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. Lounsbury says:

    Trump has handed you a gift I predict with this announcement, probably to benefit Warnock….. But one must stick a knife in him and twist hard to bleed him out for 2024

  2. Lounsbury says:

    And in the meantime this AM clarifications in re Poland rather are better. Last night visions of Article 4 and 5 after the evening reports were rather not nice to have.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    I don’t read Brett Stephens much, but I noticed his latest NYT op ed was titled, “Trump Is Finally Finished” so I thought I would give it a look. I don’t know if I would call him a Conservative, but he is certainly an anti-Democrat and I like to understand what’s on their minds.

    I needn’t have bothered. His entire rationale for why Trump won’t succeed this time is based on the fact that all the policy objectives that a 2016 Trump voter had would objectively be served better by someone else in 2024. The fact that Stephens seems to sincerely believe that people rallied behind Trump for policy reasons just confirms my decision to mostly skip his column.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Where did he get the idea that trump had any actual policies? I mean, other than pissing on libtards.

    @Lounsbury: Agreed.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Taylor Swift tour tickets listed for as much as $22,000 as Ticketmaster crashes

    I don’t think I have ever heard any of her music, so I certainly can’t say as to whether it comes even close to measuring up to the hype, but $22,000??? No f’n way.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From Arwa Mahdawi comes this little tidbit:

    The same people who reckon a 10-year-old girl is mature enough to be forced to carry a baby, reckon a 20-year-old isn’t mature enough to vote.


  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As crypto-Twitter cascaded with apocalyptic memes about the bankruptcy of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and the sharp drop in the bitcoin price, one account has remained notably silent on the topic.

    Unlike in previous crashes, the president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, who made bitcoin legal tender a year ago, did not exhort his followers to “buy the dip”. The laser eyes, popular among crypto currency traders, have long since been removed from his Twitter profile.

    On the day that FTX declared insolvency, he announced that the country would sign a free trade agreement with China. His vice-president, Félix Ulloa, said that China had offered to buy the country’s $21bn in foreign debt as part of the deal.

    The Central American country of 6.5 million finds itself in a tough financial position. In January it must pay €667m ($688m)for a Eurobond amortization. At the beginning of the year Bukele promised that his country would issue bitcoin-denominated bonds to pay off national debt and forecast that the price of bitcoin would reach $100,000.

    Considering their history with the US I am not surprised they would look to China, tho this as much* about Bukele as anything else.

    *if not more about him

  8. JohnSF says:

    China may have offered to buy the debt.
    But if it’s anything like the usual Chinese debt deal, they’ll have asked for every mineral asset, and port in the country as collateral.
    Unless, Xi is willing to shrug and write off $21bn as chicken-feed, relative to the pleasure of treading on America’s corns?

  9. JohnSF says:
  10. MarkedMan says:

    I just can’t generate enough interest to check out the threads about Trump running. You guys go all in, but I’m going to wait until 2023 to pay attention.

  11. Kathy says:

    The other day I chanced upon an ep of What’s Your Problem podcast on The Trick to Flying Cheap. I didn’t even glance at the show notes. I thought it would be about ticket pricing and when’s the best time to buy a ticket.

    Instead it was an interview with serial airline founder David Neeleman, He’s best known for founding Jet Blue.

    He touched on a topic I’ve speculated about. It’s nice to have confirmation. My hypothesis was that airlines had increased in-flight entertainment options at the same time they had eliminated complimentary meals, because giving passengers something to pass the time with was cheaper, and carries the prospect of ancillary revenue, than feeding them to pass the time.

    That turns out to have been Neeleman’s thinking when he set up Jet Blue with free, live TV and without meals.

    Kathy’s First Law, though, states that nothing is ever that simple. Jet Blue, now without Neeleman, introduced meals for its business class product, Mint, on longer flights (I’ve read no reviews yet on longer flights in economy to see what the food options are, if any). But Mint costs far more than economy, though less than business class in legacy airlines like American or British Airways.

    But I got that one right 🙂

  12. Kathy says:


    See, if St. Elon wasn’t so busy running Twitter into the ground, he could have shown NASA up by launching a Crew Dragon to the Moon and back on a Falcon 9 Heavy.

    Or rather Gwynn Shotwell would have and let Elon take the credit.

