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. de stijl says:

    One thing I find interesting is that none of the excuses for Trump have stuck. There is no coherent, plausible excuse path determined yet. It’s all ad hoc.

    They were spamming excuse after excuse at the wall to see what stuck and none of them did.

    As a consequence, the pushback seems splintered and disjointed. Nobody knows the narrative yet. The ad hoc approach failed. It looked desperate. It looked flimsy. It looked ludicrous.

    Were the documents declassified by Trump edict, or were they planted by agents of the Deep State? They had cognitively contradictory excuses. It was a PR disaster. There was no narrative beyond a raw victimization pity beg.

    They are desperate.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    After western US states failed to reach agreements to reduce water use from the beleaguered Colorado River, the federal government stepped in on Tuesday, issuing cuts that will affect two states and Mexico.

    Officials with the Bureau of Reclamation declared a “tier 2” shortage in the river basin as the drought continues to pummel the American west, pushing its largest reservoirs to new lows. The waning water levels, which have left dramatic bathtub rings in reservoirs and unearthed buried bodies and other artifacts, continue to threaten hydroelectric power production, drinking water, and agricultural production.

    “The system is approaching a tipping point,” the Bureau of Reclamation commissioner, M Camille Calimlim Touton, said during a news conference on Tuesday, adding that urgent action was required. “Protecting the system means protecting the people of the American West.”

    The new cuts will reduce Arizona’s water share by 21%, Nevada’s by 8% and Mexico’s by 7%, but officials are concerned more reductions will be needed. The cuts will place officials in those states under extraordinary pressure to plan for a hotter, drier future and a growing population.

    The Colorado River provides water to 40 million people across seven states in the American west as well as Mexico and helps feed an agricultural industry valued at $15bn a year. The sprawling system provides water to Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, California, Nevada and Arizona before it flows into Mexico.

    It’s gonna get a lot worse before it gets better. Assuming it can get better.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The mother of a Delaware man who shot himself to death after driving into a US Capitol barricade over the weekend says she believes he was struggling with brain trauma from growing up playing football.

    Richard Aaron York III’s mother, Tamara Cunningham, said she suspects his past as a high school football player left him with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain condition colloquially known as CTE. Some football players develop CTE because of repeated head blows that are common to the sport, and York had a number of concussions during his playing days, she said.

    “Something was going on for a while,” Cunningham told the Guardian in an interview Tuesday. “And it was progressively getting worse.”

    A CTE diagnosis can only be definitively made with a postmortem brain autopsy. Cunningham said she had requested one from a private doctor as well as the local coroner’s office but was sure she would be able to schedule such a procedure.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US labor leaders say underfunding at federal agency has ‘reached crisis stage’

    Union officials fear that the overstretched NLRB won’t be able to handle the surge in union activity, giving corporations the upper hand

    Republican control of budgets keeps bearing fruit for corporations years later.

  5. DK says:

    @de stijl: Yup. Self-own by the stable genius. Nobody even needed to know about the search yet. The DOJ wanted this to be kept quiet. Leaks aside, it’s possible Trump’s legal team could have privately worked out some deal with the DOJ: everything is back in the goverment’s hands now, let’s drop this.

    But Treason Trump and his crime family just couldn’t help themselves.

    It’s an unjustified witch hunt banana republic break-in raid! No classified documents! Defund Law enforcement! Destroy the FBI! The FBI planted classified documents! Actually, Trump pre-emptively declassified the documents the FBI planted! Release the warrant! Don’t release the warrant! Okay, but Trump didn’t personally pack anything! They were overclassified! You can find the nuclear codes on your phone or something, so who cares? But Obama! But Hillary! Don’t blame us for the anti-FBI violence, we want to lower the temperature!

    Incoherent, desperate clownery. In process, Trump and all his excuse-makers (the WSJ, David Brooks, Taibbi, Ron DeFascist, Yang, Hannity, Carlson, Glenn Greenfraud, George Will, the normally sober David French, a bevy of Republican officeholders) have all been made to look like fools. Or even bigger fools, in the case of most. Good!

  6. Kathy says:

    To paraphrase an unfunny joke: Benito is making treason look bad.

  7. Kathy says:

    American Airlines has placed an order for 20 Overture supersonic jets with Boom.

    Given that Virgin Atlantic, Japan Airlines, and United have placed orders or invested in Boom, I’ve a hard time seeing much significance in AA’s order. Oh, the news mentions they’ve paid an non-refundable deposit. We’re not told for how much, nor the terms. I think it’s more symbolic than real.

