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. DK says:

    Apparently, Republicans are impeaching Biden to find out what they’re impeaching Biden for.

    Maybe Republicans are impeaching Biden for building the world’s strongest post-pandemic recovery:
    – record job growth
    – record infrastricture projects
    – 4 million more jobs than existed pre-COVID
    – record clean energy investments
    – the lowest inflation in the developed world
    – record manufacturing jobs
    – record low unemployment for blacks and Latinos.

    China is flailing in part thanks to Biden’s trade policies. And Biden has rebuilt NATO, using only 3% of America’s total defense budget to cripple Putin’s war machine.

    Republicans ignoring real issues like gun violence and climate change to instead waste taxpayer money on an impeachment-to-nowhere will not play well with voters. Especially while conservatives are banning books, enslaving women with forced birth, and supporting Crooked Trump and the Jan. 6 insurrectionists.

  2. Gustopher says:

    @DK: I’m pretty sure it will end up with Republicans impeaching Biden for failing to cooperate with the Impeachment Inquiry by committing impeachable offenses. A Contempt of Congress and/or Obstruction charge, because the Republicans have found no evidence of crime, and the only possible explanation is that Biden is hiding the evidence.

    Or they will lose 4 Republican votes. There are probably at least 4 Republicans from purple districts desperately hoping that MTG, Gaetz and a few others are killed in a freak accident (animal encounter at the local zoo goes wrong when a hedgehog goes for the jugular?)

  3. Michael Reynolds says:

    So, yesterday I did something very stupid. I said, out loud, “I’ve had 69 years without a serious medical issue.” Like a schmuck.

    So then as I’m watching TV: sudden back pain radiating around to my chest. And painful. Like an 8 maybe. LIke gritting teeth and saying ‘fuck’ a lot. So now I’m chilling on morphine waiting to be hauled to an overnight room. No diagnosis yet but apparently not a heart attack.

    I hate when young women call me dear or hon, but nurses get a pass.

  4. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:


    No diagnosis yet but apparently not a heart attack.

    Wishing you more good news. Glad you’re finding the humor.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Sorry to hear this news. I hope it’s nothing truly serious.

    “I’ve had 69 years without a serious medical issue.” Like a schmuck.

    Heh. Twice I’ve heard friends bragging about never breaking a bone. Both times I told them that now they’d done it. Within a week of their statements, one had a broken wrist, the other a broken leg. One does well not to tempt the fates.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: You did the smart thing by not touching it out and heading to the ER. I hope it turns out to be minor and manageable, hon.

  7. Bill Jempty says:
  8. gVOR10 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Hope this is nothing serious. Keep joking and keep us informed.

  9. gVOR10 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: And what the hell time is it in Las Vegas?

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    This fun started around 7 PM and it is now 4 AM. But I got a room and there are a lot people parked in the hallways. And the WiFi’s good. BTW, in a just world the nurses would be making doctor money.

  11. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Hours. Did they check for DVT or clots? If not, you might firmly suggest they check.

  12. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Glad you didn’t have an MI, dear. Get well, hon.

  13. Scott says:

    Michael, hope it all turns out well. We’re the same age and I have the same attitude toward life, still believing I’m in my mid-30s. Get well soon!

  14. JohnMc says:

    One more voice wishing you well

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “We need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around,” he said.

    “There’s been a systematic change where employees feel the employer is extremely lucky to have them as opposed to the other way around. So it’s a dynamic that has to change. We’ve got to kill that attitude and that has to come through hurting the economy.

    “We need to see unemployment rise, unemployment has to jump 40, 50 per cent.”

    -Australian millionaire Tim Gurner

  16. Scott says:


    Senate Republicans now blame Democrats for military leadership gaps

    In a surprise turnabout, Senate Republicans now are accusing Democratic leaders of slowing senior military promotions by refusing to schedule individual votes for the highest Defense Department leadership posts in order to work around the months-long hold by Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., on hundreds of nominees.

    “I don’t think it’d be too much to ask for the Senate to spend a little bit of time confirming general officers to positions like the Chief of Staff for the Air Force or Commandant of the Marine Corps or Chief of Naval Operations,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: It’s not a surprise to me. The GOP always blames the DEMs for the consequences of what the GOP does. Taking responsibility for their actions is just not something they do.

  18. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Sending you my best wishes, sweetie.

  19. Moosebreath says:


    “One more voice wishing you well”

    And another.

  20. Scott says:

    As if we don’t have enough to deal with.

    An epidemic’: Syphilis rages through Texas, causing newborn cases to climb amid treatment shortage

    About twice a week, a pregnant patient turns up in Dr. Irene Stafford’s obstetrics office in Houston with syphilis, a sexually transmittable disease that affects more newborns in Texas than anywhere else in the country.

