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:

    Yesterday the high was 97F. Friday the high is predicted to be 55F, low near freezing. That is a big swing.

    Yesterday was also grocery day. I noticed something – guys my age and down to forty or even 35 (everybody was wearing shorts) have skinny scrawny deer legs.

    I’m 5’11 and shift between 160 and 170 or so, so not a big dude. Guys in the lighter range like me had disturbingly skinny legs. They have no calves! I have Thor legs compared to everybody in that sample set. Why have I never noticed this before? I’m het so usually I don’t notice. Yesterday I did for some reason.

    Even a lot of rhe beefy guys had weirdly skinny legs.

    I have way bigger calves and thighs than most people in my peer group. Never really noticed it before.

  2. Franklin says:

    Do you bike or run? Or leg work with weights? If not, I believe that is just your natural body shape. Like pears vs apples, but in your case more of a tree trunk.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Apparently nothing much happened since yesterday afternoon, other than the Duma passing *a law that makes it illegal for Russian military personnel to surrender, as well as to refuse to fight and a few other things. Then it fast tracked legislation regarding general mobilization and war. Before that had even cleared the upper chamber and been signed it was posted on an outward facing website as signed into law. Also, the LPR and DPR announced they would be holding referenda this week to formally join Russia, or, as they’re putting it, re-join Russia, as will Zaporizhzhia.* and Putin threatening a nuclear tantrum if the world doesn’t stop being so mean to him.

    ** to quote Adam Silverman

  4. de stijl says:


    I walk an hour a day briskly 365. Do upper body light weights three or four times a weak for strength and tone.

    In comparison to guys in my weight peer group my thighs and calves are swole af. I have no idea why. Genetics? Never noticed before.

    In college I knew someone trying hard to scrape onto the bottom of the US Olympic speed skating team. She was training like crazy. It was Minnesota, people did that.

    She didn’t, but came fairly close. Her thighs were fucking impressive. Put mine to shame.

  5. Michael Cain says:


    Do you bike or run?

    The older we get the harder it is to add/maintain muscle mass. I noticed that once I got past 60, my doctors no longer asked about whether I was getting aerobic exercise, they asked about how much strength training I did.

    My legs are fine, but then, I’m still adding to the thousands (tens of thousands?) of miles of bicycling I’ve done over the years.

  6. Kathy says:
  7. Michael Cain says:

    NASA is trying to test-fuel the SLS again this morning. If this goes fine, and if the East Range controllers provide an even longer waiver for the flight termination system, then the next launch window is Sept 27 through Oct 3. I noticed this morning that the GFS long-range weather model has a hurricane crossing northern Florida on Sept 30. I wouldn’t wait until the last minute to haul my multi-billion dollar rocket back to the protective building, not given its history of bad luck. If they put it inside and do the FTS work, then they get to start worrying about the waiver on the seals between the segments of the solid-fuel boosters, which expires in January.

  8. Kathy says:

    Yesterday I had to pick up some office supplies on the way home. This required a route I knew would have heavy traffic. Indeed, Waze advised a total drive time home of 40 minutes. That’s not much above the usual 30-35 minutes.

    It took one hour and fifty effing minutes.

    At that, Waze suggested a different route. Why didn’t I take it? Friction.

    This route is a long, steep climb. Friction is reduced on a slope due to how the weight vectors are distributed. When it rains, friction is reduced further. It didn’t look like rain, it was raining already. This makes that route treacherous, even with new tires. I’ve had my car slip there a couple of times, which is why I don’t take that route if as much as one cloud is showing even a little gray.

    Why so much traffic? Well, near my neighborhood there are some tunnels and bridges to bypass this and that avenue. One bridge suffered some damage during last Monday’s quake, and is currently closed. This f**ks traffic up just before a bottleneck, which means a long, long, line of cars standing still for a long, long time.

