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. Bill Jempty says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:


    The Marine Technology Society was critical of OceanGate issuing marketing material that stated the Titan design would “meet or exceed the DNV-GL safety standards” while apparently not intending to have the vessel assessed by that same organisation. The DNV is an independent organisation – described as the world’s leading classification society for the maritime industry – which certifies vessels such as submersibles and issues regulations for such products.

    In the case of vessels like Titan, the DNV classification process examines whether “internationally recognised rules” were followed and includes inspections during the constructions and operations phase.

    Sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

    Almost a year after (the letter) was sent, OceanGate published a blog post explaining why it would not have Titan certified. In the post, the company acknowledged that classification assures “vessels are designed, constructed and inspected to accepted standards”, but claimed it did little to “weed out subpar vessel operators”. The company claimed “operator error” was responsible for the vast majority of accidents.

    Your point is? Making sure your sub is “constructed and inspected to accepted standards” does not preclude them from holding themselves to even higher standards.

    The company was also concerned that the classing process could slow down development and act as a drag on innovation.“Bringing an outside entity up to speed on every innovation before it is put into real-world testing is anathema to rapid innovation.”

    Where have we heard that BS before? How often?

    It’s not clear whether Titan received industry certification since the blog post was published, but in 2022 a CBS News reporter who was set to travel on the vessel reported that the waiver he signed read: “This experimental vessel has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body.”

    The only redeeming fact about this whole meshugas is that “Stockton Rush, the chief executive and founder of OceanGate – creator of Titan – is among those missing.” He bore the life and death risks too.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:
  4. Tony W says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thankfully, our Libertarian friends have assured me that this is not a concern because the invisible hand of the market will sort out that the company has dangerous practices and nobody will use them going forward.

  5. Bill Jempty says:
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A federal judge struck down Arkansas’ first-in-the-nation ban on gender-affirming care for children as unconstitutional Tuesday, the first ruling to overturn such a prohibition as a growing number of Republican-led states adopt similar restrictions.

    US district Judge Jay Moody issued a permanent injunction against the Arkansas law, which would have prohibited doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18.

    Arkansas’ law, which Moody temporarily blocked in 2021, also would have prohibited doctors from referring patients elsewhere for such care.

    In his order, Moody ruled that the prohibition violated the due process and equal protection rights of transgender youth and families. He said the law also violated the first amendment rights of medical providers by prohibiting them from referring patients elsewhere.

    “Rather than protecting children or safeguarding medical ethics, the evidence showed that the prohibited medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patients and that, by prohibiting it, the state undermined the interests it claims to be advancing,” Moody wrote in his ruling.

    Whaddya expect from a libtard pedo Obama judge? s//

  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    Elmo has decided that “cisgender” is a slur and that using it on Twitter is grounds for suspension. Actual slurs for trans people are allowed though because freeze peach.

  8. CSK says:

    Happy Summer Solstice!

  9. Beth says:


    I read the opinion. It is a brutal takedown of the State of Arkansas. It is methodical about the parties and evidence. It’ll be hard to overturn on appeal without being nakedly transphobic. One of my favorite paragraphs:

    If someone were to stereotype the most unlikely parent of a transgender child, it would be Donnie Ray Sexton. Donnie is a good and loving father.

    I cried when I got to that one.

    Another issue for these states is that they keep selecting the same “experts” who throughly discredit themselves.

    The Court found Dr. Levine a very credible witness who struggles with the conflict between his scientific understanding for the need for transgender care and his faith.

    The Court does not credit the testimony of Professor Regnerus and gives it no weight because the Court finds that he lacks the qualifications to offer his opinions and failed to support them

    Dr. Lappert offered opinions regarding the circumstances under which he believes cosmetic or aesthetic surgeries are ethically appropriate in adults and minors and the potential risks of various surgeries outside of the context of gender transition. The relevance of Dr. Lappert’s testimony was unclear. The Court finds that he is not qualified to offer relevant opinions given his lack of experience related to gender dysphoria.

