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. Gustopher says:

    At the end of yesterday’s open thread, Michael Reynolds, noted optimist, wrote:

    I think it’s helpful to stroll down memory lane. The Left has won on every social justice issue, ever, from long hair on guys and co-habitation, to gay marriage. The GOP exists to define and attack vulnerable minorities, and their current choice of victims is trans folks. Republicans will fill their pockets with cash from morons, and when that stops working (see gay marriage) they’ll find another vulnerable minority to attack.

    I think it’s worth noting some social justice and cultural issues where the left has not won: abortion and guns. And there’s no reason to assume that a Supreme Court that overturned Roe isn’t going to overturn Obergefell, especially when the Dobbs concurrence by Thomas explicitly says it should be overturned.

    Republicans are also making significant inroads against the right to an education, along with basic democracy and objective reality.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Newly uncovered documents show that the Republican states fighting Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan have made false claims that they will “suffer injuries”, or rather, be financially impacted by the scheme, a debt forgiveness campaign group has claimed.

    The supreme court case that will decide the fate of Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, Nebraska v Biden, rests on one of the plaintiffs, Missouri’s state attorney general, who claims Mohela – as the higher education loan authority of the state of Missouri is known – will be financially affected by the plan for the worse.

    The Debt Collective, an organization that fights financial exploitation and unjust debts, along with the liberal thinktank the Roosevelt Institute, submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to make public documents that refute Mohela’s claim it will suffer financial consequences as a result of the plan.

    Internal emails containing company calculations reveal that even after the debt cancellation is enacted, Mohela would not lose revenue. In fact, the opposite would be true, the groups said. “After President Biden’s proposal is enacted, Mohela’s direct loan revenue will actually be larger than any prior point in the company’s existence,” the activist groups wrote in a statement.

    Say WHAT??? A Misery Republican caught lying again??? Say it ain’t so!

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Lost treasures and ancient ruins: Anthony Kersting’s Middle East – in pictures

    One of the many, lost forever: The leaning minaret of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri, or the Great Mosque in Mosul, 10 August 1944

    Completed in 1173 the minaret stood at 148ft. Its lean was sometimes explained as a result of bowing to the prophet Muhammad as he ascended to heaven – or bowing towards the Virgin Mary’s tomb. Residents of Mosul repeatedly protected the mosque against damage by IS by surrounding it with a human chain, but it was destroyed completely in June 2017 with Iraqi and coalition forces just 50 metres away

  5. Kylopod says:


    I think it’s worth noting some social justice and cultural issues where the left has not won: abortion and guns.

    They may have not won the policy battle, but they’ve won the cultural battle to win the hearts and minds of the public (at least on abortion—guns is more complicated). The backlash against Dobbs is fair evidence of that.

  6. Mister Bluster says:

    Who needs objective reality when we have flat earth, invisible angels and karma?

  7. BugManDan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I wish they would have explained the reasoning behind destroying some of those, as some seem to be Islamic. Were they a different sect??

  8. BugManDan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: And people in MO who could use the relief (my brother) will still vote for these buttholes. I am so proud to be from (MO) and living in (SC) two of the plantiff states.

  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    Wars, battles, have ebbs and flows. There were any number of moments in the Civil War, or WW2, when it was clear that the good guys were gonna lose. And yet, nope.

    Abortion will be legal again. Gays will hold their gains, and trans people – who are going to spend a few years getting shit on – will prevail.

    That said, it would be really helpful if the people on the side of the angels could maybe not be quite so stupid and politically self-destructive. Short version of what damaged the trans movement so badly: the obvious unfairness of trans female athletes, and contemptuous disregard for parental rights. Parental rights are a third rail in politics, you don’t want to just walk up and lick. And social justice movements cannot be seen to be unjust, it’s a bit of a contradiction in terms.

    Add the fact that Gen Z, who are carrying the fight forward, suck at persuasion. Great at denouncing. Great at canceling. Brilliant at creating disapproving memes. And no generation has ever been quicker to take offense. Useless at persuasion.