    So, this is the last time I schedule a pickup on the way home.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I despise Waze with a passion. In general, because it deliberately routes traffic through residential neighborhoods on a regular basis, sending crazy speeding maniacs down roads with kids riding their bikes to their friends house. And specifically because of where I used to live. We were five miles or so from a major north-south Federal highway. The old two lane highway it replaced still existed as a major ground-level intersection road. When the Federal highway would get backed up, all the GPS apps would route people to the old highway. That was fine. But then that would get backed up and Waze would start sending people on this circuitous route through our neighborhood. Tight streets with no curbs. Winding roads where the “15mph” turn meant, “No really, you moron, I mean 15mph”. And part of the Waze route ran along the only road out of the neighborhood. It would be instantly backed up worse than the highways, but Waze kept sending people through. There were times you couldn’t get out of the neighborhood for an hour. If we had needed a firetruck or an ambulance we would have been screwed.

  10. de stijl says:

    A few years later after college I lived twenty feet from a bar – W.A. Frost. Is was fancy and pricey.

    But a half mile down the street was The St. Paul Curling Club. Frost was fancy pants. I like fancy pants bars at times but not on a Tuesday when I’m bored and need a good night out.

    Curling club became my go to. Didn’t want to drive – I’m not stupid! I just elbowed up one night. Said howdy to my counter neighbors. Shut up. Drank my beer. Sipped on my shot. Watched the bonk and bonk. Bought a round for my elbow neighbors. For weeks I barely understood the rules. I faked it. Back then, no Google to save your butt about rules. I didn’t even need to fake. I just wanted to go to a place outside my home, enjoy an adult beverage or five, and shoot the shit about nothing in particular with vaguely like-minded folks.

    You could smoke indoors. Almost everyone did.

    So I faked. (Figured out the rules eventually. Curling is subtle as hell. And also brutal. All sorts of tactics and strategies I saw later.) Bonk and bonk. Bought my elbow buddies a beer and a shot. They were curlers, I was learning off them.

    It was easy. Not knowing all the rules and none of the nuances, my strength was psychology. “Oh man, I think B has this nailed, man!” I stood up to watch.

    B was U.S. Skip in the next Olympics games. An ungodly number of talented doofuses I met at this stupid obscure club became Olympic athletes.

    I was down on Selby Avenue and ducked in last year. It is now a shiny, scrubby, clean indoor Olympic training arena. No bar. No smoking. No swearing. Very clean. I hated it.

    I drove down Selby Ave. past my old block. It is now upscale and trendy. W.A. Frost is now even way more upscale. Their back patio fronts directly on a building I used to live in. I was desperately poor then. So wholesome now. It used to be the edge of the ghetto and mostly immigrants. Predominantly Vietnamese. Subtle drug deals available and subtle prostitution a block or so east. I never partook.

    I hated it. Too clean and tidy.

    Times change, but St. Paul Curling Club still spits out Olympians. Now they are way more boring!

    A cool band to check out on YT is The Selby Tigers from back then.

  11. Kathy says:


    It doesn’t route to residential streets as much as to lower traffic areas. Often this means residential streets.

    Early on, when Waze was gaining in popularity, the residents of these areas would log on and report heavy and standstill traffic, precisely to keep Waze from recommending their streets. Alas, now it checks whether you’re moving or not.

    I’ve no idea if the same goes for reports of construction, police, speed traps, etc.

  12. inhumans99 says:

    Kathy, MarkedMan, I remember several years back when neighborhoods around the mass of businesses in Fremont, CA (where I live, but not quite in the areas where folks were trapped in their homes during the peak rush hour times) were so frustrated at not being able to back up out of their driveway until oftentimes 20 minutes or more had passed before they could slide into traffic to go get groceries, etc., that they asked Google to figure out a way for Waze to not route folks through residential neighborhoods during certain hours of the day. They wanted the city of Fremont to make it “illegal” to drive through their neighborhoods at certain times of the day unless you could prove you were a resident.

    I never did research if anything came out of this request to Google, probably not but if I were in one of those neighborhoods I would be starring daggers at the cars piling up in front of my home/apartment preventing me from leaving the building.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @inhumans99: Just thinking about Waze is making me angry. Waze is the GPS equivalent of those drivers who fly ahead of everyone in the breakdown lane and then attempt to merge back in, causing everyone behind them grief.