    I should be glad, as NASA seems to be engaging in big plans on the Moon. But the Artemis is incredibly expensive, depends on third party help to actually land people on the Moon, and we’ve seen how long term NASA plans fare when they meet the reality of different administrations in the White House.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: The article points out that these Chinese debt relief packages come with hawsers attached to them.

  14. Kylopod says:

    Oh, this is fun. Here’s a clip rounding up the amazingly bad electoral predictions of Dave Rubin (a commentator for The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s network) in this cycle:

    One thing I should note: most of his predictions aren’t totally insane. There is, however one that really takes the cake: he predicted Tina Forte would win. Who’s Tina Forte? I had to look this up. She was the Republican challenger to AOC, in a district rated D+25 by Cook.

    Let’s be clear. Districts that are rated +25 or more are won by the other party literally never. Dems picked up an R+14 district in 2018, and even that was an exception (it flipped right back to the Republicans two years later). Even in 2010, Republicans didn’t pick up any districts that Democratic.

    It’s like claiming Trump is going to win Massachusetts or Biden is going to win Wyoming.

  15. Scott says:

    @Kathy: The trouble with that thinking is that people have learned to bring their own food. People now eat what they want and it’s better too. I don’t see offered meals or snacks as an incentive.

  16. JohnSF says:

    Perhaps the sensible thing to do would be take the Artemis planning and designs, and tender the upper stage and modules construction, and maybe use a Falcon to orbit it?
    Just my ignorant thoughts.
    I suppose it’s the politics of building it and related contracts?

  17. JohnSF says:

    Suppose I’d better read the damn article then 😉

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: I only read it because of the China angle and wanting to see if it really was likely. I didn’t know much about Bukele, not even his name to be honest, but did remember that ES went bitcoin a while back.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:


    This is what happens when you the tax rate for the wealthy is too low…

    We can be guaranteed that the buyers of scalped tickets at wildly inflated prices are not the typical Swiftie, and that is unfortunate.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    In truth, the process for selling tickets to these high demand shows is broken. Simply opening the doors to a virtual ticket office will almost ensure chaos and the crooks and grifters get served.

  21. Kathy says:



    I usually eat at the airport. If I have a bit more time, I eat before going to the airport (cheaper and more choices).

  22. Mimai says:
  23. Kathy says:


    It’s very complicated.

    Space travel is all about speed. To get somewhere, you need to get to a certain speed. For instance, to orbit Mars you need to match Mars’ speed around the Sun at the moment you reach the planet. But first you need to leave the Earth, and to do that you need a certain speed relative to the surface of the Earth to achieve the desired orbit.

    The latter is the hardest, most expensive part.

    Not to say the former is easy. Nothing about space travel is easy.

    SpaceX aims to launch a heavy lift vehicle, Starship, as a second booster stage with some payload. But once in orbit, it can refuel and go elsewhere. Or so seems to be the plan. Of course, you need to send fuel into orbit. So launching one Starship to the Moon and back, requires launching several into orbit first. And this after you develop a reliable, safe means for transferring fuel.

    It gets far more complicated and speculative from there. But the Falcon 9 Heavy sent a Tesla into a Solar orbit between Earth and Mars. That is more than enough to send a capsule to orbit the Moon and return to Earth.

    If you want to land on the Moon, then you’ll need more stuff and money.

  24. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Talk about Twitter not being the happiest place to work:

    Elon Musk issued an ultimatum to Twitter employees in a midnight email: Commit to an “extremely hardcore” Twitter or leave. Anyone who doesn’t sign a pledge by tomorrow will receive three months of severance pay.

    Yes, HL and Beth, I have worked at law firms with this mindset.

  25. Kathy says:

    This is exactly what I mean. Elon is pretty much saying, “I fired half the workforce and a lot of contractors right when I’m planning many major changes tt the platform. Now it’s on you to work overtime to make up for my cost-cutting. You’re not going to make me look bad, are you?”

    And unfortunately the tech landscape seems to be recessing (is that a word*?). So quitting and looking for a better job elsewhere, if they even ever existed, is probably not an option for most.

    The God Emperor of Mars and Phobos has invested too much of his outsize ego on remaking Twitter in His image. No way he steps back and hires someone with half a clue** to run things instead.

