record, seen by the Post, identified him as Roman Catholic.

    In addition, several members of Luna’s extended family said that, as a teenager in the 1940s, Heinrich Mayerhofer fought in the army of Nazi Germany. One of his sons, Edward Mayerhofer, Luna’s uncle, gave the Washington Post a photo of Heinrich in a Wehrmacht uniform. Experts from the Simon Wiesenthal Center confirmed to the Post that the uniform appeared to be authentic. Edward’s wife Jolanta, and daughter, Nicole, both told the Post that Luna’s grandfather fought for Nazi Germany….

    In addition, though Luna has claimed her father spent time in prison and that his incarceration was a key factor in shaping her childhood in California, there is no record of George Mayerhofer being sent to prison in the state, according to the report.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I made my wife eat her words on V-day one year. When we first got together I told her, “I don’t do V-day, I don’t do B-days, I don’t do X-mas…” etc etc and that if those things were important to her she should just move on to a more appreciative possibility. She later told me that no man had ever been so honest and after that she was not about to let me go.

    Years later a few days before V-day she had a conversation with a co-worker who asked, “What’s your hubby gonna do for you for V-day?” My wife replied, “Not a damned thing.” and then made the mistake of telling me about the conversation. The dye was set. I went to the local florist and had a single rose sent to her. And a healthy heapong of crow to eat.

  6. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Another day, another sacrifice to the NRA from Republican Politicians.
    Thoughts and prayers to the weak, the spineless, the purchased.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: And I’m still looking for verification that an armed society is a polite society.

    Well, dead people never interrupt you. Doesn’t that count?

  8. Mu Yixiao says:


    Isn’t Musk interfering with US conduct of foreign policy? Making decisions on major issues? Is this the role of a private corporation? Isn’t this an argument for nationalization of a major national capability?

    Quite the opposite.

    Starlink provided communications equipment and on-going service at the request of a foreign government (the Pentagon also purchased equipment to send to Ukraine, but that’s a 3rd-party transaction). This is under the umbrella of humanitarian aid.

    When Ukraine started using Starlink services to guide drone attacks, that communications system–and the ongoing service being provided–arguably became part of a weapons system, likely putting it under the umbrella of ITARm (specifically the Export Administration Regulations (EAR)).

    General Prohibition 8
    Under General Prohibition 8, if you export or reexport an item, it may not pass through any of the following countries without a license:

    If Starlink is determined to be part of a weapons system (for example: radar used to guide missiles is considered to be a controlled technology as part of a weapons system), they would be subject to a host of US and international law that could effectively destroy their ability to operate.

    It’s simply prudent for Starlink (N.B. Gwynne Shotwell made the decision, not Musk) to inform Ukraine that humanitarian and normal communications are acceptable uses of the donated service, but direct use in military attacks is not.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    via Anne Laurie:

    Dr. Ian Copeland (PhD)

    Increased excess deaths were caused mostly by COVID-19 not vaccines!!! Look at the graph. If vaccines were the cause, why do COVID-19 deaths and excess deaths match perfectly?!!! And before you cry “corrupt CDC” this is data from South Africa…

    (if a picture is worth a thousand words, this graph is worth a million)

    delthia ricks

    Doctors aren’t immune to political biases when it comes to #Covid. Responses from 400 critical care doctors who identified as politically conservative were 5x more likely than their peers to say they’d treat a hypothetical patient w/ hydroxychloroquine.

    The study that examined doctors attitudes on fringe treatments, also explored views of laypeople on Covid. The report documents how political ideology has spilled into areas unrelated to the principles of liberalism or conservatism. Rightwingers equate vaccination w/ “liberalism”


    The Right’s Anti-Vaxxers Are Killing Republicans
    Since Covid-19 vaccines arrived, the gap in so-called excess deaths between Republicans and Democrats has widened, a new study says.

  10. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    The Starlink story is not getting the attention it should IMHO.
    But it is also important to view it in context.
    Also, in the last few weeks, Musk has been seen with Kushner and MBS at the World Cup, went to Capital Hill to wish McCarthy a Happy Birthday (but scheduled no visits with Democrats), and was seen at the Super Bowl with Murdoch.
    After encouraging his Twitter followers to vote straight Republican in the recent mid-terms, Twitter should no longer be seen as anything more than a far-right-wing media outlet.
    Don’t believe me? The Weaponization Committee’s myopic focus has been on a dubious, and to-date still unclear, NY Post story and the so-called Twitter Files.
    Not on Kushner’s $2B investment from the Saudi’s nor on Trump’s repeated pressure on Twitter to take down posts he didn’t like.
    Murdoch and Musk have agenda’s and Gym Jordan has a Committee to weaponize those agenda’s.
    Aiding Russia’s war crimes, by disabling Starlink, is just a small piece of it.

