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. Sleeping Dog says:

    We’re in Watkins Glen and it struck me about the number of places in the snow belt that have roads with 10-15% grades (and even steeper driveways), while large parts of the Sunbelt are nice and flat.

  2. Jen says:

    A few weeks ago, we had a discussion on I think an open forum about reading legal documents, particularly real estate ones, before signing.

    This is an error for the ages:

    Copy-paste error results in Nevada homebuyer getting 87 properties for the price of one home

    RENO, Nev. – A Nevada homebuyer literally got more than she bargained for after ending up with an entire swath of lots in a subdivision in the west-central part of the state – while buying a single-family home.

    The buyer was originally purchasing a single-family home in Sparks, Nevada, valued at $594,481. However, the Washoe County (Nevada) Assessor and Washoe County Recorder’s Office had records showing the buyer gained not just the property she was buying but also 84 extra house lots – and two additional parcels – in Toll Brothers’ Stonebrook development just northeast of Reno.

    The properties include several home sites that have already been built on and sold. At least 64 of the lots were put under the buyer’s name as of Saturday.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:


    The Reno Gazette Journal has reached out to Toll Brothers for comment. The RGJ has also reached out to a Sparks resident with the same name as the buyer and received a “no comment” response with a smiley face emoji.

    Grinning like the cat that ate the canary, I’d bet.

  4. mattbernius says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Welcome to the Finger Lakes (and my extended “backyard”)! Do you need any Winery or Food recommendations?

  5. Jen says:

    Trump is now on Truth Social blabbering about how the FBI planted evidence, which we can all presume is confirmation that they found whatever it was they were looking for.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @mattbernius: Finger Lakes! Brewery Ommegang!

  7. Kylopod says:

    Trump expected to testify today in New York AG probe

    Hey, Donald, just a little advice….

    If you’re guilty and you know it, plead the 5th
    If you’re guilty and you know it, plead the 5th
    If you’re guilty and you know it and your mouth will likely blow it
    If you’re guilty and you know it, plead the 5th

  8. CSK says:

    If Trump is innocent, surely he’ll show us the search warrant, right? Right?

  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    He may or may not have a copy of the warrant…but he certainly has a receipt for what was taken, which would be just as informative.
    He will release that right after he releases his taxes.

  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Inflation slowed significantly in July, so it appears the world is not ending after all.
    8.5% after a peak of 9.1% in June, mostly on falling energy prices.
    A couple months ago I said that I thought inflation was slowing, and someone responded with a bunch of chicken little blah, blah, blah.
    Wonder what the Ultra-MAGAt’s are going to scream about now?

  11. CSK says:

    Take this with a grain of salt:

    According to Eric Trump, Donald Trump has shattered all his previous fundraising efforts in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago search.

    Maybe it’s true. I wouldn’t be surprised.

  12. Scott says:

    @CSK: My spam was overrun yesterday by fundraising emails from Trump and Trump cronies.

  13. CSK says:

    My sympathies. I must be very lucky. I never get them.

  14. Jen says:

    @CSK: I have no doubt that he did raise a ton of money off of that. His minions are utterly incensed, which is equal parts hilarious and pathetic as he broke the law.

    @Scott: I didn’t receive any yesterday, in fact until late July I’d never received anything and on 7/28 I got a text that from “Team Trump – Save America” stating that they were updating their voter data and needed me to fill out the “official Trump Voter Verification Canvass.” This was exceedingly strange to me and I cannot figure out how they got my cell number.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’ve never gotten anything from trump either.

    @Jen: His minions are utterly incensed, which is equal parts hilarious and pathetic

    There’s a sucker born every minute and trump likes to take them for a ride.

  16. CSK says:
  17. Kathy says:

    Today’s Benito joke is shamelessly stolen from Babylon 5:

    Cheeto lawyer 1: You know, our client has a lot of enemies in the government.

    Cheeto lawyer 2: He has a lot of enemies everywhere. That’s what he’s best at.

  18. CSK says:

    A bumper crop of good pieces in today, by Juliette Kayyem, Tim Alberta, David A. Graham, and David Frum.