    So now we’ve suffered our Bull Run, our Kasserine Pass. Our forces are, to use a military term, getting the shit kicked out of them. When one fails to anticipate, to plan for battle, when one is arrogant and dismissive of the foe, the foe comes and kicks shit out of you till you figure out it’s time for a new general and a new strategy.

    Are trans activists learning and growing? I hope so. Going forward I hope they’ll drop the trans athletes stance, and I hope they’ll figure out that you cannot pretend that parental rights aren’t a thing. And maybe they’ll even learn to persuade and not just demand. A sense of proportion wouldn’t hurt, either. Martin Luther King did not waste his forces attacking comedians.

    So, many stupid mistakes, unprepared troops, absent leadership, in other words, every fight ever. (Eh, Vlad?) Not a harbinger of doom, but definitely a wake-up call. It will take decades to undo the damage, but it will be undone. We will win.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @BugManDan: No, they were idiot zealots… Wait a minute, you mean the builders. Don’t know about them

  11. Jen says:

    So, so gross. How any woman votes GOP is completely beyond me at this point.

    The Next Front in the GOP’s War on Women: No-Fault Divorce

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: and contemptuous disregard for parental rights.

    On whose part? Because it’s Republicans in Misery that are shitting all over parental “rights”. (in quotes because one person’s rights are another person’s wrongs)

    eta finally got an edit function, fixed several mistakes

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Just one more reason to repeal the 19th Amendment.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @Gustopher: Yes, conservatives are having a moment, their success due to exploiting the quirks in our system that facilitate minority rule, or at least minority obstruction of majority rule.But they are a minority. And much of what I see says the kids are alright, conservatives will continue to be a minority.

    What we’re seeing is a rear guard action. The religious right imposing their views on others, the racists pushing for white nationalism, and the wealthy and privileged using the first two as a front to maintain their wealth and power. It’s ultimately a doomed rear guard action. In the long term they will fail. But they can do a lot of damage in the short term.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: And from the side bar on that article I saw this: Musk Threatens to Give Away NPR’s Twitter Handle Unless It Tweets Again

    Somebody needs a little timeout in the corner.

  16. Bob@Youngstown says:

    I had an interesting experience while voting yesterday in Ohio’s primary. As I left the polling place, I saw that a list of names was posted on the exterior door. It was an alphabetized list of each person who had voted that day, their complete address, and the time that they cast their ballot.
    I had never seen such a contemporaneous listing previously and wondered if this is a “new” thing (none of the poll workers knew) , is it just Ohio that is posting such personal identifying information.
    Further, what is the point?

  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    Oh, I agree. But they’re shitting on a small minority of parents, and shitting on minorities is the raison d’etre of the Republican Party.

    Where they are fucking up is by extending the attack to adults who want to transition. Tactical error. That takes it out of relatively safe ‘parental rights’ territory and into individual liberty, and tangentially abortion, which is our issue. If government can deny the right to transition it can certainly deny the right to abortion. Oopsie. Too far.

    Not to mention the fact that we can confuse the issue mightily by pointing out that a straight boob job is the same procedure as a transitioning boob job. So it becomes about motive, not the act itself, and many Americans will start to feel queasy about that intrusive government power. It’s the impracticality of legislating on this that may handicap the enemy.

    Opinion on trans issues is still fluid. Opinion on abortion is not. So, for this political cycle the Right will talk trans, and we will talk about abortion. That’s a good battlefield for us.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: Further, what is the point?

    Intimidation is the only thing I can come up with.

  19. Scott says:

    You know you hit a nerve when they squeal like stuck pigs. My Klown Kaucus congresscritter, Chip Roy, was furiously sending Facebook posts defending their debt limit bill. Like Biden at the State of the Union, the Republicans are being boxed in on what they will not cut despite passing a bill. Biden sent out a simple: “show me in the bill where the VA is protected”.