    For a seasoned professional like Stafford, the sheer numbers are startling. She’s been treating congenital syphilis with increasing frequency in recent years in a city that has the state’s highest newborn infection rates.

    “People think that syphilis is gone,” said Stafford, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and associate professor at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. “Syphilis has become an epidemic.”

    Last year, syphilis cases across Texas rose by 22%, according to preliminary numbers, from 21,476 in 2020 to 25,991 in 2022, the most recent statewide data available. That’s more than double the number of cases reported in Texas five years ago.

  21. @Michael Reynolds: Get well soon and do keep us posted!

  22. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I know my first clue that I was in real trouble when I walked into the ER was when they said to me “Mr. Luddite, we’ve been waiting for you, if you can get up on this gurney we have a room reserved for you upstairs.”

    Congrats on being smart enough to go to the ER.
    But in the meantime hon, enjoy your morphine and eat your Jello.

  23. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Another voice to the choir wishing you well!

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: Ah yes, the magic of GOP sex education is paying real dividends now.

  25. reid says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Hoping there is a giant burst of flatulence and you walk out of there smiling. Or that it’s not much more serious than that.

  26. al Ameda says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    man oh man …
    Sending you best whishes and whatever good Karma I have left.
    Take care.

  27. Bill Jempty says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    But in the meantime hon, enjoy your morphine and eat your Jello.

    Don’t forget the Salisbury steak.

  28. CSK says:


    Warm-hearted guy, isn’t he?

  29. CSK says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    As Robert B. Parker once observed of hospital food: “The gravy was a little hard to chew.”

  30. gVOR10 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    BTW, in a just world the nurses would be making doctor money.

    Indeed. And the doctors would be replaced by AI. All AI is able to do is remember a lot of stuff and regurgitate it in some garbled form without conscious thought. Pretty much what a lot of doctors do. (With apologies to any doctors in the crowd, but I’ve got some history.)

  31. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @gVOR10:

    Nurses can be superb diagnosticians, because, in contrast to the doctor, they see the patients continuously 24/7.

  32. Kathy says:


    “ChatGPT, can I cut the coronary before the patient’s hooked up to the heart-lung machine?”

    “Of course you can open the main artery feeding the heart without first making sure the patient won’t die when you do so.”


  33. CSK says:

    Today’s the fifth anniversary of the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions. I was right in the middle of this. The evacuation from my town was unbelievable, about a ten-mile line of traffic.

    Leonel Rondel, the young Lawrence man who was killed, had just gotten his driver’s license and was taking some friends out to celebrate. His house exploded and the chimney fell on his car in the driveway. Awful.

    More here:

  34. Kathy says:

    Speaking of AI, plus the Google/Search thread the other day, I just asked the AI-enriched Bing “is there an instant pot that’s also an air fryer?”

    It replied essentially with an add for the Instant Pot Duo Crisp. See for yourself:

    Yes, there is! Instant Pot has a product called **Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer** which is an **11-in-1 pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sauté pan, food warmer, sous vide, air fryer, roaster, mini oven, broiler, and dehydrator** ¹. It comes with **two convenient, removable lids** that can transform your Instant Pot into an air fryer ³. The product is available in **8-quart** size ³.

    I hope this helps!

    It had links to Amazon listings of the product embedded in the answer. It also offered links to the manufacturer’s website.

    No wonder Google’s rushed to integrate their AI in search.

  35. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Feel better Daddy. You want us to chip in and have some showgirls sent to your room? Also, I hope you’re gall bladder remains intact and not full of rocks.

  36. Grumpy realist says:

    @Michael Reynolds: hope you feel better soon and it turns out to not be serious.

  37. CSK says:


    We could form a kickline of OTB commenters.

  38. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Welp, that sux (I try to keep up with the language).

    Keep us posted. Do as those nurses tell you, even if they do call you “hon”. None of that normal “I’ll do as I please” attitude from you on this, ok?

  39. CSK says:

    Rep. Mary Peltola’s husband has died in a plane accident. No further details yet.

  40. ptfe says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Thoughts and prayers! But also glad you have actual things that do stuff to help 🙂

  41. Mister Bluster says:

    From Alaska Public Media

    According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Peltola was the pilot and sole occupant of a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub that crashed under “unknown circumstances” just after 8:45 p.m. Tuesday.

  42. DrDaveT says:

    Following up on Kathy’s reply to my weekend travel horror story:

    If the flight was direct to Germany, an EU country, you should check whether you can collect on a claim of the EU261 regulation.