  14. CSK says:

    NY AG is suing Trump, his three oldest spawn the Trump Org., and assorted others connected to Trump for over 200 counts of fraud.

  15. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan: I live in the DC metro area and have a 30 mile commute to work. Waze has saved me countless hours I would have spent sitting in some of America’s worst traffic. It’s all but indispensable to me now.

  16. Kathy says:


    That’s all very good, and I wish the NY AG good luck. But what we need and want are criminal charges.

  17. CSK says:


    Yes, we do.

  18. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    I wouldn’t wait until the last minute to haul my multi-billion dollar rocket back to the protective building

    The rocket and the crawler platform are so massive, it takes several hours to move them between the launch pad and the vertical assembly building. The last minute is literally half a day, at least.

  19. Mu Yixiao says:

    Interesting. AI art project envisions dead celebrities as if they were still alive.

    They’re all neat (though… Elvis looks too young and slender), but some of the choices (hair, facial hair, etc) are rather interesting.

  20. KM says:


    They wanted the city of Fremont to make it “illegal” to drive through their neighborhoods at certain times of the day

    That’s a totally understandable but really, really problematic view. Streets are public and public means everyone, like it or not. Leaving out the whole NIMBY and enforcement aspect of it, what happens if you’re not a “resident” but have a valid reason to be there? Dropping off kids at the ex’s, checking up on grandma, or being a stop on a car pool comes to mind. The police gonna check your ID, see you don’t live on the street and ticket you because you driving through a residential street?

    I have some personal experience with this as the area I live in was “discovered” by the city at large as a great bypass due to some massive roadwork. Traffic jumped significantly, being able to make a left onto a nearby artery is impossible at some hours, speeding was commonplace and there were some deaths. Now there’s a damn stop sign on every corner, 3-ways nobody knows how to follow and traffic is still higher then the historical norm. However, I’d never dream of trying to pass a law to make it just residents because a recently built development tried to do that to us a few years ago. They built a connection to our area but wanted it one-way (them to us but we couldn’t go their way). It almost passed till the fire department shut it down, pointing out they’d have to come from our area. The town told them they could gate it and make it private access-only but the residents balked at the cost to turn it to a privately-maintained road. Want that sweet public money? Then it’s a public road and anyone can use it. As much as the speeders and short-cutters piss me off, I remember what it was like to basically be told “you can’t drive here” on roads I pay for and live near.

  21. CSK says:

    There’s a good article in today by Juliette Kayyem entitled “Trump Endorsed QAnon Because He’s Stuck.”

  22. becca says:

    @Kathy: criminal charges are being referred to SDNY prosecutor and the IRS.

  23. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Diana would have been face-lifted and Botoxed to within an inch of her life.

  24. Kathy says:
  25. Michael Cain says:


    The rocket and the crawler platform are so massive, it takes several hours to move them between the launch pad and the vertical assembly building. The last minute is literally half a day, at least.


    They managed to get it fueled today, but they had to futz with pressures and flow rates and it took significantly longer than allowed in the current countdown sequence. Six days to rework the countdown and get the Eastern Range to approve it, (potentially) a hurricane bearing down, and no guarantees that the fueling changes will even work the next time? (Even the advocates on the YouTube feed I was listening to were describing it as “We made changes and they worked, but we don’t understand why.”) Haul it back to the assembly building and be safe. They’re already years late — another month doesn’t matter.

    I’m sort of hoping the Eastern Range says that they won’t give them another waiver on the flight termination system post-test interval and makes the decision for them.

  26. Scott says:

    Nothing like stolen valor as a campaign strategy.

    Ohio GOP House candidate has misrepresented military service

    Campaigning for a northwestern Ohio congressional seat, Republican J.R. Majewski presents himself as an Air Force combat veteran who deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, once describing “tough” conditions including a lack of running water that forced him to go more than 40 days without a shower.

