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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Can we be sure it really is Wednesday?

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Sibley, Giuliani’s lawyer, said in court on Monday that the damages the plaintiffs were seeking would amount to a civil “death penalty” on his client, who has served as a personal attorney for Trump.

    “If you award them what they are asking for, it will be the end of Mr Giuliani,” he said.

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    McLemore – who had a history of schizophrenia and substance abuse – died in 2021 at the jail in Jackson county, Indiana. His estate filed a lawsuit in April 2023, alleging that the lockup’s staff failed to provide proper care and violated his civil rights by failing to monitor his condition.

    The lawsuit detailed how McLemore had refused to eat while in the jail. He was locked, naked, in a small, windowless cell for 20 days after his arrest on 20 July 2021.

    Video surveillance from the jail showed McLemore incoherently talking and screaming in his cell – and by early August, he was too weak to lift his own body.

    “By the time staff finally sent Josh to the hospital, his condition was so dire that the local hospital did not have the clinical resources to treat him and he had to be airlifted to a larger hospital in Cincinnati, where he died two days later,” court records state.

    McLemore died of multiple organ failure on 10 August 2021 after losing nearly 45lb while in solitary confinement.

    Shortly before his arrest, McLemore had been taken to the hospital after a maintenance worker found him lying on the floor of his apartment naked and confused. He was arrested at the hospital after pulling a nurse’s hair, according to court records.

    Dying for the most heinous crime of pulling a nurse’s hair while probably in a state of mental distress.

  4. MarkedMan says:
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: It’s been a long time since last I heard that one.

  6. Kathy says:


    If it weren’t, I wouldn’t be in Toluca presenting samples.

  7. MarkedMan says:


    I wouldn’t be in Toluca presenting samples.

    That sounds like an industry specific Country and Western song

  8. Beth says:

    Last night I went and saw the band Aqua. It was a dream I’ve had since I was 18 and first heard the song “Barbie Girl”. “Barbie Girl” is a great song, but is eclipsed by such classics as “Dr. Jones” and “Roses are Red”.

    It was surreal. It was like watching a group of dedicated Danish Avant Garde performers putting on a religious ceremony. The congregants were FREAKS. The people at that show were a deeply damaged bunch; with a loose grip on sanity and zero fucks to give. These are people, myself included, who shelled out at least $60 bucks to be there and another $75 to be able to wear a pink hoodie with “AQUA” on it in blue*. I would fight a Nazi while wearing that hoodie and they would know terror.

    They had production. They had back up singers. They had swagger like the Stones in their prime. These were middle aged Danes singing 20 year old songs to complete lunatics. Friends, ask if there were fights. YES! There were MULTIPLE fights at the Aqua show. There was a guy in the front row, just ahead of me, proudly wearing his leather puppy mask. That guy is one of the hardest guys in Chicago.

    It was one of the best nights of my life. Believe in your dreams.

    *My partner doesn’t know that I also bought a pink Aqua bucket hat. I plan on springing that on her at the most inconvenient time.

  9. reid says:

    @Kathy: Good luck.

    Speaking of Toluca, it was a mostly pleasant drive from Roma to Toluca a few months ago. Left at about 10:30 am and took quite some time to get out of the city, but once you do the drive is scenic. The Toluca airport was practically empty! Talk about relaxing. Having said that, I don’t think we’d do it again.

  10. CSK says:

    Actor Andre Braugher, 61, has died after a brief illness, according to his agent and ABC. RIP.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    There is an interesting article in Politico which makes the case that Republican candidates should come out loudly and clearly in favor of making contraception available more widely and at lower or no cost. The reason I find this interesting is that despite sounding innocuous to outsiders, I suspect it is a huge shot across the bow to a bunch of significant groups in the Republican base.

    [Kellyann] Conway, lobbyist Susan Hirschmann and Independent Women’s Voice CEO Heather Higgins … warn that if they don’t talk about birth control and work to make it more accessible, they risk losing voters and confirming arguments from the left that the party that outlawed abortion in much of the country is coming next for contraception.

    Here’s the thing. There are significant groups in the Republican Party who are anti-contraception. Some are explicit. But many more use stealth means, by defining almost every contraceptive measure as “abortion” including not just the morning after pill, but the traditional daily pill too. And there is an even larger contingent that believe strongly that even if people are allowed to use contraception, government should absolutely not be promoting it, much less paying for it.