  11. Scott says:

    @Mu Yixiao: It may be more complicated than that.

    Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX has officially asked the Pentagon to pay for 100% of Ukraine’s access to Starlink, the satellite internet service the billionaire previously said he’d donated to the country, according to documents obtained by CNN. SpaceX also wants the U.S. government to pay for thousands of new Starlink terminals for Ukraine.

    Roughly 85% of the 20,000 Starlink terminals that have been sent to Ukraine were already fully or partially funded by government sources, according to the documents obtained by CNN, while about 30% of the internet service for those terminals was paid for by organizations not affiliated with SpaceX.

    Who funded what and under what conditions the US allowed the export of the terminals is a good question. As well as who is paying for the service and what the terms of service are.

    But what caught my eye is that a billionaire (who has a right to his opinion) states that he will not “enable escalation” as if he should have an operational say in the matter. It’s as though a railroad owner stating that he will not transport tanks to a port for shipment to the Middle East because he doesn’t believe in what the US is doing there.

  12. Michael Cain says:

    It appears that the NATO allies are, as I suggested back around October, increasingly reluctant to either (a) dip too deeply into their own artillery ammunition reserves or (b) substantially increase production of artillery ammunition. Ukraine’s ability to launch a spring/summer counteroffensive will be sharply curtailed if they can’t greatly exceed the current rate of 7,000 rounds of artillery ammunition per day.

  13. Mu Yixiao says:


    It’s as though a railroad owner stating that he will not transport tanks to a port for shipment to the Middle East because he doesn’t believe in what the US is doing there.

    I’d say it’s more akin to a railroad owner saying “I’ll transport tanks to the port, but I won’t allow you to mount guns on a flatbed and help you find targets”.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    The Guardian has a good article about “sky trash”, the probable answer to the supposed mystery about the last three “objects” we shot down. They also report we’ve hauled up the biggest chunk of the payload of the Chinese balloon.

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    Happy VD Day to all!
    And remember kids. Love is fleeting. Herpes is forever!

  16. Joe says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Under promise: Over deliver!

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Alyssa Hadley Dunn

    One of my MSU students was from Sandy Hook. Her first grade teacher was killed. This the second shooting in her own school. She is 21.

    @Joe: 🙂

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: She speaks for herself:

    Shannon Watts

    A survivor of the Sandy Hook School mass shooting in 2012 is a student at Michigan State University: “I am 21-years-old and this is the second mass shooting I’ve lived through. We can no longer allow this to happen. We can no longer be complacent.”

    Short video at the link.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    the abbot of unreason (an archaeologist)

    I have NEVER seen the Republican political and media apparatus this rattled and defensive

    Fox News

    White House triples down on Biden’s false claim Republicans want to cut Social Security, Medicare

    Brandon’s winning this messaging war and they are terrified lmao

    Like, not after Dobbs, not during Trump’s worst scandals, the SOTU gotcha moment is like nothing i’ve ever seen

    A hit dog will holler.

  20. CSK says:

    This obese, duplicitous churl gets more desperate every day:

    Note his spellings: “Momentous” for “mementos” and “mother load” for “motherlode.”

    So far we’ve gone from “the FBI planted the docs” to “they were declassified” to “I declassified them by thinking about it” to “the folders were empty ones I saved as souvenirs.” Did I miss anything? I’m sure I must have.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Here’s my entrance the next time I speak at a men’s conference …

    Fck that shit.

  22. Kathy says:


    Since the GQP made hay trying to tie Biden to “defund the police,” I see no reason not to tie them to defund Social Security, especially since a lot of them are on the record in favor of such a thing.

  23. Andy says:

    There is so much misinformation and bad reporting on the Starlink change. It’s becoming hard for me to believe that some of this isn’t intentional considering how easy it is to find and understand the actual facts and context.

    First of all, Starlink is not “cutting support for the Ukrainian military” – that is just freaking lie.

    What Starlink has done is put a geofence around the service to limit certain uses for Starlink – namely integrating it into long-rage weapons systems that can strike deep into Russia. The context is that Ukraine has gotten very good at cleverly hacking Starlink terminals to use them as guidance and data links for long-range weapons and drones. This is what the new policy is designed to limit. That’s it.