    I won’t got into the many issues around Overture’s development (some are at the link), but rather will remind everyone that plenty of airlines placed orders for the Concorde back in the day. A grand total of two (2) ever operated the type (four if you count short-term wet leases by Singapore and Braniff). So, the actuality of such orders depends on what Boom actually comes up with, how much it costs to acquire and operate, etc.

    Oh, and Concorde was a joint project by France and the UK. Their governments pretty much made British Airways and Air France take delivery and operate the plane. Boom has no such clout.

  8. Scott says:

    @Kathy: You know far more about this subject than I do but I don’t know. This is a marketing plan at this point. I read somewhere else that the engines haven’t even been picked yet (which drives design) and that they went with 4 engines (while all trends are less engines).

    One of the issues that killed the Boeing SST was the effect on the ozone layer. Is that no longer an issue?

  9. CSK says:

    I can’t link to the actual review of Jared’s book in the NYTimes, but this will give you a flavor of it.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    Here’s the Times’ link

    In its lack of self-awareness, Jared Kushner’s book title matches its content, our critic writes.

    Probably all you need to know.

  11. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: That’s a helluva review.

    A sample, for those w/o a NYT subscription:

    This book is like a tour of a once majestic 18th-century wooden house, now burned to its foundations, that focuses solely on, and rejoices in, what’s left amid the ashes: the two singed bathtubs, the gravel driveway and the mailbox. Kushner’s fealty to Trump remains absolute. Reading this book reminded me of watching a cat lick a dog’s eye goo.

  12. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @Jen:
    Thanks, both of you. I can’t imagine who’ll buy this dreck.

  13. Mimai says:

    Elementary, middle, and high schools are back in session (for the most part). Lots of excitement and drama, natch.

    Peer group affiliations are of upmost importance. It’s interesting watching the children in my life navigate these. Who am I? Who are they? Is there a we?

    It’s also interesting to reflect on my own history in this domain. And then to reflect on my reflection — memory is constructive (and often self-serving) after all.

    What identities did I sample? What groups did I affiliate with, reject out of hand, aspire to, etc? And what, if anything, are the threads connecting past to present.

    These are some of the things I’ve been noodling lately.

  14. Stormy Dragon says:

    New water cuts coming for Southwest as Colorado River falls into Tier 2 shortage

    Prediction: AZ GOP ends up running on refusing to comply with the water restrictions and claiming “the Democrats want to take away your water”. If this works (and it probably will because rural Arizonans won’t want to accept the cuts), this results in a situation where large amounts of water is being stolen from the Colorado just below Glenn Canyon until Hoover Dam and the Central Arizona Project Canal run dry and all the farms in Southern Arizona are destroyed.

    Which will be blamed on a globalist conspiracy.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yup, the cat licking a dog’s eye goop line is a classic, the review should be memorable simply for that.

    Most politician’s books are awful, but typically among their supporters, someone organizes a bulk purchase, so the book appears near the top of the NYT and other’s book lists. Who’d do that for Jared?

  16. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Well, no one. Jared appears to be universally despised. The MAGAs hate him, and so does everyone else.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yeah, Jared is one of the few people in the world, that when they enter the room, their dog gets up and leaves rather than wag their tail.

  18. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    That made me laugh.

    Or it could be that the dog whimpers, flattens its ears, and then squirms under the nearest sofa to hide.

  19. Kathy says:


    You know, I haven’t heard much about damage to the ozone layer since the mid-80s. I forget even if it was the exhaust itself, or the altitude where the fuel was burned. Concorde flew higher than other commercial jets, 60,000 ft. vs 30-40,000. This puts it within the ozone layer.

    What killed the Boeing 2707 was the government stopped subsidizing its development. Later when Concorde failed to gain any orders except for those from BA ad AF, and when it was barred from supersonic travel over land, it looked like the right decision.

    It’s also worth remembering Boom is a startup with limited capital and resources. I assume investors and the airlines involved understand they’re investing in R&D, not on a finished product. Back when it launched, Boom planned for a Mach 2+ twin engine design. We’re at Mach 1.7 and four engines. Who knows whether that’s what Overture will really be.

  20. Kathy says:


    It depends on how trumpy Jared or his owner really are. $2 billion Saudi dollars can buy him the top spot on the best seller list.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’ll get better after the orange and grapefruit trees they’ll plant in the Yakima Valley start producing, but it’ll be a while, yet.

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Ouchies! That’s gonna leave a mark.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I dunno. But I will say that there are several books where reading a review in a good magazine has provided enough information to replace the need to actually read the book.