    House Republican Threatens to Cut VA Budget over Agency’s Warnings About Budget Cuts

    House Republicans are floating investigating the Department of Veterans Affairs or cutting its communications budget as they fume about the Biden administration’s messaging on the House GOP’s debt limit proposal.

    The potential reprisals were suggested by a couple of lawmakers during a press call over the weekend hosted by the No. 3 House Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., in which Republicans insisted the debt limit and spending cut bill they recently passed would not result in reductions to veterans health care and benefits, contrary to recent VA warnings.

    Ahead of the House vote on the bill, the VA said that a 22% cut would mean being able to handle 30 million fewer outpatient visits than planned, eliminating 81,000 Veterans Health Administration jobs and 6,000 Veterans Benefits Administration jobs, and increasing the disability claims backlog by an estimated 134,000 claims.

    The VA warning, along with subsequent statements from congressional Democrats and the White House framing the cuts as written into the GOP bill, infuriated Republicans. On the weekend press call, Stefanik accused the Biden administration of “shamelessly lying” about the contents of the bill.

  20. BugManDan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I did actually mean the destroyers. I understand Islamic zealouts tearing down Christian, Jewish, Zorastrian works. I am curious about tearing down Islamic stuff.

  21. CSK says:

    Headline I never believed I’d see:

    “AOC and Matt Gaetz Join Forces.”

    Check it for yourself:

  22. Jen says:

    Tell me again how changing child labor laws is a good idea, and that this isn’t abusive.

    10-year-old children were found working at a Louisville McDonald’s until 2 a.m.

    […] Franchisee Bauer Foods LLC confirmed to CNN that the two 10-year-olds allegedly employed were children of a night manager who were visiting their parent at work and were not approved by franchisee organization management to be in that part of the restaurant. […]

    “Visiting a parent at work.” Mm hm. Sure.

  23. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: AOC has worked with Ted Cruz before on a couple of issues. Bipartisan cooperation is only mostly dead.

  24. KM says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    By attacking “gender affirming” care for adults, the GOP is stepping on a HUGE landmine as a large, large number of things can be classified as “gender affirming” and thus bannable. Plastic surgery in all its forms is changing the body to a more specific vision and is usually gender-related; that nose job is to make you more inline with a specific image of gendered beauty as Taylor Swift isn’t gonna want Brad Pitt’s nose. Hell, even shaving and waxing is gender-affirming as society decrees women shouldn’t have hair where men do.

    The GOP is now stuck by their own rhetoric into why you can’t do something to extenuate your gender because it’s the same process and intent as someone trying to transition: I want to look like I feel. It’s like them trying to define “woman”. For most of history, “woman” was defined as “not-male” (see toxic masculinity and the concept of effeminacy). Now that “woman” has to stand as it’s own category and definition, they’re bumping up against all sorts of exceptions that leaves out folks they want to call women while leaving out trans individuals. Much like Diogenes, it’s easy to keep pointing out flaw in the definition and they splutter about trying to refine it oddly. Trans care has a lot of things that are used in other parts of life and banning it for adults is gonna really screw things up once the public starts really thinking about it.

  25. Kathy says:

    This is really bizarre.

    Brazilian police raided Bolsonaro’s mansion in an investigation over falsified vaccination records.

  26. Kathy says:


    I believe the congresswoman from New York is an adult, and understands that Republiqans, even Gaetz, do not have cooties.

  27. Scott says:

    @Jen: It probably also means that need for child care extends beyond the day shift.

  28. Jen says:

    @Scott: Absolutely, and I’m surprised that the article didn’t note that–I have to think there must have been something about this situation that made inspectors believe that these were minors working, rather than a child care situation. Security video of them cleaning, maybe?

    There’s a huge need for late night childcare, and it’s both very rare and in demand. I’ve seen a few articles about 24-hour childcare facilities, but even daytime childcare has trouble filling jobs. I can’t imagine how hard it is for shift workers.

