Thursday’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. de stijl says:

    Last night tied the record for the highest overnight low in recorded history again. It tied yesterday which set the record.

    R’s are gaslighting me that this is normal.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: They think it’s a positive, training for Hell, which is where they are heading to.

  3. Scott says:

    Editor’s Note: We dug into why government, think tanks, and media coverage may focus more on right-wing extremists than left-wing groups, in part because of reader queries. This is part of our ongoing mission together with Military Veterans in Journalism to look at the nexus between extremism, disinformation and the U.S. military.

    A ‘lethal threat’: why the far right sees more scrutiny than the left

    Fifty years ago, far-left movements posed the biggest domestic terrorism threat to the United States, with some environmental, communist and animal rights groups taking credit for bombings, arson and vandalism at businesses and federal buildings across the country.

    But terrorism carried out by right-wing actors eclipsed that of leftist movements in the 1990s, and then, the country’s focus shifted to foreign terrorist organizations for more than a decade after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Now, government agencies and scholars across the political spectrum agree that far-right movements have caused most of the political violence in the U.S. over the past few years – and present the most dangerous threat today. Data shows that the involvement of veterans and service members in some of these groups is helping to further the violence.

    Data shows the most violent groups are those on the right, especially those with members who’ve had military training.

    Veterans’ and service members’ participation in right-wing violence is made clear in data from the U.S. for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, known as START. DHS officials told Military Times that START has compiled the “best open-source data in the country” regarding the involvement of military personnel in domestic terrorism.

    According to the data, 26 veterans and service members since 1990 were driven by their far-left beliefs to commit both violent and nonviolent crimes, while 333 veterans and service members were driven by their far-right beliefs to do the same. Among the violent crimes, 71% were committed by people aligned with far-right movements, while 6% were aligned with the far-left. The rest didn’t fall squarely into either ideology.

  4. de stijl says:

    There is a flip side to the Boy Who Cried Wolf story.

    Sometimes there is a wolf. And an orca. And a scorpion with an owlbear on its back.

    Yesterday may have been the hottest heat index ever here. It was 122F ffs.

    Some folks pooh-pooh that. It’s summer, get a grip! Get over it, pansy! The hottest it has ever been two days in a row and it is normalized as “summer”. Fuck you!

    The inability to see a crisis directly in front of you, directly confronting you is incredibly maddening. Have you ever had a friend / loved one that desperately needed to dry out and needed rehab desperately?

    They will lie to your face to preserve access to a huge honking bottle of ice cold vodka stashed in the freezer. Literally lie to you, to your face, on purpose, to preserve access.

    You are less than a week away from being evicted and homeless. You should probably address that.

    Substance abuse disorder is a hell of a thing.

    Your preferred outcome drives your response to abnormal inputs. Republicans desperately do not want to acknowledge climate change. They disallow all evidence. Deride, mock, laugh at it. They have to: the cognitive dissonance would make them explode.

    Somewhere in their heads they know they are wrong and are just fronting because they have to. Their perception of themself requires them to ignore all evidence. They have to make up a lame excuse.

  5. de stijl says:

    Can someone please tell me how ignoring and deriding direct evidence is in any way “consevative”?

    Because it isn’t and any conservative worth their salt would be concerned as hell about climate change. It messes with the status quo.

    So-called “conservatives” continue to not impress me. They fail utterly at being conservative, again.

    Radical reactionary != conservative.

  6. becca says:

    @de stijl: I heard a professor of climatology say this summer will be the coolest summer for the rest of our lives.
    We have been warned for decades we needed to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. I started an ecology club in high school 50 years ago, very Pete’s sake. Scientists have known about the greenhouse effect for over a hundred years. Too bad Eisenhower kept his reservations about oil to himself before we went all in on the interstate building.
    I am not normally a vindictive sort, but I hope the GOP pays a high price for their outright lies and denials and not just at the ballot box.