    Dr. Hruz has never treated a patient for gender dysphoria.


    Like Plaintiffs’ experts, Dr. Hruz recognized that apart from the potential impact on fertility, the risks of these treatments also exist when these medications are provided to treat other conditions in cisgender patients. Compare Id. with 1229:24- 1230:22, 1249:14- 1250:8, 1259:15-1260:3 (Hruz). These risks have not prevented Dr. Hruz from providing these medications to cisgender patients in his pediatric endocrine practice.

    I wonder why.

    You might ask where did they find these bigots?

    Like Professor Mark Regnerus and Dr. Paul Hruz, Dr. Lappert was recruited by the Alliance Defending Freedom (“ADF”) at a seminar held in Arizona. The meeting was held to gather witnesses trained in various fields that would be willing to testify in favor of laws passed that limit transgender care. The ADF is an organization committed to protecting God’s design for marriage and family. (Tr. 1029:16-1031:24, ECF No. 248 (Regnerus)). The ADF is not a scientific organization, but a Christian-based legal advocacy group. Id. at 1080:21-25 (Lappert). While there is nothing nefarious about an organization recruiting witnesses to testify for their cause, it is clear from listening to the testimony that Professor Mark Regnerus, Dr. Paul Hruz, and Dr. Lappert were testifying more from a religious doctrinal standpoint rather than that required of experts by Daubert.


  10. DK says:


    Whaddya expect from a libtard pedo Obama judge? s//

    Heh. What were MAGA’s thoughts on the Trump judge who struck down Tennessee’s drag ban as an unconstitutional goverment attack on free speech?

  11. Mikey says:


    the Alliance Defending Freedom (“ADF”)

    It’s a special kind of lie to give an organization a name that describes the polar opposite of the organization’s actual purpose.

  12. Slugger says:

    Do the people opposed to genital modification surgery of children have a position on circumcision? For some the procedure is an emblem of the covenant earned by our forefather Abraham. However, for the vast majority of Americans it is simply a cosmetic procedure. Do we allow cosmetic genital surgeries for infants?
    If you can’t tell, I do have PTSD from my circ.

  13. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Happy Summer Solstice!


    My time of year

  14. CSK says:

    From Rolling Stone, via Raw Story:

    Donald thought he triumphed over Baier in that Fox interview. His attorneys think otherwise.

  15. Scott says:

    I get the sense that Twitter is becoming more and more irrelevant though I must admit I cancelled my account in Jan 22. But I just listened to this author on a podcast and can’t help feeling a little schadenfreude.

    Will Elon Lose Control of Twitter?

    Oh dear, what is going on these days with Elon Musk at Twitter? Let’s see: Twitter is being kicked out of its office in Boulder because—wait for it—Elon decided to stop paying the rent. He’s stopped paying the bills for Twitter’s use of Google Cloud and, according to my partner Eriq Gardner, for JAMS, the arbitration administrator that is adjudicating many of Musk’s legal disputes with his ex-employees. He’s also facing a lawsuit from the Wall Street P.R. firm, Joele Frank, which claims it’s owed more than $830,000 in fees for advice it provided during Musk’s campaign to buy Twitter last year.

    As a former restructuring and bankruptcy advisor at Lazard, I can recognize the signs of a company in distress. After all, it’s a pretty obvious tell that there’s financial trouble brewing when a company stops paying its bills as they become due. That’s a recipe for financial disaster, or bankruptcy, or both. Last time I checked, if a company has more than 12 creditors—as Twitter does—then any three of them can join together to put a company into an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding. And Elon is in danger here. At some point, the creditors he is mindlessly stiffing on a regular basis are going to get sufficiently pissed to throw Twitter into bankruptcy.

    Given the amount of wealth Musk has, maybe he just doesn’t care. Which is an argument for rigorous wealth taxes.

  16. Scott says:

    I listened to this podcast this morning. From the NYT “The Daily”.

