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:

    A twitter alternative?

    A thought, probably the only one today, will Musk’s purchase of twitter be a godsend for Tesla management? Pretty regularly, there are reports of Tesla management being blindsided by Musk announcing this or that feature that will be imminently available that has never been discussed or only outlined. Musk being swallowed by the twitter quicksand, could mean he won’t have time to bother Tesla.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The US army corps of engineers is testing for radioactivity in the kindergarten play yard, sports fields and classrooms of a Missouri school serving mostly Black students, after an independent report revealed the school may have been contaminated by nuclear bomb-making waste dumped from the second world war’s Manhattan Project.

    Children from Jana elementary school in the Northern St Louis area were sent home to do online learning last week, following an independent report that found levels of the radioactive isotype lead-210 as much as 22 times the expected levels in the school’s play yards and some indoor spaces.

    For decades nearby areas of North St Louis have been undergoing cleanup for radioactive dumping dating back to the 1940s through 1960s, after the region played an integral role in processing uranium for the development of the atomic bomb.

    Radioactive hotspots have been discovered in Coldwater Creek, which runs next to the original disposal sites some four miles from the school and then snakes past the school itself.

    The independent study released in October by a radiation testing firm, the Boston Chemical Data Corp, revealed concerning levels of radiation in locations including inside the school and its play yards. This prompted last week’s school shutdown.

    That’s the school by my brother’s house, fortunately his kids went to a different school. I have to wonder if they will ever be able to sell that house.

  3. Beth says:

    I’m shocked! SHOCKED! Well, I’m not that shocked…

    Schevers says of her own dysphoria, “I tried to explain it in a radical feminist framework, and find the root causes, and do everything to make these feelings go away, and that didn’t really work. The only thing that did work to make them go away was accepting them. I had to make a move to accept them.”

  4. Stormy Dragon says:


    I’m shocked that the trans equivalent of the ex-gay movement keeps ending up the same way.

  5. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I know right! It’s almost as if it’s an immutable characteristic.

  6. Mu Yixiao says:

    It’s CEO aside, SpaceX is doing some astounding things. After the double landing of the boosters yesterday, this article came out today:

    “SpaceX has moved very quickly on development,” [Mark Kirasich, NASA’s deputy associate administrator who oversees the development of Artemis missions to the Moon,] said about Raptor. “We’ve seen them manufacture what was called Raptor 1.0. They have since upgraded to Raptor 2.0 that first of all increases performance and thrust and secondly reduces the amount of parts, reducing the amount of time to manufacture and test. They build these things very fast. Their goal was seven engines a week, and they hit that about a quarter ago. So they are now building seven engines a week.

    In 2015, NASA gave Aerojet Rocketdyne a contract worth $1.16 billion to “restart the production line” for the RS-25 engine. Again, that was money just to reestablish manufacturing facilities, not actually build the engines. NASA is paying more than $100 million for each of those. With this startup funding, the goal was for Aerojet Rocketdyne to produce four of these engines per year.

  7. KM says:

    So angry at sibling right now.

    Went over to visit yesterday and found her mid-smoke, moping about how she has no free time and wants to cancel our voting trip this weekend. I’m her ride since I know she’ll never go on her own. She whined at me that it didn’t matter and it wasted precious time she could be using to get high (“It’s my weekend!!”) I told her I don’t give a good goddamn if she was vaping weed in my car (usually a huge no-no due to the smell), her ass is being dragged out to vote. It’s not like we’re going early as I planned to take us to a late lunch at a nearby restaurant as a reward. If she’s got time to get high and eat all the Doritos in the house, she’s got time to save democracy.

    It’s terrifying to think there’s millions of people out there like her that can’t be bothered to find time to do something so important. It’s not that she can’t, she doesn’t want to. Not even disillusionment or bothsiderism but plain simple don’t give a damn. Our system is based on a process a ton of folks don’t want to put forth effort to and it’s so upsetting to know we can lose vital rights because their leisure time is more important then voting.