  19. Scott says:

    I caution myself not to get much hope up and not to get excited but….

    I know the Biden administration is very cautious about providing weaponry that can reach into Russian sovereign territory but apparently they consider Crimea to be occupied Ukrainian territory.

    My opinion back in February was that Russia has to be beaten back to the borders. My opinion is still that. I hope that the US stance is the same regardless of what is said publicly.

    Crimea airfield blast was work of Ukrainian special forces, official says

    At least three explosions rocked the Safy air base, in a coastal area presumed by the Russians to be so safe that videos showed startled beachgoers at a nearby resort scrambling for cover. The Crimean Peninsula was annexed by Moscow in 2014 and is a popular vacation destination for Russians.

  20. Scott says:


    For some in the wooly precincts of the MAGA right, the call to arms was literal. As Vice reported, some Trumpists were explicit: “‘Civil War 2.0 just kicked off,’ one user wrote on Twitter, with another adding, ‘One step closer to a kinetic civil war.’ Others said they were ready to take part: ‘I already bought my ammo.’” Steve Bannon, who was pardoned for bilking Trump supporters who thought they were building a wall, declared that “This is war” and called the FBI the “Gestapo.”

    As I pointed out just last week. teenagers on Facebook have been arrested and jailed for making similar threats.

  21. Michael Reynolds says:

    Everyone OK after the MAGA uprising yesterday? There were as many as, maybe, twelve of them waving signs on a freeway overpass in Palm Beach.

  22. CSK says:

    Guess what? Trump pled the fifth, after saying only guilty people do that.

  23. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I read that there were two dozen, but yeah, I was quaking in my boots.

  24. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I think the WaPo interviewed a few of them, several were women age 85+. They are hardier than I am, I have been confined to the A/C during NH’s recent heat wave of 90-plus degree days.

  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    The hilarious thing is that Trump would not allow any of those people into Mar-a-Lago…ever.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    This was exceedingly strange to me and I cannot figure out how they got my cell number.

    It may be cheaper and easier to simply send out texts to every potentially available number in a specific area code. Particularly on the East Coast where area codes can cover fairly small geographic areas. I don’t get Republican campaign appeals on my 971 phone number because the area is pretty relentlessly blue.

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    It seems to be a common feature on the right – leaders with contempt for their followers and followers who love being despised, so long as they are despised by a loud, vulgar male who pretends to share their hatreds. Punching down and sucking up is the Republican way.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “…after saying only guilty people do that.”

    Well, he would know, wouldn’t he?

  29. Neil Hudelson says:

    FWIW, I’ve read a lot of military analysts cast doubt that it was Ukrainian special forces. The Ukrainians have a good reason to want Russia to think their black ops could be anywhere at anytime, but (from what I’ve read) it is more likely to have been a missile strike or an extremely lucky drone strike.

    I can’t find the link now, but there was an article yesterday in a foreign policy rag pointing out that Russia has had a recent history of stupidly stockpiling ammunition next to jets, for ease of loading. A lucky drone bomb explodes uncovered ordinance, which drops flaming debris on the next pile of ordinance, eventually daisy-chaining to the fuel depots.

    ETA: Even if it was a missile or even a lucky drone strike, it still tells Russia that Ukraine can strike hundreds of kilometers behind the front lines. Russia’s already stretched troops are going to be pulled to the breaking point.

  30. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I eagerly await the rationalizations from the Trump Fan Club.

  31. Jen says:

    I guess he IS capable of learning. When it benefits him, of course.

    “I once asked, ‘If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?’ Now I know the answer to that question,” Trump wrote in a statement on his website.

  32. Joe says:

    @CSK: You don’t need the fan club as this came from his very self:

    I have absolutely no choice because the current Administration and many prosecutors in this Country have lost all moral and ethical bounds of decency.

    In sum, he is the arbiter of who he has to respond to and that does not include any authority he has determined to be adverse. This is another iteration of “above” the law since he gets to choose what law enforcers he has to answer to. I think that will work pretty well for his base.