  29. Scott says:

    @Jen: I can totally see a situation where the adult working needed his/her kids to be busy and thought a little busywork would be harmless.

  30. CSK says:


    Oh, sure, Ted Cruz. But Gaetz???? 😀

  31. just nutha says:

    @CSK: It’s only a head fake. Congress is never going to limit the abuses its own members can commit.

  32. Stormy Dragon says:


    If I remember correctly, Mosul is primarily Shia and IS is primarily Sunni

  33. Jay L Gischer says:

    I endorse Michael and Kylopod – we have won hearts and minds on many of these issues. I can find polls that show support for SSM at 70+%. The opposition hasn’t capitulated on these issues, but they are shifting their focus.

    But there is a long, tough slog ahead, and people are going to get hurt.

    I am less inclined to get exercised about matters of political strategy – I think the campaign for SSM was brilliant in that it highlighted a very normal thing, and put forward similarities rather than differences, which paves the way for more acceptance of LGB (if not T…) people.

    For me, the thing I would like to see for more trans acceptance is people willing to be out and tell their stories. In this case, not just trans people, but their parents, too.

  34. CSK says:

    Trump isn’t going to mount a defense in the E. Jean Carroll trial.

    I suppose his lawyers think it’s pointless–they’ve lost.

  35. Kathy says:


    I hope they’ve lost.

    The other reason not to put on a defense is if they think the plaintiff’s team hasn’t made their case. It doesn’t look that way to me.

    Can the defense ask for summary judgment?

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @BugManDan: Well, just as Christianity has different sects, only one of which is doing it the right way, just ask and they’ll all tell you everybody else is doing it wrong. It’s the same with Islam. Everybody is a heretic except them.

  37. CSK says:


    I don’t believe they can. A summary judgment takes place before a trial.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Don’t trust your GPS. Or at least look where you’re driving.

    My wife was so proud of her new GPS. I can’t count the number of times it said to turn on a road that wasn’t there. Maybe they are more reliable in cities but they ain’t worth a damn in the hills and hollers.

  39. Kathy says:

    There are no words

    From the link:

    This week, Robbins wrote in a Facebook post that has since been deleted, “A child just rang my doorbell. Folks you do NOT ring doorbells in 2023. My 6 was loaded,” he said, referencing a gun. “Keep your kids away.”


    Here’s a link to the Tweet with a screenshot of the FB post.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:


    An elaborate portable and foldable 19th century necklace sundial

    An absolutely stunning bit of metal work. I wonder where they found it.

  41. CSK says:


    Uh, how are you supposed to notify anyone you’ve arrived if you can’t ring the doorbell or knock?????

  42. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Where they are fucking up is by extending the attack to adults who want to transition. Tactical error. That takes it out of relatively safe ‘parental rights’ territory and into individual liberty,

    I don’t think it’s that clear that individual liberty is a left thing — not as clear as you want to suggest. Both left and right frame things in term of individual liberty.

    I think it’s interesting that the left has been using language of the libertarians a lot, rather than framing things from the impact on the community as a whole.

    The trans care for minors issue is almost always about allowing parents to get care for their kids, rather than any attempt to say that gender affirming care is the best available care we have for trans kids.

    When we discuss vote suppression, we are too often focused on individual people (or subgroups) being denied the right to vote rather than the people at large having their voice silenced.

    Every time there’s a natural or man-made disaster in a red state, there’s a large contingent on the left that is saying “screw them”.

    Meanwhile, the right’s understanding of individual liberty includes the individual being able to discriminate (refusing to make wedding cakes, sign marriage licenses, hire women and brown people, rent housing to sinful sodomites, etc).

    You can see it being invoked on both sides of the trans rights debate (any individual should be able to get care, any individual (or company) should be able free from even seeing trans people), education (“my child shouldn’t be exposed to things like history”…)

    I’m not sure where I’m going with this, whether ideas like individual liberty are like (modern) states’ rights* — a meaningless slogan dragged out for rhetoric that we sometimes have to deal with the consequences of — or a clear loss of a belief that we have a responsibility for our neighbors.