    *If it is, I think it’s the word I want. I mean “going into a recession, or already in one.” Recessing sounds good.

    **IMO no one has a whole clue about how to run social media well. Profitably perhaps, but not well.

  26. Beth says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Not necessarily, this is almost entirely about how scummy Ticketmaster/Live Nation is. That’s a whole set of companies that should be dropped in the ocean to drown.

    Most of the time when I’m buying tickets its to local(ish) raves at either pretty large (local) venues or local consortiums of venues and man it can’t be easier when I don’t have to use ticket master. Just fire up whatever app they are using and pay whatever nominal processing fee and I’ve got one or more tickets. With Ticketmaster I tried for a month to buy tickets to a Kyle Kinnane show and couldn’t. Not sold out, Ticketmaster flat out refused to sell to me. Oh you have a computer error (on every computer we own) or the app has a problem. I flat gave up.

  27. Beth says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    I hope they all quit. He’s telling them he’s going to torture them before he screws them over. Take the 3 months, take off december and then find a new job.

  28. Kathy says:

    You may have seen in the news that a cache of bronze statues was found in Tuscany recently. Dr. Novella at Neurologic has a piece on it, which is the first I’ve read that provides context.

    I hadn’t heard of statues as offerings at a Roman temple, certainly not to be thrown into a thermal spring. It seems more like an Egyptian practice of offering animal mummies at temples and sanctuaries.

    There’s mention of Etruscan inscriptions. This is not, contra the piece, entirely surprising. Claudius I, who dates from around that era, was known to write and read Etruscan. Since then, though usage declined until no one can read it any more.

    I wonder if these inscriptions, associated as they are with specific deities and/or body parts, might provide a clue to deciphering the language.

    Probably not.

  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    He should simply use the tagline; The Beatings Will Continue Till Morale Improves. Yeah, I’d take the severance, the job market isn’t that bad, even in the tech sector.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve got a new bit of OTB WordPress nastiness that has bitten me several times in the past week or so. I compose a comment and hit post, but have forgotten my email and user name. Instead of giving me a warning, it seems to reload the page without my comment. If I then use the back function from my browser (iPad Safari), it will bring the previous page up complete with my comment in the input box, but get hung up on “Reloading Page” and I can’t select the text.

    Anyone else?

  31. CSK says:

    What kind of system are you using? Chrome will just remind you to put in your name and email addie.

  32. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Mimai: Umm, no to all. Going with this, is the best substitute for a wee dram smoky wheatgrass?

  33. Sleeping Dog says:


    I’ve had this problem and so has Ozark. It’s pretty intermittent though.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: Why does the “Green Bean Fries” section have a picture of frozen peas?

  35. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Re: Twitter, I absolutely agree on the ‘take the three months severance and leave.’ Yes, tech hiring is rough right now, but Twitter folks are going to be going into a truly unique recruitment space where every single recruiter and hiring manager they talk to will 100% understand that their leaving was justified and not have those niggling unspoken feelings of “wait, but really, why *did* you leave your last post without something lined up already?”

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: I’d have to check with Gustopher, but 3 months severance seems like a decent amount to leave with–particularly if I’ve been looking for the door anyway.

  37. Jay L Gischer says:

    Yeah Musk is not the only CEO here who has that sort of attitude. I once overheard a guy try to recruit someone over lunch at the next table with “What would it take to get your total commitment?”

    Or as another example, I have a nodding acquaintance with a guy who was CFO of another very successful startup. I’d rather not say which, though. He pretty much slept in the office for three years, managed the IPO, and left after he vested. He’s very wealthy now, of course.

    He doesn’t have regrets, but man, that was rough on him.

  38. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    That’s why I quit working for law firms, except as an independent contractor. The money is worse, but I’m not expected to put in a 70 hour work week. His Imperial Muskrat would consider that slacking.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: You might want to try “recessionizing” on for size to be clear about the thing not being about elementary school children/court personnel and galleries going to recess.

  40. Kathy says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    On the other hand, it also signals the tech is not willing to be exploited. And how can you reduce costs and increase shareholder value with employees like that?

  41. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: iPad OS Safari. It may be coincident with the latest OS upgrade but it’s hard to say if it started before or after. Previous behavior was as you described.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: So does evil, vile Microsoft–bane of technology, killer of innovation, and (damn, I forgot the last one).