  8. MarkedMan says:


    It’s terrifying to think there’s millions of people out there like her that can’t be bothered to find time to do something so important. It’s not that she can’t, she doesn’t want to. Not even disillusionment or bothsiderism but plain simple don’t give a damn.

    This is why I chuckle when people make grand sweeping statements about Trump supporters or Republicans (or Democrats) in general. A good chunk of people, more than a third, really don’t care about any of this and aren’t even listening, and probably won’t vote. Of the voters, I estimate 60-80% have no real understanding of what the issues are, who the candidates are, or anything else we here obsess about.

    It’s also why I think James’ frequent protestations about “not all Republicans” or “not all Trump fans” are irrelevant. Change and consequences come from the 20% or so who are actively involved. Pointing out that most Republicans aren’t white supremacists means diddly. The people who control the Republican agenda are, and that’s all that matters.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @KM: Same as it ever was.

  10. charon says:

    You do not need to pay any attention to politics, policy etc. to be a Trump supporter. Just notice that pickup drivers (pickups project a “masculine” image) are likely to fly Trump flags, CFB flags etc. and you know how to vote.

  11. Stormy Dragon says:

    I’m coming to the opinion that Biden’s single biggest mistake as President was renominating Powell to the Federal Reserve board in May 2022 instead of replacing him with someone who wouldn’t deliberately tank the economy to help the Republicans in the midterm.

  12. JohnSF says:

    It’s a common enough attitude, I suppose, but one I just can’t understand.
    I’m pretty sure I’ve voted in every election, local, national, and (when we had them) European since I was old enough to vote.

    I tend to get a bit short-tempered with people who whinge about the government or politics, and then say they didn’t vote: “Chartists went to prison for the franchise, so you can surely get yourself to the polling station to exercise it.”

  13. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: If we demonized trans people just a little more, she would have crawled back into her closet and stayed there.

    Anyway, she’s probably a basket case, and I hope she is getting the help she needs. If she was blaming her dysphoria on a trauma response, she was presumably traumatized by something.

    Poor (skimming article) … man who uses feminine pronouns? She might have a bit more work to do on figuring out that gender thing. I hope she retreats from the public eye and doesn’t get wrapped up in the dedetransition crowd and make that her identity.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: My wife just showed me a text saying there’s an issue with our account at an unidentified bank and she should call the listed number. Obvious scam trying to catch the oblivious. I’ve read the misspellings and odd phrasing in the “Nigerian prince” sort of emails are deliberate. They’re filtering out any but the truly gullible or Alzheimer’s affected. I think a lot of campaigns assume that describes the average voter. They may be right.

    I’ve read this midterm has been a campaign consultants’ paradise. Said something like 10 billion is being spent. They’ve all got jobs, even the most hackish. They all do attack ads. They say because they work. I wonder if it’s just all they know.

  15. Jen says:

    I think I might need to stay offline and hide under a rock until after the election.

    Saint Anselm poll is showing Bolduc up a point over Hassan in NH.

    Again, I’m starting to feel like Tuesday is going to be a bloodbath for Dems. UGH.

  16. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Re Twitter, I’ve been coming across more reporting on how leveraged Musk’s bid is.
    NYT and FT (paywalled)
    Looks like he’s painted into a corner on finance: interest on the loans and bonds is going to be around $1 billion, on a company that last year generated only $650 million income.
    Banks already look like having to take a haircut on their tradable debt.
    And advertisers are already indicating that a “libertarian free speech hellscape” is not what they want.
    So, Elon is caught between the serious money guys, and the “fwee speech” loons; in other words the MAGAs and liberloons are going to be disappointed.
    Oh dear. What a shame.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: @JohnSF: I’ll go the other way on this issue and say you shouldn’t be trying to force people who don’t want to to vote. They are the ones who are least likely to understand what they’re doing and care about the consequences of their choices. (I would hold this truth to be especially truthy in the case of someone who wants to stay home and smoke [whatever one would be smoking that they might not want to smoke on a public street].)