    In short, because the US and other governments are reluctant to give Ukraine long-range weapons, the Ukrainians were creating their own utilizing Starlink to enable long-range guidance that will allow for strikes deep inside Russia. Starlink is stopping that which is entirely consistent with current US policy.


    But what caught my eye is that a billionaire (who has a right to his opinion) states that he will not “enable escalation” as if he should have an operational say in the matter.

    The US (and other countries) attach strings to what they give Ukraine, so what Starlink is doing isn’t that novel. Ukraine can do whatever they want with the terminals, but that doesn’t mean that Starlink has to allow Ukraine to utilize the constellation in whatever way it desires.

    And as Mu pointed out, Starlink was provided as a communication system, not as a weapon guidance system. And there are big-picture concerns that Russia could start striking Starlink satellite constellations or ground stations, which they’d arguably legally be allowed to do if Starlink is going to be used for active weapons guidance.

    Finally, it’s weird to me to criticize Starlink for essentially donating service to Ukraine. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin aren’t donating – they are getting paid by the US government. IMO, the US government should directly contract with Starlink and pay for the support as is the case with every other contractor sending weapons or capabilities to Ukraine. For those who seem perpetually concerned that Musk will cut off Ukraine because he supposedly loves Russia or whatever, a contract with the US government would bind Starlink to provide the capabilities defines in the contract.

    Why this wasn’t done long ago is a mystery to me, but I suspect it would be seen as crossing a Rubicon because Starlink is a system – it’s not gear or ammo that can be transferred. It would be like tasking US military communication satellites to support Ukrainian forces which would be actual US involvement in the war instead of just giving Ukraine weapons.

    @Michael Cain:

    I’ve been beating that horse for months now. Sustainment and the ability to reconstitute forces are likely to be decisive factors in this war, and the west will have to make significant investments in their respective defense industrial bases to meet Ukraine’s needs. It’s nice to see the NATO secretary finally come out and openly admit this.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: And child support extends to age 25 in some jurisdictions.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As much as I admire Shannon’s convictions and heart, no is better than Americans at being complacent. 🙁

  26. Andy says:

    Adam Frisch will run against Boebert again in 2024. Hopefully, Democrats won’t ignore this race like the last one.

  27. Stormy Dragon says:
  28. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: At my last job, any time it was sunny one of the women would announce on Slack that she was going out to catch some VD.

    She meant vitamin D.

    (She was Chinese, her English was excellent, but there were little things she was missing)

  29. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    In what is the perfect DC story, Mike Pence is going to fight a DOJ subpoena because, in his role Presiding over the Senate, he is protected by the “Speech and Debate” clause.
    Previously he has refused to testify to Congress because, as he said, Congress “has no right to my testimony.” Pence said it would establish a “terrible precedent for the Congress to summon a vice president of the United States to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House.”
    Article I, Section 6, Clause 1: specifically talks about Senators and Representatives and Pence seems to have little or nothing to stand on here. IANAL but I bet he will lose. Just the same, it really is the perfect DC story of lack of principals and abject cowardice.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  31. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:
    It’s possible–possible, I say–that Pence is pretending to fight the subpoena so Trump won’t up the attacks on him. Then Pence can say, “Hey, I tried to get out of it.”

    Good luck with that.

  32. Stormy Dragon says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    I’m reminded of one of the flaws in the Constitution as written. The President of the Senate presides over impeachment trials, except for an impeachment of the President, in which case the Chief Justice presides.

    This implies that if the Vice President ever gets impeached, they get to preside over their own trial.

  33. Mu Yixiao says:


    At my last job, any time it was sunny one of the women would announce on Slack that she was going out to catch some VD.

    Way back, when I worked in a school district purchasing department, I was in charge of verifying and okaying teacher reimbursements–know as Direct Pays. I would frequently get calls asking “Can you help me with a DP?”

    umm… depends. Who’s the third?

  34. CSK says:

    According to Rolling Stone, Trump has been polling his advisers about whether he should bring back firing squads, hangings, and guillotines.

    He’s also exploring the possbility of group executions.

  35. Kathy says:


    I’m sure that would be extremely popular. But, really, just putting Benito and his accomplices in a cell would be enough.