    Nope, just missed. If I had been flying an EU carrier (e.g. Lufthansa), or if this had been the homeward leg from Germany to the US (regardless of carrier), then United would owe me 600 euros in addition to my full refund. Possibly more, given that they also failed to provide the food that EU261 requires for such a long delay.

  43. Kathy says:


    The info on the web is equivocal and then some. I thought it was worth mentioning anyway.

  44. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Oof. I hope it turns out to be minor and embarrassing, creating an excellent story. May the hospital jello be your favorite color/flavor.

  45. Gustopher says:


    Heh. Twice I’ve heard friends bragging about never breaking a bone. Both times I told them that now they’d done it. Within a week of their statements, one had a broken wrist, the other a broken leg. One does well not to tempt the fates.

    It was you, wasn’t it? You’re the “fates”, aren’t you? You and your hammer. Don’t do that, it’s rude.

  46. Kathy says:


    I’ve never broken a bone.

    It’s not bragging, but a simple statement of fact. I’ve never won a jackpot on a slot machine, never been to Rome, never bought a brand new Rolls Royce, never missed a flight, never had a flight cancelled or diverted. All facts.

  47. CSK says:

    Mitt Romney is retiring at the end of his current term in 2025. Maybe he doesn’t want to be in D.C. for another Trump presidency.

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Reynolds:..No diagnosis yet but apparently not a heart attack.

    Hope you don’t run in to this guy!

    (be well)

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: He is just a prince of a guy. Sadly, I am unlikely to ever meet him on the street so I can show him what I really think of him.

  50. CSK says:


    Ohhhh, shit….

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I thought we wanted to cheer him up, not induce suicidal thoughts.

  52. CSK says:


    It’s true he might die laughing.

  53. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: @Kathy:

    Both times they blamed me! Like I had the power.

    I also predicted my MiL’s death. Nothing psychic about that. Old/sick people approaching the end of their days have an increased possibility of dying around special events/holidays etc. and I just wanted to prepare my wife for the possibility.

    Her life long husband had died suddenly a couple years earlier (tore my wife up something awful), she was in poor health (had defied death 3 times previously over the decades) and her only grandchild was getting married (my wife had the wedding broadcast over the internet so her home bound mother could see it without flying halfway around the world), and she was so very happy to be able to see it happen.

    Then she died 3 days later.

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I’ve broken more bones than I can count (fingers and ribs mostly but also 3rd and 4th Lumbar, 1 ankle, aaaand… Oh yeah, a metacarpal when I put a nail thru my hand) mainly do to my propensity for ignoring risks and pushing myself too far.

    I’ve never won a jackpot on a slot machine, never been to Rome, never bought a brand new Rolls Royce, never missed a flight, never had a flight cancelled or diverted.

    Same here! Of course, I’ve never played a slot machine, I’ve only seen pictures of Rome, once left a finger print on the windshield of a Rolls, the nearest I ever got to missing a flight or having it cancelled was when ETA blew up the parking garage at the Madrid airport. What a clusterfuck that was, the whole time all I could think was, “C’mon guys, they are long gone by now.”

    eta: Also a wrist, tho I have no idea how that one happened.

  55. Beth says:


    May the hospital jello be your favorite color/flavor.

    I was very confused, I read that as “May the hospital jello be ever in your flavor.”

    Lol, Guy Fieri Hunger Games.

  56. Kathy says:


    I once came close to missing a flight, arriving at the gate ten minutes after boarding was scheduled. Fortunately it was running a bit late, and boarding started about when I showed up. Delays as early as 6 am are not very common.

    Another time a flight started a diversion, then conditions improved and it resumed course to the original destination.

    But let’s see the fates give a jackpot when I don’t plan to visit a casino any time soon, nor would play a slot machine unless it’s with free credit.

  57. DrDaveT says:


    I thought it was worth mentioning anyway.

    And I very much thank you for it! It almost helped this time, and now I am aware.

  58. Pete S says:


    “Guy Fieri Hunger Games”? Damn near pulled a muscle laughing at that one

  59. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Had something a bit similar myself a about 6 months ago, though probably a bit lower on the pain scale.
    Painful chest, wooziness, had to sit down after doing anything much.
    Lasted a couple of days; had a check up.
    Doc said I was OK apart from blood fat levels a bit high, oxygen a tad low. Diagnosis: most likely a combination of strained chest muscles and resulting failure to breathe deeply.
    Plus being an old git.
    Prescribed some tablets for blood state, and dietary recommendations.
    Hope yours is as non-serious.
    Best wishes and take it easy.