    Military documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request tell a different story.

    They indicate Majewski never deployed to Afghanistan but instead completed a six-month stint helping to load planes at an air base in Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally that is a safe distance from the fighting.

  27. Kathy says:


    I’d prefer state charges that can’t be undone or stopped when Republiqans win a general election.

  28. dazedandconfused says:

    @de stijl:

    You have a body type more adapted for climbing hills and sprinting instead of long distance, endurance hunting. Closer to Neanderthal than Homo Sapien, NTTAWWT. Some of my best friends are Neanderthals….or so they seem.

  29. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    You know, if Elon Musk wanted to, he might just shake loose change from his couch and launch a Falcon 9 Heavy to do a similar mission. then brag about what it cost him, including development costs.

  30. Franklin says:

    @de stijl: Thats enough exercise to keep you sexy regardless of age or Neandrathal status. All that walking you do, especially if its hilly, is going to build up those leg muscles. If the walking is a more recent activity, perhaps that’s why you didn’t notice the leg differences with other people when you were younger.

  31. Kathy says:

    In the movie “Lightyear,” there’s a scene where Buzz is surprised to see sandwiches consist of one slice of bread between two slices of meat. When he points out he’s used to two normal sandwiches, bread-meat-bread, the others tell him “that’s too much bread.”

    I did wonder about that, especially as regards grilled cheese sandwiches. Bread is a good insulator, what with all those air bubbles. Sometimes melting the cheese enough means toasting the bread too much. I also wondered about the bread and meat and cheese ratio.

    So I tried an open faced grilled cheese sandwich like so:

    First I sauteed some onions with a little cracked pepper and chipotle sauce, and set them aside. Next I placed two sets of two turkey slices with some Oaxaca cheese on them on the pan. As the cheese melted, I flipped one set face down on top of the other. Then I spread mayo on one side of a slice of bread and mustard on the other, placing the bread on the pan mayo side down. The onions go on the bread, then the turkey and cheese (very well melted) go on top of that. Toast the one slice of bread to taste.

    You need to cut it in pieces it with a knife and eat it with a fork (half the time I do the same with regular sandwiches anyway). The meat and cheese to bread ratio was far better, IMO.

    Since the movie gave me the idea, I call it the Lightyear grilled cheese sandwich.

  32. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I curse thee. I had my heart set on chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn on the cob from my garden. Now all I want is a grilled onion, turkey and cheese sammich. 😛 😛

  33. Kathy says:


    According to Jeff Wright, author and narrator of Trojan War The Podcast (History’s Most Awesome Epic!), you need a full name, parents’ names, and place of residence, in order to effect a curse that will stick.

    I think I’m safe 😉

  34. Jax says:

    @Kathy: Ha! My kids came home and declared they “weren’t in the mood” for chicken fried steak, they want frozen pizza.

    Guess who’s got some nice deli turkey in the fridge, an onion dying to be cut, and bread that wants to be used?

  35. Michael Cain says:


    Nope. Falcon Heavy is booking plenty of flights with payloads destined for lunar orbit or lunar landing. Starship, if successful, is what gets Elon into the history books a century hence (assuming climate change allows for history books a century hence). In his place, I’d already be practicing for Artemis III: “Throwing how many billion dollars worth of hardware into the ocean, in order to get to lunar orbit? Where all of the interesting parts of the mission run on Starship-based fuel shuttles, fuel depots, cargo flights, and landers. How quaint.”

    I’ll bet an adult beverage of choice that an Orion/SLS Artemis III mission never flies. I’m a Gwynne Shotwell fanboi.

  36. de stijl says:

    Curling is basically bocce on ice. No shiny metal ball – a fixed bullseye. Sweeping gets added, but basically pretty close. Get as many rocks as close the bullseye as possible and prevent the opponent from the same.

    I’d played a shit ton of bocce thanks to the Half-Time Rec. The Wreck was live trad Irish and Celtic music and dancing upstairs and bocce in the basement. They mostly only had bands on weekends unless a big name band swung through town on a Wednesday or whatever.