    The Re-Militarization of Germany

    A couple of facts I didn’t know about:

    – Germany just published its 1st National Security Strategy since WWII.
    – It’s first donation to Ukraine was just 5000 helmets
    – It is now the second largest donor (in absolute terms) after the US
    – Basically just doubled it military budget
    – Weaned off Russian gas

    Another consequence of Putin’s utter failure.

  17. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    The breaking news is that the Special Prosecutor, Jack Smith, has a new addition to his legal team tonight. An unpaid new deputy Special Counsel. His name is Donald J. Trump.

    From beyond the blue line, he shoots…he scores!

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: And here I thought they found them swimming around the local sewage pond.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DK: What? That f’n RINO??? Ya know, he wears those robes because he’s just a closet drag queen. S//

  20. CSK says:
  21. Neil Hudelson says:


    While I applaud the results in Arkansas, it should be noted that this is not the first ruling to overturn such a ban, as The Guardian and others claim.

    The ACLU of Indiana beat them to the punch by about 5 days:

    ETA: Ah, I see the distinction they are making. This is a full judgement past the TRO stage. My apologies for my mistake.

    I do not apologize for taking the opportunity to brag about my office, though.

  22. CSK says:

    Lauren Boebert says she’s being directed by God to impeach Biden.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: She can join these guys

  24. CSK says:


    Boebert may actually believe she’s on a mission from God.

    PLUS: Marjorie Taylor Greene is mad at Boebert for stealing her impeachment idea.

  25. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Mister Bluster: Don’t forget Sly and the Family Stone’s Hot Fun in the Summertime. Great bands, just heard War’s Cisco Kid was a Friend of Mine on my community fm station yesterday, lots of memories.
    @CSK: Yosemite Samantha (Boebert) is getting quite a bit of bad editorial press here in her Western Slope district. When you’re getting jabbed by citizens in Mesa County you are in deep caca.

  26. MarkedMan says:

    Thought this was an interesting quote from an article in The Atlantic. The topic was thinking of internet disinformation as a public health rather than a technological issue, but this factoid about the 19th century cholera outbreaks in London seems to speak to our current trumpish anti-maskers screaming at poor county health officials at town halls:

    The Victorian working classes knew whom to blame when disease broke out: doctors. Mobs assaulted members of the medical establishment, leaving government officials unsure how to weigh the safety of physicians against the public interest. Why the rage? The traditional response to disease—quarantines—had become ineffective in industrialized cities, prompting the public to distrust those who profited from treatment.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I do not apologize for taking the opportunity to brag about my office, though.

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  28. CSK says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    Well, her various sordid family scandals don’t help much, do they?

  29. Kazzy says:

    The article is a little old and from the sounds of it, already made the rounds on the internet. But I heard the author on a podcast and found her take fascinating. While I think she chose some pretty extreme examples for the piece, I definitely do see how “therapy speak” dramatically shifts the way in which interactions, conversations, and relationships are impacted by it’s usage and agree with the conclusions Fishbein offers.

    I would even say that I see the 2nd generation of this with my students as many of them are absorbing and adopting this mindset from their parents. Some of that is just kids being kids — which perhaps speaks to the challenges presented from the use/thinking behind “therapy speak” — but having it so strongly affirmed definitely means I have to manage their social interactions differently.

  30. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Elmo has decided that “cisgender” is a slur and that using it on Twitter is grounds for suspension. Actual slurs for trans people are allowed though because freeze peach.

    I admit I’m having trouble keeping up with Musk’s rationale on how he thinks the platform is supposed to be moderated. He has said in the past that he will allow anything as long as it isn’t illegal. Of course that was always pure horseshit. Even if he sincerely believed in such a principle, it would be totally unworkable–for a variety of reasons. But I was under the impression he had dropped the platform’s policy against slurs. Like it or not, slurs are legal in the United States. That can get to be a blurry line when it comes to harassment, but most of the time Americans are pretty much able to use slurs to their liking. There can be consequences–you could be fired from a job–but you won’t get arrested for it.