  60. DrDaveT says:


    I once came close to missing a flight

    My nearest miss that wasn’t was when I was flying back from Italy and they announced that all air service across the Atlantic was being suspended due to the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. Desperate people were trying to buy boarding passes from us as we loaded the plane, which was the last one to make it from Rome to the US for several days. It was a looooong flight; we flew essentially due west instead of great circle.

    (Being able to pronounce “Eyjafjallajökull” is a great party trick.)

  61. Kathy says:


    Lucky it wasn’t that volcano that proved jets and volcanic ash don’t mix.

    I did have a go around once. It was 1989 or 1990, either at Atlanta or Orlando (I forget which). We were pretty high up still, then suddenly the engines spooled up and we began to climb. It runs out the runway wasn’t cleared.

    In 2012 I came close to a voluntary bump. It was Vegas to Mexico City in Volaris. Due to wind*, they were asking for volunteers to not take the flight. In exchange there was a seat for next day’s flight, refund of bag fees**, a meal voucher, a hotel room for the night, transportation from and to the airport, and I think $100 or so in credit for a future flight.

    Not bad, and I could afford the extra day. But they wouldn’t say which hotel, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever buy a ticket from Volaris again (11 years later, I haven’t). Around 10 minutes later, conditions changed and no one got bumped.

    *They didn’t say what the issue was. I think tail winds, or severe crosswinds. The former seems unlikely, as LAS has runways in two orientations.

    **That was a sore point. I’d bought my ticket before they started charging bag fees, with a fare tier that included two checked bags. Checking in at the airport, they wanted to charge me for the second bag.

  62. DrDaveT says:


    Lucky it wasn’t that volcano that proved jets and volcanic ash don’t mix.

    Oh, it was. That’s why they were shutting down all flights.

  63. Kathy says:


    There was an incident in 1982 in Asia. It involved a British Airways 747 that flew into an ash cloud, which resulted in the shutdown of all four engines.

    Eventually the engines restarted, and they landed safely. But now people knew to keep their jet engines well away from erupting volcanoes.

  64. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    No diagnosis yet but apparently not a heart attack.

    MR’s heart is too resigned to the abuse it receives to attack anymore.

    Anyways, hope you have an easy and speedy recovery.

  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    I appear to be alive.

    Thanks to everyone upstream for your encouragement. I am genuinely touched.

    No real diagnosis but after blood work, Chest X-ray, CT and stress test I apparently do have a heart. And it seems to be quite healthy. (Touch wood – I’m not fucking with the irony gods again.)

    Now I’m going to sleep.

  66. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:


  67. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I always arrive at the gate an hour early… If at all possible. Why? Because #1 I am paranoid (the gods hate me), and # 2, shit really does happen.

  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Now I’m going to sleep.

    Sleep well my man, sleep well.

  69. Slugger says:

    Join all in wishing our honey, Michael, a rapid and complete recovery. The normal studies exclude the scary three: myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, and aortic dissection. Answered prayers! The prayers of us atheists get special prompt responses.

  70. Beth says:


    I figured I’d move this over here since it’s an amusing cocaine story completely disconnected from Sudafed.

    In 2002, I was deeeeeeeply closeted and I lived in a duplex house with 3 guys. I had a giant black tub of women’s clothes, wigs and chicken cutlets*. I lived in fear that they would find it so I chose the room with the only access to the attic. The closet is awful. I would surreptitiously push the tub out the door so I could have some privacy in my crossdressing escapades.

    Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Those three were doing enough coke to buy a hippo. One of the roomies was so bad that he would blow his paycheck and then spend the rest of the week passed out. The only reason the bloody noses didn’t tip me off was 1. I’m an idiot and 2. my little sister used to get bloody noses if you looked at her the wrong way.

    I was never invited to join them because I was a moralizing asshole about drugs back then. Mostly because I would have gotten high and outed myself instantly if I ever did anything “worse” than booze. So, they kept it from me, freaked out that I would be shitty about it if I found out. I was freaked out about the tub. Hijinks definitely ensued.

    Years later, when I came out I explained about the tub to my former roommate, still friend. He laughed and was like “Duuuuuuude, we were so high we had no idea! We were convinced that the cops were watching the house. We couldn’t pay attention to you.”

    Lol, being in the closet sucks, you miss out on all the finer things. Like all the crappy coke you could snort.

    The coda to that story is the landlord lived on the other side of the duplex and constantly called the cops on us for our stupid wild parties. She was so pissed at us.

    *fake boobs

  71. Mister Bluster says:


    Can’t do it.
    I do not presume to tell god what to do.

  72. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s fucking Covid. I just tested poz. The hospital got fixated on heart and never even did a Covid test. Severe pain can be a symptom. 17 hours in that place.

  73. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Way better hand to play than a heart trouble card. Speedy recovery