    I suspect this effort will quickly fade, but it will be interesting to see it play out.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    A little more on Israeli’s aim in Gaza, from Yossi Dagan. Who is Dagan? From Wiki:

    Together with his friends Yoni HaYisraeli and Yaakov Weinberger, Dagan established a lobby of Likud voters, “My Likud – A Pro-Jewish community Lobby in the Likud,” that attracted thousands of Likud voters, and is today the second largest group inside the party. Dagan is considered a key figure on the Israeli right, and has played crucial roles in political campaigns, including serving as a mediator between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman in 2016. His efforts resulted in Lieberman joining the government, thereby blocking the entrance of the Labor Party, then led by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni

    And what does he have to say about Gaza? From Politico:

    Yossi Dagan, an influential figure on Israel’s right wing who leads a settler community in the occupied West Bank, told POLITICO in an interview it was time to turn the clock back to before 2005 and rebuild settlements in Gaza. These would, he explained, act as well-guarded outposts to prevent the recurrence of attacks like the onslaught on October 7, in which Hamas Islamist militants murdered some 1,200 people.

    “If you have communities and people, you have the army and you have more control, and whenever you retreat from the land, you have what happened — a Holocaust,” said Dagan, who has close ties with rightwing American Christian Evangelicals, and has been an ardent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump.

  13. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: It will indeed be interesting to watch. There’s no way that Kellyann effin’ Conway doesn’t know the lay of the land on this topic. Some of the most vocal, and active, grassroots supporters in the Republican party think ALL birth control (pills, both daily and Plan B, and any implants including Nuvaring, IUDs, and Nexplalon) are “abortificants.”

    TL;DR: good luck with that, ladies!

  14. gVOR10 says:


    I suspect this effort will quickly fade, but it will be interesting to see it play out.


    Some of the most vocal, and active, grassroots supporters in the Republican party think ALL birth control … are “abortificants.”

    And condoms. “despite their differences of nature and moral gravity, contraception and abortion are often closely connected, as fruits from the same tree”. – John Paul II. That’s the problem. Conservatives eventually come to believe their own BS. The generation of pols who lied on FOX are being replaced by the generation they lied to. Once you start running on crazy, your base internalizes crazy, and you end up nominating Trump. Contraception will fade as an issue if it stops working in GOP primaries.

    Trump, whose only ideology is “whatever works” is trying to dodge the abortion issue, realizing it would be a killer in the general, and thinking he’s got the nomination wrapped anyway. It’ll be interesting to see if he can get away with it. A “compromise” fifteen week ban doesn’t seem to be doing DeUseless any good. But Trump is a master at phrasing things so people hear what they want to hear.

  15. gVOR10 says:

    @MarkedMan: We pushed the Indians out of all the good land and onto reservations. My brother, the Rev, once lived in a part of Minnesota we didn’t bother to steal from the Indians until around 1903, when we built dams and started to drain the swamp. Gaza, and the West Bank were reservations, and now Likud wants that land too. It may not be coincidental that there’s a natural gas field off the shore of Gaza.

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    Yes, there are some bad people in the Israeli government, ruthless people ready to exploit the outrage. And if the United States had abandoned Israel as so many on the Left want, 2 million Gazans would right now be standing in the Sinai desert begging water from Egyptian soldiers. What’s holding guys like Dagan back? Biden and Blinken.

    If Trump wins, the evangelicals win, and Israel will get a blank check. Bibi is Trump’s biggest fan aside from Putin. And short-sighted Arab-Americans in Michigan are doing their level best to get Trump elected.

  17. Scott says:

    Something inspirational, not political. For once.

    NASA rover unravels history of lake on Mars that grew up to 22 miles wide, 100 feet deep

    NASA’s Perseverance rover has learned new data about a major crater on Mars, teaching researchers and astronomers about how the structure was formed and when water was present on the planet.

    Perseverance, which landed on Mars in February 2021, has been exploring the Jezero Crater as part of its mission to look for signs of ancient life and collect rock and regolith samples to bring back to Earth.

    The crater is believed to have once been flooded with water and been home to a river delta, according to NASA, and it’s possible that microbial life existed there at some point in its 3.5-billion-year history.

    The rover’s exploration of the crater has allowed scientists to develop a detailed timeline of the structure’s formation, NASA said, and confirmed that there were “three major periods” after water entered the crater. A short video, released by NASA, shows an artist’s rendering of water breaking into the crater and beginning the process.