    Jared’s would certainly be one of them except that I’ve no desire to read the book at all. Jen’s excerpt exceeded my informational needs about it nicely. And colorfully as well. 😛

  24. CSK says:

    Yeah, I thought of that. It’s #3520 at Amazon overall. Only the top 100 really count.
    @Just nutha ignint cracker: has a list of the “juiciest” excerpts. They’re a big nothing.

  25. dazedandconfused says:


    I suspect the Boom is up against the now well-developed charter jet business for the uber wealthy. The hour or so saved will be lost in the hassle of having to mess around in the system of public airliners. TSA, et al, is bypassed in the private charters. Everybody who’s an anybody uses private charters or private jets these days.

  26. de stijl says:


    An odd thing to be vaguely ashamed of, but I was fairly popular in high school.

    I was president of my class. I was an athlete and not half bad at football and golf, although my basketball skills lacked, but I tried hard. I dated a cheerleader. I was an A student across the board.

    I was extremely good at school and school related activities because I had to be. Home was a potential nightmare. A bipolar parent. If she ignored me entirely for a full week, that was the best week ever. I learned very early to cook for myself which became a lifelong positive skill. Home was to be avoided. Friends and school was the way better alternative. I constructed my day to be away from mom as much as possible.

    School was the default refuge. My retreat. I was good at it. I was very bright and insatiably curious naturally. I was well behaved. I was respectful but a bit bold. I very much enjoyed taking in huge chunks of knowledge and information and attempting to synthesize that. I was an extraordinarily good student and gifted. I loved extracurricular activities and the more the better. Extracurriculars kept me away from going home.

    As I aged up I became interested in things my peers considered odd or weird. I kinda cared what they thought of me, but mostly not. I didn’t flaunt it hard, but I knew what I liked in music and movies and, if asked, would tell true.

    I was into punk rock and classical music. I was into big, deep, thinky books about, well, everything I guess. I was into art house movies. I was a decided weirdo who was also oddly popular and class president and played football well and was homecoming “king”. I felt like a complete fucking fraud.

    To my friends I was out about my weirdness and teenage obsessions. If you’re in my car you are listening to Iggy Pop, the Sex Pistols, or The Clash, Devo, Elvis Costello, or the Talking Heads.

    I was popular. I was weird. I was influential amongst my peer group. I was odd. And all of that made me feel very conflicted.

    I desperately wanted to go to college and start over. A reset.

    At the time I was pretty freaked out seemingly having it squared away to an outside eye and feeling so inadequate and anxious in my brain.

  27. Jen says:

    Honestly, the NYT book review of Kushner’s 500-page empty tome is the literary equivalent of that same publication’s Guy Fieri restaurant review. It’s full of choice phrases.

    “Breaking History” is an earnest and soulless — Kushner looks like a mannequin, and he writes like one — and peculiarly selective appraisal of Donald J. Trump’s term in office.

    The tone is college admissions essay. Typical sentence: “In an environment of maximum pressure, I learned to ignore the noise and distractions and instead to push for results that would improve lives.”

    His wooing of Ivanka Trump included a good deal of jet-setting. Kushner briefly broke up with her, he writes, because she wasn’t Jewish. (She would later convert.) Wendi Murdoch, Rupert’s wife, reunited them on Rupert’s yacht. Kushner describes the power scene:

    On that Sunday, we were having lunch at Bono’s house in the town of Eze on the French Riviera, when Rupert stepped out to take a call. He came back and whispered in my ear, “They blinked, they agreed to our terms, we have The Wall Street Journal.” After lunch, Billy Joel, who had also been with us on the boat, played the piano while Bono sang with the Irish singer-songwriter Bob Geldof.

    With or without you, Bono.

    It’s practically a work of art.

  28. Stormy Dragon says:


    On that Sunday, we were having lunch at Bono’s house in the town of Eze on the French Riviera, when Rupert stepped out to take a call. He came back and whispered in my ear, “They blinked, they agreed to our terms, we have The Wall Street Journal.” After lunch, Billy Joel, who had also been with us on the boat, played the piano while Bono sang with the Irish singer-songwriter Bob Geldof.

    And just like that Billy Joel music is now ruined for me, because every time I hear it, I’m gonna think of him palling arount on a yacht with the Murdochs, the Trumps, and the Kushners >=(

  29. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I wasn’t particularly surprised by Billy Joel. That makes just a ton of sense. I’m kinda shocked that Bono and Bob Geldof would hang out with that rogue’s gallery of wet turds.