  7. Stormy Dragon says:

    At a time of anti-trans sentiment, a New York lawsuit brings hope for the community

    On Thursday, a settlement was announced. It includes a new countywide policy that mandates the housing of inmates consistent with their gender identity and access to gender-affirming care. Holland will also receive $160,000 as part of the deal.

    I just want to compare Makyyla Holland to the Jessica Watkins story yesterday. Makyyla worked with the ACLU to get a new policy in place that will benefit all future trans people who end up in contact with the Broome County prison system. Watkins, on the other hand, is just trying to get people in high places to get her special treatment while all the other trans people she spends her time trying to oppress get left with the same treatment.

  8. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    Can someone please tell me how ignoring and deriding direct evidence is in any way “consevative”?

    Conservatism for a long time has involved protecting the interests of the wealthy, and that includes the fossil fuel industry. Confronting climate change entails not only bringing down the clamps of government on that industry, but promoting alternative forms of energy that threaten that very industry’s existence.

    Of course as the world becomes a furnace it’ll be bad for everybody, even the oil plutocrats living in their mansions. But they aren’t the sorts of people to think that far ahead.

  9. Kathy says:

    Two eps of Ahsoka in, I can’t make a snarky comment without spoiler alerts.

    The makeup is exceptionally good. I can totally buy the skin tones of both Hera and Ahsoka. The Loth cat was a really nice touch,

    Trivia. The actor who plays the governor of Lothal, and also voiced him in Rebels, played the abusive guard, Hadley, in The Shawshank Redemption.

  10. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Late comment on the apparent decapitation of the Wagner group. It always astounds me how many mercenaries (and gunsels) over the millennia have forgotten the rule that their employers always prefer the cheaper option of paying off mercenaries, with a bullet/knife/rock etc in the back.

    Side thought is that Prig apparently never read Machiavelli, or ignored the fact that you never do an enemy a small injury.

  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Prigozhin’s employment history is mostly as a chef, right? Not particularly known for reading Machiavelli, are chefs.

  12. charontwo says:

    Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis asks for October 23rd trial date for Trump and 18 other co-defendants

    Breaking: DA Willis counters Ken Chesebro’s speedy trial request. All 19 Fulton defendants’ trial set for Oct. 23, 2023, per her response. Legal proceedings intensify as the court date looms. Stay tuned for updates.

    The decision to set the trial for all 19 Fulton defendants, including Trump, on October 23, 2023, holds significant implications for the legal proceedings involving Trump. First and foremost, the specified trial date suggests that the legal process is moving forward swiftly, indicating that the court is actively pursuing a timely resolution to the case. This timeline could impact Trump’s legal strategy, as his legal team will need to prepare for the trial within the allotted timeframe.

    Furthermore, the decision to group all defendants together for a single trial implies that the prosecution is pursuing a consolidated case against all individuals involved. For Trump, this means that his case will be heard in conjunction with the other defendants, potentially exposing him to shared evidence, arguments, and testimonies. The consolidation of the trial might influence the defense’s approach, as they navigate the complexities of defending multiple clients within the same legal context.

  13. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    The chefs I’ve known always knew better than to turn their backs on anybody with a knife. Apparently the rules are different in the former Soviet socialist republics

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: What I’ve been wondering about Ahsoka is why the main character looks like fan service for Battlestar Galactica and Chariots of the Gods. I would have thought that I was past the target age for any new Star Bores offerings.

  15. CSK says:

    Rudy says he was cheered by the inmates at the Fulton County jail today. He observed that “it was like a rally.”

  16. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: The pacing is slow, which gives you time to really let the visuals soak in.

    Visually, lots of little things bothered me — edges between real things and CGI popped in a way I don’t usually notice. Not sure whether it is significantly worse effects, or whether it’s just that there were a lot of scenes in sparse, clean, well-lit places.

    There were also a few scenes where only one character was in focus, which I get is a reasonable thing to do, but didn’t match the visual style of Star Wars in general and was jarring. If the show moved faster, I don’t think I would have noticed.