    The more detail NASA news release. With video!:

    Water Enters Jezero Crater Billions of Years Ago (Artist’s Concept)

  18. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    And if the United States had abandoned Israel as so many on the Left want, 2 million Gazans would right now be standing in the Sinai desert begging water from Egyptian soldiers. What’s holding guys like Dagan back? Biden and Blinken.

    You make a compelling case for the US to intervene militarily in Israel to force a regime change.

    Meanwhile, there’s a decent podcast episode Ezra Klein with Nimrod Novik who was a top aide to Shimon Peres when Peres was prime minister.

    I think that the consequences are devastating. I think the human misery in Gaza, I can’t even begin to imagine how people feel. I felt — mistakes have consequences. Let me put it this way. I have a lot of complaints to all third parties, but as an Israeli, I channel my primary complaints to my own government.

    With all due respect to the others, mine is supposed to serve my, as a Israeli patriot, best interests — the security, the well-being, and the future of the country. We hold most of the cards vis a vis Gaza and vis a vis the West Bank. And when we play our cards wrong, the consequences are the ones that you described. A wrong policy of 15 years may take 15 years to rectify.

    They go on to discuss post-invasion goals, etc. What opportunities have been squandered by the Israeli government, and how to proceed forward even without a partner in peace.

  19. CSK says:


    Actually, I think Trump’s motto isn’t so much “whatever works” as much as it is “whatever benefits me, and the hell with everything and everyone else.”

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Hmm. So it is the fault of Arab Americans expecting too much from the Biden administration. Could it also be said that it is the fault of Jewish Americans for demanding too much from the administration? What is the difference between Jews not supporting candidates that don’t support them on this and Arabs not supporting candidates who don’t support them on this?

    And what about the Evangelicals?

  21. gVOR10 says:

    @CSK: Which is exactly what I mean by “works” in Trump world.

  22. EddieInCA says:
  23. JohnMc says:

    @MarkedMan: HR 8373.

    Introduced last year by Ds, guarantees right to contraception. Was opposed by 195 Rs.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnMc: Heh. I’d love to see Conway et al turn this into a Republican pissing contest.

  25. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m not going to blame any of the voters.

    Part of a politician’s job is understanding their coalition, what they care about, and what their red lines are. If Biden loses the votes of Arab Americans in Michigan, that’s on Biden.

    There are things that are worth losing an election over — ObamaCare was one, decarbonizing would be. I don’t think supporting a military campaign of vengeance against a civilian population is one of those things though. Certainly not without a theory of what a post-invasion status quo is.

    And if the pro-Israeli Democrats want to win, it’s on them (Biden included) to find enough voters elsewhere (new voters, lapsed voters, turning Republican voters, whatever) to make up for the voters the Democrats coalition loses.

    Biden is in a tough spot. Israel-Palestine cuts across the base. But dealing with that is his job. Not the job of the Arab-Americans who cannot hold their nose tightly enough to vote for him.

  26. EddieInCA says:


    Biden is in a tough spot. Israel-Palestine cuts across the base. But dealing with that is his job. Not the job of the Arab-Americans who cannot hold their nose tightly enough to vote for him.

    Great. So they’ll instead vote for the guy who wants to ban them from the US, and its institutions?

    Smart move. Vote for the fascist because your first choice is t pure enough.

    Really smart.

  27. KM says:


    rebuild settlements in Gaza. These would, he explained, act as well-guarded outposts

    Putting aside everything else, do the people who would live there intend to be front-line meat shields or are they being “voluntold”? Because the way its stated – and the rest of the article implies – is that they would be the willing sacrificial lambs so no one in Tel Aviv would need to worry about future attacks. Not that they’d be more likely to be hurt because of where they are but that they are there SPECIFCIALLY to be armed and fight back, with casualties/ fatalities being just a welcome fact of life.

    That’s…… disturbing on a lot of levels. I can’t say I know the mindset of the people who live in these types of communities but making them sound like Elohim City, OK isn’t the selling point they think it is. Neither is baldly stating “we as a nation are OK with this so they can soak up the bullets and die in our place”. How expendable are settlers to the average Israeli mindset? Are they useful idiots, unlikely allies, misguided souls or victims-to-be no matter what so we might as well work it to our advantage?