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: There need be no rationalizations from the trumpers. The raid was manifestly unjust and outrageous simply on its own. The trumpers are Republicans and the Republican Party is a Jim Crow party. In such an ideology, the police have two primary functions: enforce the social hierarchy by violence and harassment against those who get above themselves, and protect the ruling class. They are most certainly NOT supposed to apply the rules to that ruling class. After all, the rules exist for the benefit of the ruling class and so, ipso facto, if a rule inconveniences a member of the elite, it must be ignored or changed. Any law enforcement agencies that seek to apply those rules to the rulers themselves are, well, getting above themselves.

    I’m not being theoretical here. Have you seen any attempt whatsoever at an explanation on legal grounds why the raid was illegal? I haven’t. Everyone, from McCarthy to the trumper that tried to engage me in conversation in the auto shop waiting room yesterday, take it as a given that any law enforcement agency acting against Trump simply must be going rogue. The proof? They are acting against Trump.

  34. CSK says:

    I agree, but what I meant was rationalizations with respect to Trump taking the fifth, after famously stating back in 2016 that only criminals take the fifth.

    His lawyers probably convinced him to take the fifth rather than lie under oath, which they knew he would do.

  35. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    It looks like people have stopped commenting on the Mar-a-Lago raid post from yesterday, so I’ll post these two observations here.
    First: the blatant and hypocritical flop from accusing Clinton of Treason, to “mishandling Classified Info is no big deal”, is so far beyond reason that the Press really ought to examine it’s own role in the spreading of propaganda/bullshit.
    Second: it’s not just the loony toons on the overpass in WPB…even mainstream GOP’ers are backing Trump before even minor details are available, yelling fascism over what no serious person denies is a legal search warrant attained with probable cause, and threatening to defund Federal Law Enforcement. No less than the Minority Leader of the House went so far as to threaten the USAG. Have no doubt…Republicans are actively and aggressively choosing fealty to the former guy over the Constitution. These are not Patriots.

  36. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Eric Trump on Fox: “I know the white house as well anyone. I know the system. This did not happen without Joe Biden’s explicit approval.”

    Twitter: thanks for confessing how your father’s administration politicized the DOJ, but news flash you moron, that’s not how it’s supposed to work, and just because your dad ran a highly corrupt administration does not mean Biden is.

  37. Matt Bernius says:

    It’s funny, I don’t think about Ommagang as Finger Lakes (though it’s a great stop). Finger Lakes Breweries I highly recommend include Lucky Haire, Big Alice, and Other Half.

    Wineries include Ravines (I think one of the best wineries in the FL, not to mention the US), Hector (which is a sleeper), and Trestle 31.

    Cider’s another great option here. The FL Cider House near Ithaca has a great selection of its own Ciders and one from others. Black Diamond is an amazing cider place, but they keep tough hours.

    Also, there are a lot of great creameries and cheese places. Lively Run is a favorite of mine.

    And if anyone gets up to Penn Yan there is Seneca Farms, an amazing Fried Chicken place.

  38. Barry says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: “Wonder what the Ultra-MAGAt’s are going to scream about now?”

    The press still hates Biden job creation numbers.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Matt Bernius: Some friends and I are talking about doing a Finger Lakes brewery tour in the fall. I’ll keep your recommendations in mind. And if you ever find yourself in B’more, I can recommend a few of my own.

    I really got a taste for cider when I lived in upstate NY (Orange County). Will definitely investigate when I’m up there.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Well, he would if they were FBI agents with a search warrant.

  41. CSK says:

    According to, an informant told the FBI what documents Trump was hiding and where he had them stashed.


  42. Scott says:

    @CSK: Let’s hope that these revelations lead to lots of speculation as to who the culprit is with attendant finger-pointing and recriminations.

  43. CSK says:

    Well, it would have to be someone living at Mar-a-Lago, would it not? Or at least someone there every day who was one of Trump’s circle.

    It would be funny if it were Barron.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: I read a lot of people pointing the fickle finger of fate at Meadows.

  45. CSK says:

    If Trump removed classified documents from the White House, he broke a law he signed in 2018 making that a felony.