    On the other hand, perhaps you are also “helping them” on the question of who they’re going to vote for. There’s a term for that, but we won’t go into it now, it’ll only make people angry.

  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: I don’t know about text messages for this, but I got a telephone call from a third party asking me to call in regard to my credit union account recently. It turned out that my card had been flagged making a payment to the company that provides my computer anti-viral/malware service and account was suspended until I cleared up whatever issue was involved. (As I recall, the question was about whether I had made the purchase of my own free will, or something. It was really bizarre.)

    (And yes, I checked that the third party was an actual business entity doing business in the US before I called, and I know better than to give my SSN to people. I think they confirmed my identity using my street address.)

  19. Jen says:

    Capitol Police have some explaining to do, apparently.

    They had installed security cameras at Pelosi’s San Francisco home, which were on and recorded the break in, but no one was monitoring the feed when the intruder entered the home.

  20. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Politico is out with a piece on Eastman’s emails, which he tried to withhold, in which it is acknowledged that Justice Thomas was the one possibility of SCOTUS issuing a stay to the election and derailing Biden’s win.
    Also of note;
    Eastman clerked for Thomas.
    Ginni Thomas and Eastman were in communication about the election, and those emails were part of the tranche of thousands of emails that the National Archives wanted to release from the Trump White House to the January 6 Committee. Thomas was the lone dissent when Trump tried to invoke Executive Privilege over those documents.
    It certainly appears that at least one member of the Supreme Court is a participant in the months-long conspiracy to overturn the election.

  21. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    This is a common problem with security systems.
    It’s not possible/efficient to monitor everything all the time.
    The most important thing is that they can be used for forensics…as in this case.

  22. KM says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    It’s not that she’s not politically minded, but rather extremely unmotivated. She’s happy to talk politics with me but putting on pants is hard. She’s being treated for depression and finds a lot of tasks to be difficult to get started. The effort to get up, get dressed and go wait in line is too much to be bothered with. She needs encouragement to shower because it’s too hard some days so a lot of my prompting is getting her to function and stick with plans. It’s got nothing to do with deciding how she votes. Part of her treatment plan is having a buddy to help her when she starts shedding plans like this but I’m going to be honest, part of it is the disrespect of my time as well. We have plans set up weeks ago and I’m not changing them just because she’d rather smoke her fifth bowl of the day.

    especially truthy in the case of someone who wants to stay home and smoke

    Eh, in this case not so much. She recently lost a good job because she was WFH and smoking constantly. Being high on a Zoom call with the boss is not great and when you can’t meet your numbers because you’re on your third smoke break of the day, it means that some prioritization needs to be adjusted. This isn’t about her freedom to smoke as she pleases, it’s using it as a crutch and avoidance of doing something she sees as taxing.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: Any idea why the banks leant him the money in the first place? It seems like an obviously unrealistic business plan, but he must have presented something to them where the numbers ended all jolly and happy.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Just curious, what’s the anti-malware company?

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: My understanding was that a few people are monitoring over a thousand different cameras and they, no surprise, didn’t notice anything going on at the Pelosi residence until the police flashers caught their eye.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m using Total AV at the moment. I’ve used Panda and Avast before and they were just as good to whatever degree I can recognize quality.

  27. Mu Yixiao says:


    What I find odd is that there wasn’t an alert sent out when the window was broken. I would have thought that someone as important as Pelosi would have an alarm system on the house.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Moving from the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous:

    John Cena is running for president — at least on screen in “The Independent,” a new film streaming on Peacock. “The Independent” is a political thriller with Cena playing a former Olympic athlete who has launched a third-party campaign for president. However, a pair of journalists uncover a scandal in the candidate’s past that could potentially derail his bid for the White House.

    I’m assuming that’s a derailing factor beyond the derailing factor that being a third-party candidate would be. I didn’t read far enough to see if David Brooks wrote the screen play or is a producer, but “initial reviews of The Independent have been mixed. David Ehrlich of IndieWire dismissed it as a ‘toothless political thriller’.”