  30. CSK says:

    Vice has chimed in with a piece entitled “Surprise, Jared Kushner’s Book Sounds Like Complete Dogshit.”

    I’m sure the ghostwriter would prefer his identity never to be revealed.

  31. Stormy Dragon says:


    I’m kinda shocked that Bono and Bob Geldof would hang out with that rogue’s gallery of wet turds.

    Bono was more of an “I knew it!” for me. He’s always been an asshole and his “activism” has always struck me as performative.

  32. Beth says:


    The caption for that picture of him should be “If obsequious was a person”.

  33. CSK says:

    Kushner reminds me of a cross between Uriah Heep and a discount Machiavelli.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: So they succeed in the all-important “presenting the author as he or she really is” category. Good to know.

  35. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I can imagine how excruciating it must have been sitting there recording Jared’s voice.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: My experience is that most artists (but I suspect particularly musical ones) learn to be “for sale” as a matter of early survival (I preformed musically until I was in my late 40s but on the far fringe and never made any money because I wasn’t for sale all the time/worth buying–very worth getting for free tho). My guess is that old habits die hard.

  37. Jen says:

    @CSK: Her. Kushner’s book was ghostwritten by Brittany Baldwin, she’s a speechwriter for Sen. Cruz and the like.

  38. CSK says:

    Ah-ha! Thank you.

    I’ve not seen any good reviews so far.

  39. Mimai says:

    @de stijl:

    Thanks for this! Indeed, it isn’t cool to be (or have been) cool. Nor is it popular to be (or have been) popular. Hence, you often see otherwise successful – dare I say, cool and/or popular – people telling tales (some of which may even be true) about how uncool, unpopular, rebellious, etc they were. And still are.

    You strike me as genuine. Of course, maybe you’re playing a multi-dimensional game wherein you pretend to have been cool in order to signal how very uncool you actually are, which makes you all the more cooler. But I doubt it.

  40. CSK says:

    Trump is calling for the Jan. 6 committee to be dissolved, because Liz Cheney lost the Wyoming primary, and that means the people no longer want him to be investigated.

    “This,” he says, “was a referendum on the NEVER-ENDING witch hunt!”

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: I thought Bruce Springsteen said it best:

    Oh the time slips away, and leaves you with nothing, mister but booooring stories of…
    Glory days,,, [emphasis in text, I think]

  42. dazedandconfused says:
  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: He just needs to be patient. He’ll likely get his wish in January. 🙁

  44. CSK says:


    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I hope not.

  45. Jax says:

    @CSK: I would dearly, DEARLY love for Pelosi (if we manage to maintain the House, and hence, the Jan 6 Committee) to re-appoint Liz Cheney to the Committee. I think she can, can’t she? Outside advisor or something?

  46. CSK says:

    I don’t know, but it’s an interesting question.

  47. Mimai says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Nice reference! Very nice. He said a lot of wise things.

    “it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive”

  48. Jax says:

    @CSK: Heads would spin. If we’re lucky, TFG would be so mad he’d stroke out.

    If Cheney’s really planning a presidential run, it would be a perfect opportunity to stay in the spotlight and hammer home the message from her concession speech.

  49. Kathy says:


    I believe Ms. Cheney is a lawyer. She could be appointed as counsel to the Jam 6 committee.

  50. de stijl says:


    Those quotes sound like snippets fron Brett Easton Ellis’ American Psycho.

  51. Jax says:

    Some (Republican) friends who are publicly anti-Trump locally have been receiving hate mail the last couple days. I thought you guys might enjoy the insult list they’re considering. 😛 😛

    These insults are from an era before the English language got boiled down to 4-letter words.
    1. “He had delusions of adequacy ” Walter Kerr
    2. “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”- Winston Churchill
    3. “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure. – Clarence Darrow
    4. “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”-William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)
    5. “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”- Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)
    6. “Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas
    7. “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain
    8. “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” – Oscar Wilde
    9. “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one.” -George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
    10. “Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second… if there is one.” – Winston Churchill, in response
    11. “I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here” – Stephen Bishop
    12. “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright
    13. “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” – Irvin S. Cobb
    14. “He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson
    15. “He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up. – Paul Keating
    16. “He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker
    17. “Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain
    18. “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West
    19. “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde
    20. “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)
    21. “He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder
    22. “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But I’m afraid this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx
    23. The exchange between Winston Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.” He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”
    24. “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” – Abraham Lincoln
    25. “There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” — Jack E. Leonard
    26. “They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” — Thomas Brackett Reed
    27. “He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them.” — James Reston (about Richard Nixon) —Robert L Truesdell