    I guess it slipped his mind.

  46. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t really care who was the snitch. I just want to watch a circular firing squad.

  47. CSK says:

    I know that Meadows will probably rat out Trump to the Jan. 6 committee, but how would Meadows know where the docs were stashed at Mar-a-Lago?

  48. Jen says:

    @CSK: I find it very hard to believe that Melania is around enough, or has a sufficient number of f&%ks to give, to have that information, but I could be wrong! Could have been any number of people who are currently under the microscope.

    “FBI decision-makers in Washington and Miami thought that denying the former president a photo opportunity or a platform from which to grandstand (or to attempt to thwart the raid) would lower the profile of the event, says one of the sources, a senior Justice Department official who is a 30-year veteran of the FBI.”

    Well *that* didn’t turn out as planned…(seriously, if someone really thought that any part of this would ‘lower the profile of the event,’ that person needs to get out more).

    This part remains the most amusing to me:

    (In response to the Hillary Clinton email scandal, Trump himself signed a law in 2018 that made it a felony to remove and retain classified documents.)

  49. JohnSF says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Unfortunately this side of the Big Pond, it’s 9.4% and rising.

    High probability of hitting 15% by early 2023.
    We are more affected by natural gas prices; European futures market now standing 100 times greater then this time last year.

    Also, agricultural prices, including impact of Ukraine supply esp. on sunflower oils, and the hot dry summer potential impact on crop yields this year.

    Plus impact of Brexit on labour markets and import prices, slide down of £ exchange rate, pandemic effect both national and on global supply chains.
    All in all, rosy it ain’t.

    And as I repeatedly say: “Winter is coming.”
    This winter Putin will try to break the economies of Europe.
    It’s his last real hope of any sort of “victory”.

    Not merely against Ukraine, but one of the base-level motivators of that invasion: his profound animosity to the entire European political/economic sphere, and the prospect of first Ukraine, then Russia being brought within its influence.

  50. CSK says:

    He probably had no idea what he was signing. Someone stuck a paper in front of him and he scribbled his signature to it.

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: People talk. Maybe Meadows is listening. Of course, that would be hearsay but the FBI would then know who to talk to.

    Who knows, this is all baseless speculation, which after all is what the internet is for. Right?

  52. Mu Yixiao says:

    The plot thickens.

    Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania says that the FBI has confiscated his cellphone.

    Perry, in an exclusive statement, told Fox News on Tuesday that while traveling with his family earlier in the day, he was approached by three FBI agents who handed him a warrant and requested that he turn over his cellphone.

    And, of course, the irony:

    “My phone contains info about my legislative and political activities, and personal/private discussions with my wife, family, constituents, and friends. None of this is the government’s business.”

  53. Matt Bernius says:

    @MarkedMan: One place to consider staying is Grist Iron Brewing with is a pretty good brewery AND a motel:

  54. Matt Bernius says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    And again, as part of that warrant, Perry was informed what the investigation and potential crimes it was related to. He could opt to release that information.

  55. CSK says:

    Oh, indeed. The motto should be: “We live for baseless speculation.”

    Seriously, I’d love to know who the informant was.

  56. CSK says:

    Nah, I don’t think it was Melania, either. As you say, she has very few fucks to give. In any case, she occupies her days reading fashion magazines and doing Pilates–what a vacuous existence–and in any case probably has very little to do with her husband, for which I can hardly blame her.

    On the other hand, perhaps she knows that the gravy train is coming to an end and she wants to get in a little revenge for Stormy et al. before she makes her great escape with Barron in tow.

  57. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Matt Bernius:


    I’m curious if this is tied into the Trump warrant, or if it’s a completely different issue.

  58. Jen says:

    @CSK: OTOH, she didn’t want to be First Lady last time around, it’s entirely possible she’s thinking “oh h3ll to the no, I am NOT doing that again…how do I stop this? Oh, he can’t be President again if he’s violated that law? Well, would you be interested in knowing that…”

    Or who knows, maybe Trump decided not to pay a contractor doing renovations what was due, and this is the result.