    That said, I don’t mind the slower pace. It also lets you see characters being characters, with each having distinctive ways they stand and move. And the effects… well, I like the reminder that you’re supposed to be suspending disbelief.*

    Also, and perhaps most importantly, not enough people had their hands cut off. That used to be the hallmark of a Star Wars, and I miss it. I hope they cut off some hands later in the season. Even a Wampa arm would be fine.

    *: I have a bunch of shows on BlueRay that were clearly never meant to be seen at that resolution, and I always love it. Star Trek, where you can see that the “windows” in the various rooms are just posters of the stars that someone put up to dream about not being in a windowless cell all day. Batman ‘66 with nearly everything looking off in a way that really fits the show. And Space: 1999 just looks great.

  17. Gustopher says:


    The Loth cat was a really nice touch,

    I loved the Loth cat.

    (Autocorrect wanted that to be a sloth cat, and I would have loved one of those too)

  18. gVOR10 says:

    @de stijl:

    Can someone please tell me how ignoring and deriding direct evidence is in any way “consevative”?
    Radical reactionary != conservative.

    Corey Robin wrote a whole book, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump that makes an excellent case that “conservatives are really reactionaries – and always have been. They deny clear evidence of AGW because various wealthy elites have spent huge sums of money to get them to do so. And it you think about it, that’s very “conservative”.

    It more and more pisses me off that everything in politics revolves around money, but no one, especially the supposedly liberal MSM, ever wants to talk about money in any meaningful way.

  19. DK says:

    Lost in yesterday’s sturm and drang about Prigozhin — sayonara, sucker! — and the GQP clown car debate was this revelation: some of the millions of Secret Service emails in the DOJ’s possession show pre-J6 contact with the Oath Keepers. This is not particularly unusual, but the leaked email shows some Secret Servicefolk naïvely felt these fare right paramilitary groups were around to help them with crowd control.

    Like lol wut? Does this help explain why the Secret Service accidentally-on-purpose deleted all its J6 text messages? How many in our SS are active rightwing extremist MAGA nuts like Dan Bongino?

    Just asking questions. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  20. Jen says:

    @Kathy: My husband remembered him from his role in “Highlander.”

  21. Mikey says:

    @Jen: Yes, Clancy Brown. He was the Kurgan.

    He’s also Mr. Krabs in Spongebob Squarepants.

  22. Beth says:


    Furthermore, the decision to group all defendants together for a single trial implies that the prosecution is pursuing a consolidated case against all individuals involved. For Trump, this means that his case will be heard in conjunction with the other defendants, potentially exposing him to shared evidence, arguments, and testimonies.

    My quick two cents is an effort to essentially “force” Trump into taking the stand. Put him at the end or the middle and watch as he gets more an more pissed off at the other defendants so that when given the opportunity to get up there and run his idiot mouth off. Watch a former president go to jail cause he couldn’t keep his trap shut.

  23. CSK says:


    trump says he’ll be surrendering to that radical leftist lowlife Fani Willis at 7:30 p.m. local time.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Because I really enjoy messing with people’s minds, I present the following musing.
    The Title: Trump as Messiah? Starting To Make Sense To Me

    The Money Quote: “Recognizing this, Trump as Messiah starts making sense to me. Both men have made it clear who and what we are. Jesus made it harder to be fully human in the path he called us to take. Donald made it easier to be fully human in the path he calls us to take. And, frankly, the success of the Jesus model has not exactly been stellar. Loving our enemies is way too difficult; hating them, however, is easy and highly doable.”

    My reaction: The writer makes a strangely compelling, although somewhat deconstructive, argument for her thesis. Alas, the only other wish I would have is for her commentariat to be as insightful and expressive as the one here, but one can’t have everything.

  25. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I don’t know, but I suspect she is a big old troll.

    The ease to which she came to hating our enemies is cool and, in fact easy, makes me doubt her sincerity.

    Even right wing religious folk strive harder to square the circle of Jesus theology to hyper-partisan politics. The logical jump is too abrupt.