  43. JohnSF says:

    The thing his Imperator Elonius Muskulus may just be overlooking is that he may well have just driven a coach and horses through EU, and specifically Irish, employment law.
    He may be so used to dealing with US law that he may be forgetting other jurisdictions exist, and their lawyers also thirst for blood.
    GDPR, baby, GDPR.

    Unless, thinking sideways here, his musky plan is to get the EU to bankrupt Twitter so he can somehow write off all the debt liabilities as force majeured?

    Another thought: I wonder if there is leeway for him to force a debt-for-equity exchange on other lenders, keep debt himself, and end up being the first in the queue for any post-bankruptcy sell-off payments?
    (IANAL, but sometimes my mind can do a reasonable job modelling a corkscrew)

  44. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Kathy: Indeed and good for them!! I got so soured on private sector employment that I have never looked back once I switched over to state government / community college. For someone like myself that lives in the US and values work/life balance and financial stability over advancing up the career ladder at the cost of health and sanity, I think governmental work is one of the few remaining sane career options.

  45. Mimai says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Don’t be daft, there is no substitute for Whisky.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Is this a koan? Cuz it feels like a koan.

  46. charon says:


    That happened to me this morning. I closed the browser and opened it again and got my post I composed back that way.

  47. charon says:


    Not this morning, I use chrome, same experience as <arked Man

  48. Michael Cain says:


    Perhaps the sensible thing to do would be take the Artemis planning and designs, and tender the upper stage and modules construction, and maybe use a Falcon to orbit it?

    As I understand it, every piece of kit for Artemis III other than the Orion capsule and its service module, will fly on some combination of Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Starship. At this point in time, there are no other certified launch vehicles with sufficient capacity. Maybe Vulcan-Centaur and New Glenn will make the list, maybe they won’t. Launch tempo for both will be entirely dependent on Bezos’s ability to crank out engines.

    I’m just an odd sort of systems guy/applied mathematician. Artemis hasn’t reached omnishambles level yet, as I understand that term. But paraphrasing the NASA IG, they seem to be building a lot of pieces without any sort of real plan on how they fit together.

  49. Michael Cain says:


    I’ve got a new bit of OTB WordPress nastiness that has bitten me several times in the past week or so. I compose a comment and hit post, but have forgotten my email and user name…. Anyone else?

    Sorry (both that you have a problem, and that I can’t help). I have a piece of JavaScript I wrote that runs against all the pages I download. Among the things it does, on OTB and some other pages, it fills in my name and e-mail for me. Oh, and makes the comment text box starting size considerably bigger. Perhaps there’s a plug-in that does something similar?

  50. dazedandconfused says:


    Elonius I is probably projecting his experience here. For his space flights and the cutting edge Tesla (which it was once) he had nerds and geeks in the throes of creative ecstasy. Twitter, on the other hand, is a hive of worker bees plodding through mega-loads of ephemera and tripe while processing advertisements with money as their sole Holy Cause.

    Private equity takeover…less the coherent business plan.

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Twitter employees need a union.

    I can say that most (all?) of the construction unions have a good handle on the matter. Some guys like working 7/12s and making as much in 2 months as most do in 4 or 5. Others prefer putting in their 40 and having a life outside of work. In construction, both can find a home to suit them most of the time.

  52. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That is great. Accounting overall is similarly flexible in that you can work for any type of employer. It is a matter of finding the type of work within the larger field that suits you best.

  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: Yeah, I was a guy who liked living, I worked a number of 6/10 and 7/12 jobs but as much as I liked the paychecks, I needed a life.

  54. Jax says:

    Wish me luck, folks. Ranch mouse is about to venture into civilization for the first round of “college tours” for the eldest teenager tomorrow.

    Of course the weather on I-80 looks like it’s gonna be shit!

  55. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Fingers crossed!!!

  56. grumpy realist says:

    @Michael Cain: I know the NSS hasn’t been happy with NASA’s plans and has been trying to convince them to get back to the Moon along different lines.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: Good luck! To both you and eldest child.

  58. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: Have fun, make sure to tell your child things like “I’ll still love you whatever gender you come back from college from” and things like that.

    Make the child cringe!

  59. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t understand why no Twitter employees are talking about a union just to goad Musk into NLRB violations.