    We’ll never know. When you make as many enemies as he has, it can be hard to narrow down who might have had the motive & opportunity to do this.

  59. Kathy says:


    That woudl be good.

    Failing that, it must have been someone concerned enough for their country to want to keep classified info away from an unpredictable moron. That rules out most Republicans.

    So, maybe one of his Secret Service detail? maybe more than one?

  60. wr says:

    @Kathy: “So, maybe one of his Secret Service detail? maybe more than one?”

    You mean the brave heroes who deleted all their texts after Jan 6 so that no one could ever see just how valiantly they were fighting to protect our democracy?

  61. MarkedMan says:

    @Matt Bernius: A brewery and a hotel! Sheer genius!

  62. CSK says:

    Tony Ornato took a position in the Miami bureau shortly after Trump departed the White House. I don’t think that was a coincidence. He was a big yes-man for Trump.

  63. dazedandconfused says:


    I will guess the informant is a nobody, a clerk or staff assistant of some kind. The inner circle is personally and financially vested in the survival of Trump Inc, the hired help isn’t. Trump is a jackass who throws tantrums and dishes. The boss employees everywhere dream of…in context of an approaching bus.

  64. Matt Bernius says:

    Oh the irony:

    There are not many people who know exactly why FBI agents searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday. The FBI knows, certainly, and the former president and his attorneys likely have a good sense as well, given that they saw the search warrant. Everyone else is operating on what’s been revealed by Trump’s team and public reporting: The FBI search was largely or entirely a function of the investigation into Trump’s retention of documents after leaving the White House.

    We know that he did, by his own admission. Earlier this year, a number of boxes of material were turned over to the National Archives. Included in that material were some that were classified. On Monday, the FBI removed another dozen boxes, with speculation rampant that more of that material was similarly restricted.

    If Trump is found to have violated federal law in removing and retaining classified documents without authorization, he could be convicted of a felony punishable by five years in prison. And that conviction would be a felony carrying that punishment because of a law signed by President Donald Trump.

  65. CSK says:

    That’s certainly true about the employees. But would they know what the documents were and where they were stashed?

    I seem to recall that Trump forbade any of the White House maids from picking up his things in his bedroom.

  66. CSK says:

    @Matt Bernius:
    Jen and I were snickering about this upthread.

    I’m sure he never read what he was signing.

  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: All in good time, Grasshopper. All in good time.

  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr: His SS detail might have had nothing to do with it other than turning in their old cells when told to. Not to mention he might well have gotten a whole new SS detail now that he is no longer President. If I thought about it I can probably come up with a few more scenarios where a concerned SS Agent might have done his patriotic duty and actually upheld his oath to defend the Constitution.

  69. CSK says:

    I sure hope so.

    By the ways, the MAGAs are really raving about this. Their latest theory is that the magistrate who signed the search warrant is being blackmailed by the FBI because he was one of Jeffrey Epstein’s clients.

  70. charon says:


    The old Newsweek went bust. Some right wing crank bought the name, but the site really has no credibility, that could well be Trumpist disinfo.

  71. CSK says:

    If it is Trump disinfo–which I doubt–the MAGAs are super-enraged by it. Newsweek is a Commie socialist RINO rag!!!!!

  72. Sleeping Dog says:


    Thanks, we left this morning and are now gazing at Lake Champlain.

  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I guess they have forgotten that trump was a “friend of Jeffrey Epstein” client as well.

  74. charon says:


    The specific journalist the scoop was given to does have some credibility, and its common for flaky sites to mix in a few legitimate pieces for credibility. Still, just a tip given to one source – in any case, its likely someone rolled anyway.

    Now, there is similar reporting at Axios.

  75. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m hoping we eventually learn who it was and why, and it turns out to be something completely petty.

    – Barron annoyed by some teenage boy thing
    – A Secret Service agent pissed off that the boss couldn’t be bothered to sign a birthday card for his kid
    – Anyone who heard Trump discussing their 12 year old daughter
    – The guy at the omelet bar, who was bothered that he had to overcook eggs.

    I can see any of them knowing things because I can see Trump not considering them important enough to not bother talking in front of.