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. gVOR08 says:

    I caught a clip last night of McCarthy and McConnell leaving the debt ceiling meeting. The story was about the debt ceiling, but my gawd McConnell looked awful. His face was gaunt, his suit was hanging on him, and he seemed barely able to walk. He looked terribly unwell. I haven’t seen anything about his health since he returned after his fall. Anything more recent?

    I wouldn’t count on him taking an active role in the debt crisis.

  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    References to Racism From Her Book, an Author Refused
    The case, involving Scholastic, led to an outcry among authors and became an example of how the culture wars behind a surge in book banning in schools has reached publishers.

    It was the most personal story that Maggie Tokuda-Hall had ever written: the tale of how her grandparents met and fell in love at an incarceration camp in Idaho that held Japanese Americans during World War II.

    The book, called “Love in the Library,” is aimed at 6- to 9-year-olds. Published last year by a small children’s publisher, Candlewick Press, it drew glowing reviews, but sales were modest. So Tokuda-Hall was thrilled when Scholastic, a publishing giant that distributes books and resources in 90 percent of schools, said last month it wanted to license her book for use in classrooms.

    When Tokuda-Hall read the details of the offer, she felt deflated — then outraged. Scholastic wanted her to delete references to racism in America from her author’s note, in which she addresses readers directly. The decision was wrenching, Tokuda-Hall said, but she turned Scholastic down and went public, describing her predicament in a blog post and a Twitter post that drew more than five million views.

    The publishers likely believe that the authors will quietly roll over for the money.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: To be clear, the publisher did not ask her to change anything about the racism she describes in the childrens story itself. The redactions requested were in the forward, which was aimed at adults and was a polemic. Here’s the forward:

    “[My grandparents’] improbable joy does not excuse virulent racism, nor does it minimize the pain, the trauma, and the deaths that resulted from it. But it is to situate it into the deeply American tradition of racism.

    “As much as I would hope this would be a story of a distant past, it is not. It’s very much the story of America here and now. The racism that put my grandparents into Minidoka is the same hate that keeps children in cages on our border. It’s the myth of white supremacy that brought slavery to our past and allows the police to murder Black people in our present. It’s the same fear that brings Muslim bans. It’s the same contempt that creates voter suppression, medical apartheid, and food deserts. The same cruelty that carved reservations out of stolen, sovereign land, that paved the Trail of Tears. Hate is not a virus; it is an American tradition.”

    Here’s what Scholastic requested:

    “We love this book! And we want everyone in the schools we serve to read it. However, our audience is comprised of elementary school-aged children and there are some details in the Author’s Note that, although eloquently stated, are too strongly worded for what most teachers would expect to share with their students. This could lead to teachers declining to use the book, which would be a shame. To that end we are requesting make an adjustment to the Authors Note. Our suggested change is attached.” Afterward, Scholastic communicated these concerns to Tokuda-Hall in another email.

    Tokudo-Hall is 100% justified in refusing to have the book published without the forward. But, in my opinion, I think Scholastic was making a judgement call on whether that forward was appropriate for a book aimed at young children. It wouldn’t surprise me if the story itself will get lost, and that forward will be the only thing discussed. Like I said, she is totally within her rights to insist that something so core to her beliefs be kept in her book. I just don’t think this is as clear cut as is being presented.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    While driving to work this morning I was contemplating a major shift in traffic enforcement that has passed with little notice: a shift from ticketing drivers to ticketing cars. More and more at intersections and at speed prone sections of the highway, communities are putting up traffic cameras. If they detect a violation a ticket is sent to the car’s owner. As far as I know, in the past this practice of ticketing the car only applied to non-moving violations such as parking.

    I have to admit to mixed feelings about this. For the present, the state does not seem to be notifying insurers, and these moving violations aren’t affecting rates in the same way that a ticket given to a specific driver does. But how long will that last? After all, the insurance company insures both the car and the driver (if I lend my car to a friend it is still insured).

    On the other hand, the number of truly terrible and dangerous drivers seems to have skyrocketed. People weave in and out at 10-30 mph over traffic flow, swerving two or even three lanes to tuck into small and quickly closing gaps and causing everyone behind them to hit the brakes. I wouldn’t mind this behavior being monitored by camera and the car, if not the driver, being hit with a “road-suspension” where it will not be allowed on the highway or perhaps any road for a certain amount of time. This prevents the high speed chase that would be necessary to catching these reckless drivers in the act.

  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    I have nothing to say publicly on this, but will comment that you are a perceptive fellow.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:


    As a reader, I find author’s notes integral to the core of a book. Not being a writer, I’ll let the authors who comment here offer their thoughts as to whether they believe that the notes are important to the book.

  7. Scott says:

    Small steps.

    ‘He was a soldier’s soldier’
    Kingsville’s Cavazos honored as Fort Hood’s new namesake

    When he left Fort Hood 41 years ago, it’s a sure bet that then-Lt. Gen. Richard E. Cavazos never imagined the day would come when they’d name the place for him. But Tuesday was that day.

    In a ceremony under a cloudy sky Tuesday morning, the Army’s best-known post was officially renamed Fort Cavazos in honor of the nation’s first Hispanic four-star general. Cavazos, who grew up on South Texas’ King Ranch and died in San Antonio in 2017 at 88, fought in Korea and Vietnam, was decorated for bravery, and esteemed by numerous veterans who’d served under his command.

    John Bell Hood (from Wikipedia):

    John Bell Hood (June 1, 1831 – August 30, 1879) was a Confederate general during the American Civil War. Although brave, Hood’s impetuosity led to high losses among his troops as he moved up in rank. Bruce Catton wrote that “the decision to replace Johnston with Hood was probably the single largest mistake that either government made during the war.”

  8. Stormy Dragon says:

    Clarence Thomas Reversed Position After Gifts And Family Payments

    The so-called “Chevron deference” doctrine stipulates that the executive branch — not the federal courts — has the power to interpret laws passed by Congress in certain circumstances. Conservatives for years have fought to overturn the doctrine, a move that would empower legal challenges to federal agency regulations on everything from climate policy to workplace safety to overtime pay.

    Thomas wrote a landmark Supreme Court opinion upholding the doctrine in 2005, but began questioning it a decade later, before eventually renouncing his past opinion in 2020 and claiming that the doctrine itself might be unconstitutional. Now, Thomas could help overturn the doctrine in a new case the high court just agreed to hear next term.

  9. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Regarding inflation from the BLS;

    The all items index increased 4.9 percent for the 12 months ending April; this was the smallest 12-month increase since the period ending April 2021.

    Thanks, Brandon!!!

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I guess I have no strong opinion on notes in general, other than an observation that if they are necessary to a work then I suspect the author hasn’t really accomplished what they wanted in the text itself. But I’m the type of person who agrees almost (but not quite) entirely with Tom Wolfe in “The Painted Word”: art that needs the artist to explain it in a separate text is unlikely to be very good.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: The story goes, there were too many people who were using the “yeah, it’s my car, but you can’t prove it’s me in there” defense. Finally the authorities got fed up and decided “well, in that case, whoever has the car’s title will be automatically responsible.”

    And this is why we can’t have nice things!

  12. becca says:

    I have some really sad news. We had to put young Wister down. Whether he was misdiagnosed by our vet and had suffered a venomous snake bite (doubtful) or he had a congenital immune disorder (more likely), we will never know. He was suffering organ failure and in a lot of pain. We are heartbroken.

  13. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    George Santos has been indicted, and is in custody. Will be arraigned later today.
    He is charged with seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives.
    Speaker McCarthy had previously said, when asked about Santos, that he hadn’t yet been indicted.
    Now he is saying that Santos hasn’t been found guilty.
    Republicans – the party of law and order.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @becca: So sorry to hear. We lost our cat a few months ago and we were all devastated, including grouchy and insensitive me.

  15. Jen says:

    @becca: I am so sorry. It’s hard to see them suffer. How is the other pup doing?

  16. Sleeping Dog says:


    Losing a pet is tough, particularly a young one. Sorry to hear this.

  17. steve says:

    Agree it was that young author’s choice to not go ahead but its a real shame from what I am reading. It was a good story that also conveyed a good message that could have been read by millions of kids. I dont read author’s notes, sorry guys, and I bet most kids dont either. So if her goal was to make money its a fail, so far. If her goal was to reach people, kids, with a good story that would also teach about the harms of racism its a fail. If the goal was to have a small number of people read a strong polemic against racism, then I guess it was a win.


  18. CSK says:


    Scholastic apparently offered to publish the book with the forward untouched, but the author refused. Everybody loses.

  19. Kathy says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    “He’s been found guilty, but he says he didn’t do it.”

  20. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    The House GOP…perhaps in an effort to take eyes off Trump’s sexual assault issues, perhaps trying to take eyes off Santos’ indictment for fraud…were out this morning literally BEGGING the press to take up their smears against Biden.
    They have no proof of any wrong-doing, only aspersions cast. And their goal is to get the press to take up those aspersions and amplify them, a la “her emails” and “BENGHAZI!!!.” Because their goal is not to find any wrong-doing, it is only to smear and defame and cause political damage.
    This is your MAGA-Republican party, today.

  21. Modulo Myself says:

    I’m quite positive Scholastic was worried about the reaction of teachers and parents, not kids. Kids can handle hearing about how racist America is. Parents and teachers fearful that kids might grow up to be actual adults are the ones with the problem.

  22. becca says:

    @Jen: Sadie is a handful, but she’s getting better everyday. She met our five year old granddaughter and was totally cool. That was a huge relief. She got along great with Frank, our daughter’s Doodle. We’re keeping him this weekend while the kids go to NOLA. Frank is as energetic as Sadie so I will work that to my advantage and let them loose to play tug of war til they wear themselves out.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I’m quite positive Scholastic was worried about the reaction of teachers and parents, not kids.

    Which is exactly what Scholastic said in the email to the author.

    As a parent or a teacher, I wouldn’t want to have my elementary school age children reading that we are locking children in cages and the police are murdering black children, without being present to help guide them through the questions and fallout. I wouldn’t put a book like that just sitting out in the classroom. I’m not naive, I know that kids are hearing this stuff at home and this may be a good opportunity to address this. I don’t know that I would bother talking about the actual book though, and I’m not sure I would pick this polemic as the best way to address these concerns with the children.

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    I screwed up. When I rejected the offer of a Chinese publisher who wanted to make everything China into Russia and thus lost access to that market; and when I rejected a German publisher’s request that I redact all references to religion and also lesbianism (?) and forfeited that deal; and when I rejected requests to appear in the UAE and promote my books thus passing on first class travel and emoluments from a dictatorship; and when a series I co-wrote was attacked as satanic by Evangelicals, I really should have gone straight to the media.

  25. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m curious about how the entity in question–state, county, municipality–is going to enforce the not allow the car on the road feature you describe. I like the idea, but aside from impounding someone’s personal property, I’m not seeing how you enforce it.

  26. just nutha says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I will note in passing that as a child, I seldom read the foreword or other author commentary unless it was assigned. That said, I see both Scholastic’s and the author’s viewpoints, but also see that no compromise position is likely to suit all parties. This type of conflict is exactly the type of thing to which I was referring yesterday when I noted how the whole corrupting of young minds thing has changed.

  27. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I can see her point though. She has no reason to believe that the company won’t “inadvertently” leave out the foreword or whatever after they asked for it to be redacted heavily enough to make her decide to scrap the deal.

  28. gVOR08 says:

    @just nutha:

    I’m curious about how the entity in question–state, county, municipality–is going to enforce the not allow the car on the road feature you describe.

    Marked Man presented it as a hypothetical, but it doesn’t seem difficult. Cop car cameras, and I would assume some stationary cameras, read plate numbers and automatically run them for outstanding tickets or warrants. If a camera spots a banned car on the road, the owner would be mailed a new citation and fine.

    Reliability is open to question. I received in the mail a bill for tollway tolls. A photo was included, which showed the tail of an SUV with a plate number similar, but visibly different, than the one cited, which was on my Miata. So I had little difficulty getting out of it.

  29. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    I really doubt they’d do that. Scholastic has a very good long-term reputation, and they wouldn’t want to ruin that over one book. Or even several books. Besides, the author could sue them into oblivion if they violated the publishing contract that way.

  30. Mu Yixiao says:


    I tend not to read forwards. This one seems inappropriate for the Scholastic demographic. Not the content, but the wording. It’s written for an older age group. The author could have gotten the same ideas across by rewriting them in more age-appropriate language and everyone wins.

  31. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I don’t think they would either but wouldn’t fault her for disbelieving either. And maybe an author can sue them–provided said author has the resources to do so. My understanding is that lawyer’s seldom take lawsuits on a contingency basis.

  32. just nutha says:

    @gVOR08: A citation and fine–to go with the previously ignored demand that the car stay off the road strikes me as another “the Gardai doesn’t prevent crime as much as clean up after it” situation. YMMV.

  33. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    A long, long time ago, I read Asimov’s Foundation trilogy in Spanish translation (print books in English were hard to find in prehistoric times). The foreword, by the Spanish edition editor and not the author, for Second Foundation, gave away the location of the Second Foundation. Finding it was the whole point of both parts of the book.

    So, on part one you know the protagonists are on the wrong track. And on part two, well, that requires massive spoilers.

    Since then, I never read the foreword for a fiction book, not even for anthology collections.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @becca: Tuff news becca, know that you gave him/her their best times.

  35. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    I don’t know about contingency, although it seems to be a fairly frequent practice, but if Tokuda-Hall is a member of the Authors Guild, they’ll provide her with free legal help.

    It’s a moot point anyway. Scholastic Press isn’t going to backstab her. I’ve never heard of a publisher rewriting anything without permission from the author.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: In STL if you don’t pay your parking ticket they put a boot on it. No more driving till you pay up. I assume something similar for repeat speeders.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Put a boot on your car. dumbfuck

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @@OzarkHillbilly: and I’m the dumbfuck who can’t write clearly today

  39. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: The forward reads like bait for the anti-CRT crowd, rather than anything aimed at children.

    Scholastic would like to sell books, and continue to be known as a safe company to parents of all stripes, and that means flying under the radar at least a little bit, so most parents view them as a badge of “this is mostly fine”, and regard the complainers as cranks.

    Scholastic is not a company that tends to make statements like “Hate is not a virus; it is an American tradition.”

    I also don’t think 6 to 9 year olds, the target audience, can really process that sentence or the meaning behind it.

  40. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I was utterly confused when I read Second Foundation — I hope that all versions now have very clear trade dress that says “This is book 3, not book 2”

    I was 12 or so. So not very bright.

  41. Dutchgirl says:

    Dutch kid-lit is much much darker, I think kids can handle it. It’s that we tuck these issues away until ‘age appropriate’ or ‘should be taught at home’ that we continue to inadequately confront this history. Not sure if I agree with the author’s tactics, but I appreciate her stance.

  42. Modulo Myself says:


    I also don’t think 6 to 9 year olds, the target audience, can really process that sentence or the meaning behind it.

    Well, white kids. We expect black kids to make sense of the fact that Washington and Jefferson owned people like them, but other than that minor small salient fact they were great men. After all, it makes perfect sense to white people!

  43. Kathy says:


    It was also far from Asimov’s best work. Not to mention the use of gimmicks like not naming crucial characters, and a chapter with only three lines in it.

  44. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Actually, I knew what you meant just reading it. If you were taking Eng.101 from me, understanding what you meant wouldn’t stop me from asking why the police would be putting a boot on a parking citation, though.

  45. Mu Yixiao says:


    Not to mention the use of gimmicks like not naming crucial characters, and a chapter with only three lines in it.

    There’s a book called “100 Very Very Very Short Science Fiction Stories”. One of the stories is titled “Sign at the End of the Universe”. The entire story is “This end up” printed upside down. 🙂

    Then, of course, there’s the Hemmingway story:

    For sale:
    Baby shoes.
    Never worn.

  46. Sleeping Dog says:


    Always remember the 7 magic words of dog ownership: A tired dog, is a good dog.

  47. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    Same here. But Ozark is a hell of a lot more literate than the average college freshman.

  48. CSK says:

    Is anyone going to watch Trump’s town hall on CNN tonight? I doubt I will be able to sit through the whole thing, but I’m hopeful he’ll make an even bigger horse’s ass of himself than he usually does.

  49. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I rarely watch such things, but that changes to “never” when it is someone like Trump.

  50. Kathy says:


    I plan to not watch a second. I can wait until tomorrow to read what kind of ass the sexual predator makes of himself.

    He could contact the IT dept. at my work if he needs help.

    IT (mass email): Please run Bluescreen Cloud on the 11th or 12th so we can test it running with as many users as possible

    Me: I don’t have access to Bluescreen Cloud yet.

    IT: What’s your user number?

    Me: (sends user number)

    IT: Access Bluescreen Cloud and set a password following this criteria (lists criteria).

    Me: I don’t have access to Bluescreen Cloud yet.

    I’m waiting to see what they come up with next.

  51. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan: @Kathy:

    I’ll most likely decline to watch it tonight. Like Kathy, I’ll read about it tomorrow, perhaps here on OTB. Bonus: there may be some amusing film clips.

  52. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: I’m hearing journalists arguing it’s news, CNN should interview the likely GOP nominee. That argument has some validity in theory. I’d agree if I expected an honest interview. First there seems to be some concern about the moderator and fear she’ll do balloon balls. Second, and I didn’t realize this until I checked, it’s a town hall format. Most questions will be from the audience. The invited audience are likely GOP primary voters FFS. Sure smells like CNN’s new owner wants to get into Trump’s good graces. .

  53. CSK says:


    Yes. The audience appears to be composed of Republicans and GOP-leaning Independents.

  54. Just nutha says:

    Wa! Trump’s been out of office for 2 and a half years now, and he still sucks all the air out of any room he even walks by. If I cared about who’s likely to get elected in 2024, I’d be worried. ☹️

  55. Jax says:

    @Just nutha: It’ll be like that until the day he dies. We all knew he wasn’t gonna shut up, but I am disappointed in how long he’s held his hold on the media and their need for clicks. He’s the car wreck we can’t stop watching.

    I would be happy if I never had to hear another word about him again.

  56. becca says:

    Just want to say ya’ll are really good people here at OTB. Thank you for letting me share my grief.

  57. CSK says:


    I’m so sorry for the loss of Wister.

  58. Jax says:

    This hurts a lot. She wasn’t a friend, but someone I related to. And her ex-husband was in a great ska band I used to go see, long, long ago.