    Why does a super traditional Irish bar have multiple bocce ball courts in the basement. No gd idea. Was it awesome?: Yes! Probably came with the lease.

    It was a hub of immigration law abuse in the 80s. People would show up on visas and disappear into the ether. Half the working staff of the joint were dodging the INS. Not hard, INS was after dark skinned folks mostly and paid negligent attention to Irish abusing the same laws / restrictions. White is right, apparently per / to the INS then. Mostly didn’t give a fuck unless arrested on other grounds, then they gave a modicum of attention and enforced expulsion. If you were Irish and evaded police attention, basically no one fucked with you. They were hunting “darkies”. It was the 80s.

    Bocce is more 3D, curling is 100% 2D – no Z axis. The core concepts and a lot of the rules on scoring are dead on, a bit skewed. You want rocks as close as possible to bullseye. You want as few as possible of your opponent’s close. You can defend, you can attack. You can be subtle, you can be very bold. Big, bold tactics or defend. Big tactics mean you are currently losing, mainly. If you are winning, you defend. You guard.

    The Half-Time Rec switched from traditional Irish / Celtic to US country cover bands awhile back. It is in the asshole region of residential St. Paul nowhere.

    Man, that bums me out hard! It was a cool and really unusual joint back in the day. Now a country bar? It offends my sensibilities. Boo! I say!! Boo!

    I really need to listen to Thousands Are Sailing by The Pogues soon.

  37. de stijl says:


    Who would say “No!” to chicken fried steak?! I reject the concept. A nice white gravy? Some spuds? That is a heaven on earth meal, friend.

    I never deep fry anything at home. I’m not gonna waste 5 bucks of oil on something that I can never do as well as a seasoned and skilled fry cook pro can do in a restaurant. I saute, I pan-fry, I bake, I roast, I boil, I par-boil, but I don’t deep fry at home.

    I would suck at it, and people who are pros do it way better than me. Bow to the masters.

  38. de stijl says:


    Me? Definitely a Neanderthal. No shame in that at all.

  39. gVOR08 says:

    Eleventh Circuit has ruled on DOJ’s appeal of Judge Loose Cannons order that DOJ halt their criminal investigation. As Scott Lemieux at LGM put it,

    “Too hacky in favor of a Republican argument for 11CA” is one hell of a hard bar to get over but Aileen Cannon managed to pull it off:

    They said the documents are marked as classified, Trump’s people are mumbling about declassification, but have offered no evidence, and even if he did, it doesn’t give him any sort of ownership or show any harm except that if they investigate they might charge him with a crime. Tough.

  40. Stormy Dragon says:


    The opinion also contained a citation to United States v. Cobbledick that came across as a stealth insult directed at TFG.

  41. Jax says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Fer real? Cobbledick is the court case cited?!?!

    Sooooo much ketchup on golf club walls!!! 😛 😛

  42. de stijl says:

    When neighborhoods scale up in respectability, how do buildings scaled towards the old but exist in the new now react?

    The place I rented back then was maybe a 400 sq. ft. studio. I had a combo living room / sleeping room, a small kitchen, a bathroom, and a huge ass closet.

    A transom window above my door which was cool as fuck except when it wasn’t and allowed too much noise in.

    The halls looked like very truncated versions of the Overlook Hotel, but with cooler 1920s style carpeting.

    It was a gorgeous old school four story brick apartment house. Skinny and narrow. 24 tiny units that looked exactly like mine.

    You neighborhood is trendy now. Do you evict everybody? Do you cut through the walls and make every apartment a double studio and double the rent? How do you cope and adapt?

    What does my old apartment rent for now? I think I paid $310 a month, iirc. Holy crap! I was so poor! I could barely afford it. I spent half my income on rent.

  43. Jax says:

    @de stijl: My old studio apartment that I loved so much in downtown Denver, Colorado, no longer exists. 14th and Logan. I googled earthed it the other day, and it appears it’s some sort of high rise now. 🙁