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

    Trump’s lawyers decided to settle in the case of the lawsuit brought against him in the Bronx. (Three men accused his bodyguards of roughing them up outside Trump Tower.) Apparently Donnie’s legal team decided they couldn’t find any jurors in the Bronx who didn’t hate Trump’s guts.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: “but no one was monitoring the feed”

    There are limits to funding, tho. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find that funding is only for monitoring the camera when she’s actually in the house.

  32. Scott says:

    @Jen: I’ve stopped watching US news for that reason. Just follow some of the international streaming news feeds like Al-Jazeera, Euronews, Sky News. It is much more relaxing watching other peoples shitshows.

  33. Jen says:

    @Mu Yixiao: THIS.

    I had an ADT system when I lived alone in a dodgy area, and they installed (and tested) window alarms that would set off if a window was opened or broken.

    One would think that the Speaker of the House would have an alarm system at least as robust as that.

  34. dazedandconfused says:


    Pretty common for people to turn their alarm systems off when they are home so they can open windows and door on a whim. Had they a dog or two no way that window gets busted without waking people up.

  35. JohnSF says:


    Any idea why the banks leant him the money in the first place?

    Because some bankers shouldn’t be let out without a minder?

    I have a nasty feeling they are blithely expecting fees to cover at least the costs, possibly more sensibly they have some security against other Musk assets, and that for the individual bankers concerned the sweet smell of bonus overrides the less savoury scents of Twitters profitability and Musk’s rather mercurial (to be polite) personality.

    One thing I think we’ve all observed over the last 15 years is that a lot of bankers are not all that much smarter than the average housecat.

  36. CSK says:
  37. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Oh, I’d not force them.
    Just tell them to stop sandpapering my eardrums about what the government is up to if they haven’t.

    And if someone wants to talk politics, I’d happily tell them why the Conservative Party right now are madder than a bag of minks.
    But there’s no point just boring the indifferent; better to have another pint and talk about the weather or rugby instead. 🙂

  38. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: There is a fairly common scam where malicious actors get new victims via pop-ups warning of malware. You call the number or click the link and are connected with someone who ostensibly helps install anti-malware software which may appear to be from a legit and well known company but is actually just a shell granting them access to your whole computer.

    I wonder if they thought you had gotten sucked up in one of those?

  39. CSK says:



  40. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen: What I see is that there is normally a Capitol Police security detail near the house and an SFPD patrol car. But they’re for the Speaker, when she leaves, they leave. Same probably applies to monitoring the cameras.

    @Mu Yixiao: It does seem unusual there was no alarm set. But maybe he’s used to the above security coverage and setting another alarm isn’t habit.

  41. JohnSF says:

    Good news from the Black Sea.
    Putin declared the grain ships deal cancelled after Ukraine hit the Russian Black Sea Fleet (again).
    Turkey sent some naval escorts; the convoy sailed.
    And now the Russian line is “the deal is back on, ain’t we nice?”

    More like Turkey is sitting on the porch, saying little, but ostentatiously sharpening a dagger.
    Russia: “Ah, we’ll just be strolling along, then.”
    Turkey: “That’d be best. You just keep on walking.”

  42. CSK says:


    And Fetterman’s lead over Oz has dissipated.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I don’t think so. They asked if I had ordered the service directly (as in unsolicited) and whether it was in response to a threat or coercion on the part of the seller.

  44. Mikey says:


    Again, I’m starting to feel like Tuesday is going to be a bloodbath for Dems. UGH.

    For me the feeling is creeping back in, that I’ve wasted my life defending a nation that is simply going to throw it all away, that every minute I’ve spent dedicated to supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States was pointless and I’d have done a lot better just dedicating myself to the venal and selfish pursuit of fortune.

  45. Kathy says:


    One thing I think we’ve all observed over the last 15 years is that a lot of bankers are not all that much smarter than the average housecat.

    I know my cat didn’t nearly destroy the world’s economy in 2008. She was smart enough not to even try.