    I’m rambling.

    *: clearly, “states rights” was just code for slavery and discrimination in the past, but now it is “power should rest in the states when the opposition has the federal government”

  43. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod: Winning a popularity contest has no value without the force of the government to back it up in a timely manner.

  44. Kathy says:


    I got the habit of putting on Waze when going to work and coming home every day. I’ve noticed some negative things about it. For instance, it favors taking long detours to avoid a traffic jam and save you a minute or two.

    I tend to ignore it when it does that. One reason is that traffic changes, and you may find yourself in a worse jam and two kilometers off course. Another is that it has no regard for safe and unsafe areas, not even at night. A third reason is if it craps out while you’re in an unfamiliar area, you may take a long time getting out. This has happened to me, when it led me to areas with terrible cell and GPS reception.

    Another thing is it doesn’t always update traffic info or routes. It’s a good idea halfway through to recalcúlate the route and see what it comes up with. Sometimes the route with lots of traffic has eased up while the one you’re on hasn’t.

    Also, check the destination before you go, especially if it’s some place you’re unfamiliar with. one time typing down the exact address, complete with post code, it presented options. One option was the name of the government agency I was headed for. This was in Toluca, not Mexico City. I did not know where I was when I got there, exactly, but it clearly wasn’t downtown near where most government offices are.

    I had time before my appointment, so I managed to get there ok. I later found out it led me to a warehouse of the agency I was visiting, not the central offices (weeks later I had to go to that location to present samples).

    Since then I check Google maps online on the desktop PC before trying Waze. just to make sure.

  45. JohnSF says:

    Wahhabis are BIG on no focus of faith outside the Koran and the laws.
    See their deliberate destruction of medieval sites in Mecca and Medina.

  46. JohnSF says:


    “Verdict first, trial afterward,” the Red Queen shouted

  47. JohnSF says:

    E. Jean Carroll or Lewis Carroll?

  48. JohnSF says:

    In a possibly surprising development to some, Ukrainian forces are launching an attack on Russian positions just south of New York.

  49. Kathy says:


    My view is that any part of your property is open to reasonable use by the public, unless access is clearly impeded by something like a fence, walls, or a clearly visible sign.

    By reasonable use I mean things like using your driveway to turn around, or walking up to the front door to ring the doorbell.

  50. Monala says:

    Someone asked me back when to keep y’all posted about my daughter’s college application outcomes. So, she was accepted and will be attending a Tier 2 university (one step below the Ivies) on almost full scholarship. And she was waitlisted at one of the Ivies.

  51. CSK says:


    That’s great. Congrats to your daughter.

  52. Monala says:

    @Monala: in case anyone is wondering:

    Tier 2 schools include: USC, Washington University in St Louis, Tufts, Tulane, NYU, Boston University, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Notre Dame, Emory, University of Virginia, Wake Forest, UT Austin College of Natural Sciences, Boston College, Georgia Tech, William and Mary, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Georgetown, Carnegie Mellon, and University of Rochester.

  53. Monala says:

    @CSK: thank you

  54. wr says:

    @Monala: That’s a hell of a Tier.

  55. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Monala: Congrats to her for the results of all her hard work.

  56. Moosebreath says:


    Congrats and best of luck to your daughter.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Monala: WA! Congratulations to her! Hope she flourishes!

  58. wr says:

    @CSK: “Trump isn’t going to mount a defense in the E. Jean Carroll trial. I suppose his lawyers think it’s pointless–they’ve lost.”

    I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. The defense’s claim in the suit is that none of what was alleged ever happened. What witness could you put on the stand to bolster that? I suppose they could put people up to bash Carroll, but either they haven’t found anyone who could damage her credibility or they realize it would be counter-productive.

    For them it all comes down to the closing — it never happened and she hasn’t really done anything more than make an unsubstantiated claim.