  36. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Trump rolled back Obama-era regs on train brakes (which had already been watered down by lobbyists) intended to prevent derailments and oil/chemical spills in populated areas.
    We now have a chemical spill in a populated area.
    Another case of de-regulation helping industry and fuqing everyone else.

  37. Beth says:


    $10 says that Trump will one up Meatball Ron by calling for the execution of Trans women. For the crime of just for existing

  38. Jen says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: I saw the reports about the animal deaths in the area and I just can’t.

    That bag of gas J.D. Vance was on Tucker Carlson squawking about how Sec. Buttigieg is asleep at the wheel, without acknowledging his stupid AF libertarian ideology calls for LESS regulation.

    I am so tired of these hypocrites.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Like all too many, she would have been lauded and celebrated if she had gone one fewer term, or at least announced she wasn’t going to run again earlier. Instead it was months of “psst, psst, psst, what are we going to do about Feinstein!?”

  40. Kathy says:


    You know, that might explain a UFO I saw when I was 8 or 9.

    I recall a clear blue sky, and a very small off-white dot moving slooooowly to one side. A large, derelict balloon floating very high up driven by winds might look just like that from the ground.

    On the other hand, I lack any evidence as to whether aliens have balloons.

  41. Beth says:


    On the other hand, I lack any evidence as to whether aliens have balloons.

    Oh great, now we have to worry about aliens burning down the planet with their wacky gender reveal parties.

  42. gVOR08 says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    Pence seems to have little or nothing to stand on here. IANAL but I bet he will lose.

    Of course he’ll lose. Very slowly. He’s already killed two years, another two might see a GOP prez and AG.

  43. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: In my youth I read Arthur C. Clarke talking about UFOs. He said the sky is full of stuff and if you look up occasionally you’ll see UFOs. Unidentified does not, of course, mean unidentifiable. I did for a few months and saw lots of what I took to be weather balloons. They can be quite striking if they catch the light right. Some dots that eventually resolved into recognizable airplanes. Clarke’s favorite was two dots. They moved around a bit but seemed to maintain fixed distance to each other. He walked toward it and eventually thought he saw a line toward it, walked toward that and found a guy sitting on a bench holding down a winch bolted to the end of the bench with about a quarter mile of light cable out to a very large box kite. I never was sure about a bright white flashing light I saw low on the horizon at night. Flashing and moving erratically. It was in the general direction of an airport. My best guess was a light at the airport visible in a temperature inversion so it seemed to move and sometimes occluded by a tree or building.

    Anyway, try Clarke’s advice. Make it a point to look at the sky. You’ll see stuff.

  44. Kathy says:


    I read that essay a long time ago, but did recall the kite thing.

    At the time, I also did a fair deal of sky watching. These days not so much. At night, light pollution has gotten so bad often you can’t see any stars.

    I wonder how bright light pollution has to be in order to wash out the Moon? I could send the question to Randall Munroe, but I have an inkling of the answer:

    During daytime, with clear skies and the Sun blazing, is as bright as the Earth’s surface gets. Yet, if it’s in the right point on its orbit, you can see the Moon.

    So the answer has to be: brighter than daytime with clear skies.

  45. Jax says:

    @Kathy: My closest experience to a UFO was the Phoenix Lights in the 90’s. I was up on South Mountain Park with some friends, and that was some craaaazy shit. I didn’t realize anybody else saw it until I got home and it was all over the news.

    I was trippin, so it was quite surprising to find out other, more sober people, saw them too. 😛 😛

  46. Stormy Dragon says:


    Oh great, now we have to worry about aliens burning down the planet with their wacky gender reveal parties.

    Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

    There were five sexes on Tralfamadore, each of them performing a step necessary in the creation of a new individual. They looked identical to Billy–because their sex differences were all in the fourth dimension.

    One of the biggest moral bombshells handed to Billy by the Tralfamadorians, incidentally had to do with sex on Earth. They said their flying-saucer crews had identified no fewer than seven sexes on Earth, each essential to reproduction. Again: Billy couldn’t possibly imagine what five of those seven sexes had to do with the making of a baby, since they were sexually active only in the fourth dimension.

    The Tralfamadorians tried to give Billy clues that would help him imagine sex in the invisible dimension. They told him that there could be no Earthing babies without male homosexuals. There could be babies without female homosexuals. There couldn’t be babies without women over sixty-five years old. There could be babies without men over sixty-five. There couldn’t be babies without other babies who had lived an hour or less after birth. And so on. It was gibberish to Billy.