    If that isn’t satirical it scares the crap out of me.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Interesting. I had no trouble seeing the satire to it at all. 😉

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: No editing today 🙁 , so I’ll add a thank you for allowing me to mess with your mind.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Niall Harbison

    Dog owners know this

  29. Kathy says:

    I nominate this for least surprising headline of the year: Lockdowns and face masks ‘unequivocally’ cut spread of Covid, report finds

    Specially this:

    When assessed individually, there was positive – if limited – evidence of transmission reduction from many of the NPIs (Non-pharmaceutical interventions) used in the pandemic, the review found. However, evidence of a positive effect was clear when countries used combinations of NPIs.

  30. CSK says:


    We do indeed.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Woman fined for fighting back ‘too much’ during sex attack

    He tried to speak with them, but the two ignored his advances and tried to laugh it off. What followed next made her fearful for her life and anticipating ‘the worst’.

    Milica said: ‘He grabbed my chin… and then he grabbed me by my intimate part (bottom area).

    ‘Defending myself, I hit him with a closed and then open fist, which I learnt while training kickboxing for four years.’

    She added: ‘In such moments you can only think of the worst. But I fought as hard as I could, and of course I knocked him out.’

    Surprisingly enough, not Texas, or Mississippi, or Alabama, but the Balkan country of Montenegro. Sarcasm, but not by much.

  32. Stormy Dragon says:


    trump says he’ll be surrendering to that radical leftist lowlife Fani Willis at 7:30 p.m. local time.

    They should tell him that the court has closed for the day, so they’ll have to hold him overnight and arraign him in the morning. =3

  33. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    That would be wonderful.

  34. Kathy says:


    I really have no eye for detail. I didn’t notice any of the defects or details you mentioned. So long as things are reasonably well done and self consistent, it all looks fine to me.

    Also, I think we’ve seen the last of Lothal. So, we probably won’t get to see Loth wolves.

  35. charontwo says:

    Judge McAfee sets scheduling order for Kenneth Chesebro’s trial in Fulton County. Trial to commence October 23, 2023.

    “At this time, these deadlines do not apply to any co-defendant,” McAfee writes.

    Emphasis added.

  36. Stormy Dragon says:

    Did anyone else find it odd that Trump is posting bail via bond rather than cash?

    I know bond is cheaper, but then he doesn’t get the money back

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:



    And to think that some on the right Would rather have this soldier eating the puppy instead of showing it love and affection. She must be “woke.”

    ‘Nuff said.

  38. al Ameda says:


    Rudy says he was cheered by the inmates at the Fulton County jail today. He observed that “it was like a rally.”

    I’ll take ‘Things That Never Happened’ for $600, Alex.

    On the other hand, were they chanting ‘lock him up!’ ?

  39. Kathy says:


    Who on the right suggested eating a puppy?

    @al Ameda:

    I doubt he saw any convicts. I can’t imagine there’s a tour of the inmate housing prior to booking. In any case, if jailed criminals cheered me, I wouldn’t brag about it.

    On other things, is there any benefit in defragmenting a solid state hard drive?

    It doesn’t really matter, as tomorrow I’m switching to the laptop. Of course, I said the same thing Tuesday, and then work got in the way (long, boring story). But I’m curious if there’s any effect. I recall defragmenting was kind of useful on older PCs, say up until around Win98 or so. Less so for 21st century machines.

  40. CSK says:


    The soldier and the dog are both sweeties.

    @al Ameda:

    Not according to Rudy. They loved him.

  41. charontwo says:

    With a picture

    FYI, Muhammad Ali’s recorded height and weight this day was 6’3 216.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: My assumption was that he’s going to stiff the bondsman by guaranteeing the bond on a property that’s already completely leveraged. That or he can’t lay his hands on $200k.

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    By the way, did the Fulton County Sheriff make good on his promise to publish Trumps vitals with the mug shot? I had 6 even and 260.