    And indeed, it was reported late last year that ever since Musk’s takeover of Twitter, incidences of the N-word on the platform had increased 500%.

    But reading about the recent “cisgender” fiasco, it seems Twitter still has an official policy against the use of slurs. It never got rid of it, it just “interpreted” it in Elon’s preferred way. Which means in effect, use it as a pretext to kick off people he doesn’t like while claiming to be a free speech warrior. But we knew that already.

  31. Mister Bluster says:

    Ella Fitzgerald

  32. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:


  33. Mister Bluster says:
  34. CSK says:

    Donald Trump to Bret Baier: “Those weren’t documents; they were papers.”

  35. MarkedMan says:

    The more this Trump thing drags on, the more sure I get of my hunch that the real reason Trump tried to get away with keeping the documents is that some had already gone missing, and he knew it. I don’t have a hunch on whether he knew because he gave or traded them to someone, or because he noticed something missing.

  36. dazedandconfused says:


    “Those weren’t documents; they were my precious.”

  37. Kingdaddy says:

    What’s more newsworthy, the missing submarine or hundreds of dead migrants?

  38. CSK says:


    That’s about what Trump sounds like now.

  39. Mister Bluster says:


    How important the local angle is I learned years later when I read that a man named Bonfils, owner of a Denver newspaper, frequently said to his staff “remember that a dog fight on Champa Street is a bigger story for us than three thousand [or it may have been 300,000] Chinese drowned in a typhoon”.

    Witness to a Century (1987)
    encounters with the noted, the notorious, and the three SOBs
    George Seldes

  40. gVOR10 says:


    It’s a special kind of lie to give an organization a name that describes the polar opposite of the organization’s actual purpose.

    FOX News? Club for Growth? Americans for Prosperity?

  41. CSK says:

    My goodness. According to Mediaite, Marge Taylor Greene called Lauren Boebert “a little bitch” on the House floor today.

    Cat fight.

  42. dazedandconfused says:


    Something even weirder from the RWNJ-o-sphere.

    She paid $100,000 for McCarthy’s used Chapstick.

  43. Mr. Prosser says:

    @CSK: Interestingly the family stuff (divorce and a child fathered by her 18 yoa son and possible physical abuse of another son) aren’t brought up in the complaints, mostly it’s the fact she isn’t doing a damn thing for the district.

  44. CSK says:


    Yeah, I heard. That is seriously weird.

    @Mr. Prosser:

    Squawking loudly about God ‘n’ guns only takes you so far, I suppose.

  45. Mikey says:

    @gVOR10: Moms For Liberty too. All lies in name form.

  46. dazedandconfused says:

    Geene called for decorum and the reaction was fun.

    Of all the people to hand the gavel to…

  47. Michael Reynolds says:

    Note to Disney: kid who can turn into fire? Cool. Kid who is literal fire? Um. . . .Adult who is literally fire. . . in a romance with another adult who is literally water? Seriously? This made it past how many people? And they’re surprised it flopped?

    Hey, kid, wouldja like to see a movie about a romance between two elements? No?

  48. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    In the meantime my daughter has discovered the “Hotel Transylvania” series and watched it roughly a billion times. I hate it so much.

  49. Gustopher says:

    @Kingdaddy: There’s a billionaire or three on the sub — can’t they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps?

  50. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Given that Disney had a movie about a guy who wants to fuck half a fish that was popular enough they are remaking it… I think it’s a matter of how well a story is told, rather than what the initial concept is.

    They can’t all be “trash bot falls in love,” “crazy cat lady but with dogs,” “drugged woman gets kissed against her will,” or “2001, but for children”.

  51. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: I only have one thumb’s up to give, but I’d give 40 more for that comment to @Kingdaddy. 😉

    The Tik Tok Kids are wondering if canned CEO tastes better at 12,000 ft under sea level…….

  52. Kathy says: