Wednesday’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. MarkedMan says:

    This probably should have gone in yesterday’s China thread, but I got home late last night and the thread appeared dead by the time I saw it.

    There are a couple of unique factors should China go to war with Taiwan. The first is that they haven’t been in a shooting war for two generations. The second is that so many of China’s soldiers would be only children, who are expected to take care of parents and grandparents. Losing these soldiers, or having them come back maimed and needing care themselves, could cause significant unrest. And while it is true that multiple children are more common in poor farming areas, and therefore they could theoretically exempt the only children and still raise an army, the class and wealth dynamics of sending a peasant army off to die while the relatively wealthy egged them on would be potentially even more disruptive.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Terryln Hall was just six years old when her mother, Faith, was fatally shot by a former boyfriend.

    Now, nearly 30 years later, Hall and her sister – along with their uncle – oppose Alabama’s plan to execute the man who killed their mother. Unless a judge or the governor intervenes, Joe Nathan James Jr, 49, will die by lethal injection on Thursday evening at a south Alabama prison.

    “We thought about it and prayed about it, and we found it in ourselves to forgive him for what he did. We really wish there was something that we could do to stop it,” Hall said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.
    “I did hate him. I did. And I know hate is such a strong-feeling word, but I really did have hate in my heart. As I got older and realized, you can’t walk around with hate in your heart. You still got to live. And once I had kids of my own, you know, I can’t pass it down to my kids and have them walk around with hate in their hearts,” she said.
    Hall realizes that asking the state to spare the life of the man who killed her mother may seem counterintuitive, but she is compelled by deeply held beliefs. “I know it may sound crazy. Like, you really want this man to live? But … I just feel like we can’t play God. We can’t take a life. And it’s not going to bring my mom back,” she said.

    (Kay) Ivey’s spokeswoman, Gina Maiola, wrote in an email that the governor “will carefully review all of the facts and information surrounding the case” before deciding that the politics heavily favor death.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I read China property sales could plunge by one-third, analysts say, as crisis deepens this morning and my first thought was, “What the Chinese need just now is a good old fashioned distraction.” I have no idea whether Taiwan would fit the bill or not but I won’t be surprised to see the tail wag the dog.

  4. wr says:

    I’m sure this makes me a terrible person, but when I read yesterday that all the news media announced Tony Dow’s death only to have to retract it when it was discovered that his manager had posted the news on Dow’s website while the actor was still alive, I could only picture the manager turning to his client and asking “Gee, Wally, do you think they’re going to yell at us and stuff?”

  5. Jax says:
  6. Lost in Quebec says:


    I have no idea whether Taiwan would fit the bill or not but I won’t be surprised to see the tail wag the dog.

    A blockade of Taiwan could be calamitous. Just like it was here.

  7. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Lost in Quebec:
    If you need a lighter read after On The Beach, may I recommend his lesser known masterpiece,

    I know I need something lighter when I think about it.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    So our heat wave finally ended yesterday with a little rain to the north and east of us yesterday.

    12.86 inches in St Peters, 7.79 in STL. Thankfully, the Hillbilly Haven was spared the deluge but our high temps are blessedly in the mid 80s now.

  9. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: On the other hand, the One Child policy resulted in a surplus of men (est at 30M) with little prospects of finding mates. That’s a lot of potential cannon fodder.

  10. Mu Yixiao says:


    That number is misleading. A few years ago it came to light that a lot of families living in rural areas simply neglected to register the births of daughters. There are millions of “invisible women”.

  11. Scott says:

    @Mu Yixiao: That’s interesting. Makes one wonder what other misinformation is out there about China, not only to the outside world but internally to its government. Misinformation leads to missed analysis leads to terrible mistakes.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    The big news hit yesterday in WAPO that DOJ is investigating Trump. This was coincident with Garland’s interview with Lester Holt. (Coincident in time only, I believe Garland requested the interview.) I heard a talking head this morning confirm my recollection of what I found most striking, and it was in the interview, not the news. Garland has said all along that they’d investigate the hell out of 1/6 and nail any crimes. The interview with Holt was the first time he said investigate and prosecute 1/6 AND the attempt to overturn the election.

    The same talking head said Garland is having to raid his DOJ budget every way he can to support this unprecedentedly huge investigation. The obvious thing would be to go to congress for a supplemental. One can picture how that would go over. Maybe Biden can quietly help out. After all, TFG took his wall out of the Defense budget.

  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    I had a weird intersection with Tony Dow. I had jumped bail about a month before, gone to Austin, and was still at maximum paranoia. I’m in a live music venue and there’s Wally, two tables away. It’s never good when a paranoid spots something unusual.

    Then it got weirder. A young woman who was with Tony Dow came over to me as I was leaving and said, ‘Listen, I know this sounds crazy, but you are in terrible danger.’ She was sincere. She thought she was psychic and I was not in what you might call an entirely rational state of mind..

    Needless to say this was rocket fuel to my paranoia. Of course later I realized she’d just read me as what I was: a hyper-alert meerkat looking for eagles.

    But I have a question you may be able to answer with your Hollywood knowledge: did the producers know that ‘Beaver Cleaver’ was, um, an indelicate phrase?

  14. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    did the producers know that ‘Beaver Cleaver’ was, um, an indelicate phrase?

    LOL! I’ve wondered that for years!

  15. CSK says:

    Me too. Dirty minds think alike.

  16. Kathy says:


    So, green light for Benito to announce he’s running for the 2024 presidential nomination.

  17. Kathy says:

    The problem is that if the ISS is de-orbited soon, SpaceX won’t have much to do with its manned space systems. Not many billionaires will want to buy space missions to nowhere in particular for no specific purpose, and there’s nowhere else to go.

    Of course, this would give God-Emperor Elon I a clearer path to becoming CEO and largest shareholder of Mars.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: I love that book. One of the few works of fiction that gets what it means to have an engineering outlook

  19. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “But I have a question you may be able to answer with your Hollywood knowledge: did the producers know that ‘Beaver Cleaver’ was, um, an indelicate phrase?”

    I am ashamed to say I have no idea, my only excuse being that I was four years old when it was cancelled…

  20. CSK says:

    Neville Shute (Neville Shute Norway) was an aeronautical engineer.

  21. gVOR08 says:


    So, green light for Benito to announce he’s running for the 2024 presidential nomination.

    Probably. And last month I’d say it had a fair chance of working. Last month Garland was saying they’d follow our investigation of the 1/6 riot wherever it leads. And there seemed to be cutouts between Trumpsky and the militia guys. In the Holt interview he said he’d follow the 1/6 riot AND the attempt to overturn the election wherever they led. IIRC Holt asked what effect Trump declaring would have and Garland replied repeating that they’d follow things wherever they led.

    Atrios likes to say “Don’t see how Donnie Two Scoops wriggles out of this one.” The gag being that he’s been saying it for years now and TFG has wriggled out of everything. This time, I’m starting to think they may finally get him. Seems to me it’s reached the point that either Donny and a whole lot of minions get charged, at least a whole lot of minions get charged, or the GOPs find a way to freeze Garland’s funding. And I think Moscow Mitch is OK with TFG being charged.

  22. EddieInCA says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    My guess is that the writer’s thought it was a great joke, and never expected Broadcast Standards to approve it. My additional guess is that the prudish people doing BS&P in those days had no clue to the different meaning of the word “beaver”, so they thought nothing of it. Had they really known the slang use of the term, there is no way they approve that in 1957.

  23. Mike in Arlington says:

    @gVOR08: I think a lot of republicans would like to see him charged and convicted, so long as they can claim that they had nothing to do with it and denounce it as a politically motivated prosecution. I think they’d welcome his absence from the political scene, if for no other reason, so it becomes easier to run for the republican presidential nomination without having to confront Trump.

  24. CSK says:

    In SNL’s early days, Michael O’Donoghue wanted to do a joke about a creamy dessert topping called “pussy whip.” S&P put the kibosh on that.

  25. Kathy says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    I wonder how much the GQP needs to play to the Cheeto base, and how much they want to see Benito gone or behind bars.

    In the end, it may come down to how many seats they can score in Congress and how many tame judges they can put both in the Supreme Court and the Federal courts. If they decide they need the orange clown, they’ll ask him to hold their noses with his cheeks and plow merrily on.

  26. Mister Bluster says:

    @EddieInCA:..Had they really known the slang use of the term, there is no way they approve that in 1957.

    Yet it was just 5 years later that Hooterville was mentioned on The Beverly Hillbillies for the first time (if we can believe WikiP) and was established as a real TV place on Petticoat Junction in 1963.
    I find it hard to believe that the moral gatekeepers did not know what hooters meant.
    But then I’ve always said that the moral decline in the United States began in 1954 when the words “under God” were added to the Pledge of Allegiance.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: There’s a parody book* somewhere in the universe featuring Leave it to Beaver vignettes in the voices of several celebrated authors. The one written “by” Frederich Nietzsche is full of that particular play on words.

    *Luddite will know the title. He leant it to me years ago. I’m only good at factoids and impressions, not useful information.

  28. Kathy says:

    Three years ago, American Airlines flight 300 from NYC to LA nearly crashed* on takeoff. The NTSB investigation squarely put responsibility on the captain, who used too much left rudder in a crosswind takeoff.

    When there’s a crosswind, the plane can drift to the side. Crosswind landings are strange, spectacular, and you’d swear the plane is about to crash until the last minute (it felt that way the one time I experienced on on a plane). Crosswind takeoffs are far less dramatic, as a plane with wheels on the ground is harder to push to one side as one in the air.

    Point is pilots are trained to deal with such situation, they practice for them, and perform them several times during their careers. This case is odd in having been so badly mishandled the plane rolled to the left, and the wing clipped the ground and took out runway lights.

    *Given the wing clipped the ground, a sign, and some lights, one can argue the plane did crash, albeit non-fatally. Still, damage to the wind was so bad, the plane was scrapped.

  29. Scott says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    But then I’ve always said that the moral decline in the United States began in 1954

    Hey, now. 1954 was the year I was born!

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: It’s possible that the difference was partially that SNL was parody/satire whereas “Beaver” is not. The tendency seems to be for most people to NOT look for double entendre where none is intended.

    Also, not being on the inside may play a role. Large numbers of Benny Hill double entendres simply fall deaf on my ears because I don’t speak British smut. (Also because I’ve never found his act funny, but that’s just who I am. I think lots of standups don’t ever tell any jokes.)

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: On the other hand, they crew did get away with Norfuck and Southern railroad, but the audience missed the joke–3 or 4 times with Jane Curtin finally letting out with an exasperated “Nor FUCK and Southern Railroad; try to keep up, people!”

    It was actually funnier that way than it probably would have been originally.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    CNN Exclusive: Biden administration offers convicted Russian arms dealer in exchange for Griner, Whelan
    After months of internal debate, the Biden administration has offered to exchange Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker serving a 25-year US prison sentence, as part of a potential deal to secure the release of two Americans held by Russia, Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, according to people briefed on the matter.

    Putin is a prick. He won’t go for it.
    I hope I’m wrong.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Coincidence? I think not!

  34. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, the audience missed it because it didn’t register with them. “Norfuck” sounds enough like “Norfolk,” certainly.

  35. Kathy says:

    I must be missing something.

    Democrats in the House introduced a bill setting term limits on Supreme Court justices. (more info here).

    Aside the fact the GQP will filibuster the hell out of this, and that the Static Duo of Sinema and Manchin wouldn’t end the filibuster to save their lives, Article III Section I states:

    “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, ..”

    The emphasized part means, as far as I can see, judges serve at their discretion so long as they are not impeached and removed (presumably for cause). So these are lifetime positions and term limits would be unconstitutional.

    There’s this bit on representative Johnson’s page: “The bill would also preserve judicial independence by ensuring that Supreme Court justices who assume senior status remain fully compensated members of the federal judiciary for life, capable of exercising official duties on and off the bench for as long as they choose.”

    I’m not sure I understand what that means.

    Lastly, any law affecting the SCOTUS can be deemed unconstitutional by -checks notes- the SCOTUS itself.

    I’m not opposed to the idea, but it has to have a slim chance at least.

  36. Kathy says:

    Side note, I accidentally closed chrome while I was composing the post above. I manged to get back the unfinished post by right-clicking next to an open tab and clicking on “restore a closed window.”

    I had no idea one could do that.

    Closed tabs, yes. I do that all the time. But getting back a closed window had never occurred to me.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Well, up where I live in the PNW, their pronunciation is pretty close to identical. Whenever there’s a misunderstanding in communication, there’s almost always a schwa that can be blamed.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: My take is that it’s a grander, more kabuki-ish version of the briefly popular “let’s put Federal abortion clinics in National Parks” from a week or two ago.

    Also, I open closed windows all the time, but it’s by accident, so I don’t know what I’m doing to accomplish it.

  39. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Same up here in New Enland: Suffolk = Suffuck, Norfolk = Norfuck.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: It’s politics as performative theater, designed to get one’s opponents to vote against a “popular” (in quotes because what is popular to the sponsors isn’t always so popular to the hoi poloi) reform. I would say it means nothing except for the fact that we are well into the midterms election cycle.

    Not that that makes it mean something, only that it might cost one side or the other a few votes.

  41. CSK says:

    The RNC has told Trump that if he runs for prez, they’ll stop paying his legal bills. They’ve covered 1.73 million dollars worth since Oct. 2021.

  42. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I suppose it could be. But what’s the point of proposing a law that is or seems to be unconstitutional on its face? It’s a bit like proposing a bill to force Santa Claus to increase Xmas gifts by 50%, or mandating the Sun dim its radiation to stop global warming.

  43. dazedandconfused says:


    One that accident, just for perspective, that 37 degree roll immediately after breaking ground? The steepest bank you’ve probably ever seen riding an airliner like that is around 20 degrees.

    Whole lot of shorts were filled that day.

  44. Gustopher says:


    Lastly, any law affecting the SCOTUS can be deemed unconstitutional by -checks notes- the SCOTUS itself.

    That’s the only real problem.

    The text of the constitution can be itself interpreted in countless ways. “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour” merely specifies one reason to remove their office, etc.

    Besides, who among us is good? For a more originality interpretation, one might cite Hobbes.

    One could also leave them in office but strip them of duties after some time period.

    Adding feats of strength to their duties (votes of concurrence or dissent must be made by the justice carrying designated stone slabs from the base of the Supreme Court steps to the top) sound appealing, but might violate the ADA.

  45. Kathy says:


    A 20 degree bank under normal conditions is extreme. This one, well, that’s how you get the wing to hit the ground.

    It reminded me a lot of a Spanair crash in 2008. The cause was different (taking off without deploying flaps and slats), but the crash profile was similar: takeoff, bank, crash.

  46. Kathy says:


    I’d like to see Thomas given The Stone of Triumph

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: It’s that filthy minded schwa, I tell. He’s always causing problems like this. Nothing but a vulgar little hoodlum.

  48. Jax says:
  49. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    I believe the proposal around Supreme Court Justices relies on some flexibility in the English language. From the linked article:

    “• Preserve life tenure by ensuring that senior justices retired from regular active service continue to hold the office of Supreme Court justice, including official duties and compensation; and

    • Require the Supreme Court justice who most recently assumed senior status to fill in on the Court if the number of justices in regular active service falls below nine.”

    So you see, it’s not running up against tenure, just active vs senior judges. After all, nothing in the Constitution says the judges have to be judging cases. They can still get paid and “hold the office.” Wink, wink.

    Full disclosure, I would LOVE it if something like this actually happened, but it won’t. But they probably need some better euphemisms if they ever expect it to pass.

    I have wondered in the past if it might be more fruitful to think along the lines of the circuit courts which have a lot of judges, but a random selection of them can hear any case. IE, let a President appoint a judge every 2 years as in this proposal, and they serve for life (or voluntary retirement, or impeachment, just like today), but any case that comes up will only be heard by 9 randomly determined judges currently serving. No term limits or senior judges, just the same mechanism that has been working at the Federal Circuit court level for 200+ years. It would be much harder to argue that it’s un-Constitutional because of that, and nothing in the Constitution specifies the number of justices or that all justices (at the “Supreme and inferior courts” as the Constitution puts it, has to hear every case.

    It would also have the advantage of PARTIALLY getting around the court-packing argument as there wouldn’t be a sudden increase in the number of justices by a single President or administration. It would occur gradually as a judge is appointed every two years (but they won’t retire that frequently, at least at first). Eventually some stable number would be hit, probably around 15. And by separating the appointments from retirements and deaths we would get rid of a great deal of the political nonsense McDonnell is so expert in for court appointments. A President gets 2 appointments per 4 year term. Deal with it.

    It would also stop some of the court-shopping and timing special interests engage in. Today they can figure out circuit will be the most favorable, which judge will review the initial application to the court, and based on the current court makeup have a very good idea of which cases the court will accept. So they can aim their test cases around things like abortion rights (to pull out a completely not random example) for when the court is most favorable to them-it may have been decided this year, but they started the cases a few years ago to get them to the court now. But if they don’t know which 9 justices will actually hear the case it should shut down some of that nonsense.

    Anyway, the whole concept makes far too much sense to me, so it will never happen.

  50. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    but any case that comes up will only be heard by 9 randomly determined judges currently serving

    18 justices per year: 9 to rule on cases chosen for a hearing in the last term, 9 to chose cases to rule on in the next term (without knowing who those 9 justices are going to be since they haven’t been picked yet).

    Necessary to avoid cherry picking cases depending on your side’s luck in getting picked this year

  51. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    That would be “The Beaver Papers”” and it’s sequel “The Beaver Papers 2” by Jacobs and Jones. At least one of them started out writing for National Lampoon, which makes sense.

    KJR in Seattle did a series of radio skits parodying the Beav. IIRC, it was titled leave it to Beaver 1984, and revolved around the boys still living at home, June Cleaver having an affair with Eddie Haskell, and similar tasteless bits.

    WTF? I can’t remember what I walked into the room for, and I remember this???

  52. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    It’s tough getting old.

  53. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I didn’t see that particular routine. However, I lived in Tidewater for 6 years, and everyone there – everyone – pronounces “Norfolk” as “NAW-fuck”. There’s very little stress on the second syllable, but that’s the syllable used. If you snicker at it, you’ll get cold stares to the effect of “are you 12?”

    That’s the sort of thing can make a joke fall flat.