  28. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m also not sure what they expect to accomplish even in the unlikely event that they got the party to unify around a pro-contraception message. Nobody in the Democratic Party is arguing against contraception, so it’s not like they’d be getting ahead of the Dems on this issue. To most Americans, contraception isn’t just popular–it’s taken for granted. Probably most aren’t even aware there’s anyone in positions of power trying to take it away. If a Republican candidate tries to emphasize how he’s for contraception, the response from the average voter is likely to be, “And…?” Indeed, it would probably only call greater attention to the fact that the party isn’t unanimous on this point, as well as helping remind voters how deeply unpopular their overall views on the subject of reproductive rights are.

  29. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    This one just blew my mind. Yeah up here in puddletown we’ve got bunches of bridges crossing the river that goes right through the middle of town. And the 5-year closure of the centerpiece bridge is going to be a huge Fuster cluck. But that being said, let’s wrap our collective heads around this…

    … the Burnside Bridge (built in 1926) is hoisted up by nearly 400 tree trunks driven into riverbed mud, and reinforced with steel and concrete.

  30. Kathy says:


    Would that were the problem.

    I’m convinced Adolph first and foremost does what he thinks will make him look good at that moment, and the hell with everything and everyone else, including future Adolph.

  31. Gustopher says:

    Also, on the subject of things that fracture coalitions, where is the Biden administration on abortion?

    Where are our three dozen regulations tying funding to affirming rights of women? Wildly illegal regulations that overstep authority and that Republicans have to publicly fight against? Woman in Texas has to flee the state to abort a risky pregnancy of a nonviable fetus? The administration should be there, in court, supporting her, and should be rolling out regulations on minimum medical exemptions to abortion bans. And ensuring access to birth control.

    Every few days I hear of some low-information voter upset that Roe was overturned under Biden and how they are going to vote for Trump. Yes, the voter is ignorant if not actually stupid, but this administration needs to reach people like that, especially if they are losing Arab-American voters in Michigan.

    If I could impart one message to the Biden Administration it would be this: Fight, motherfuckers, just fucking fight.

  32. Kathy says:

    I’m rethinking the immune response.

    TL;DR, especially as I lack time, I think we don’t so much get immunity from vaccination, but mostly 1) asymptomatic courses, and 2) an easier time with symptomatic courses.

    Much more reading on the subject is required.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA: For some people, genocide over there is a higher priority than fascism here.

    There are things Biden could do to lose my vote. I don’t think he’s going to start trying to block gay marriage or something, but I would skip out and vote third party if he did.

    I can see supporting people pursuing genocide against your family or country of origin or even people a lot like you as being a similar step to far.

  34. SenyorDave says:

    @Gustopher: I don’t think that Biden threaded the needle very well on the whole issue. He went all in on Israel’s side, and pretty much stayed there no matter what they did. The IDF’s propaganda machine had some major cracks, but the WH stayed the course. If I were an American Muslim I would say that he more than took my vote for granted. Until very recently the WH gave the signal that Israel was free to do anything they want. And that includes what more and more seems to be collective punishment (which is no surprise since Bibi has openly talked about it in the past).
    Assuming Biden wins does anyone seriously believe that the Biden administration will hold Israel’s feet to the fire in terms of the “what next”? Europe might, but not the US under Biden.
    And yes, Trump would be worse for many reasons, but when its your people who being killed indiscriminately and your president is letting it slide it might reach the point of loss of support.

  35. DK says:


    If Biden loses the votes of Arab Americans in Michigan, that’s on Biden

    If Americans of any background lose their rights due to Biden losing the election to Trump, that’s on the American people.

    It seems some think Biden and Democratic are going to be suffering under Trump’s extremism, but most of those guys are wealthy, well-connected, and will find a way to be fine no matter what happens.

    Others are still fooling themselves that they’re punishing some politician with their voting choices when they’re actually punishing themselves. Like the lefty women in 2016 who refused to vote for Hillary because “something something Wall Street speeches something something Bernie was robbed.” Is Hillary now the one suffering from the forced birth policies she warned about? Nope.

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Whatever happens in 2024, the American people are going to get exactly what we deserve. So we better start focusing on how we need to be fighting, not on how Biden needs to be fighting.

  36. MarkedMan says:


    If Biden loses the votes of Arab Americans in Michigan, that’s on Biden

    Maybe, in some sense. But in this case two groups inside a broader coalition want diametrically opposed things. Is it really possible to hold onto both?

    I’m the opposite of you. I believe that in a democracy it is ultimately the responsibility of the voters to weigh the candidates and choose the best, or the least worst. The fact that north of 70%, maybe well north, don’t make any realistic attempt to do so is their own responsibility and the results are on them, on us. Moving away from Israel for a second, it’s why I say that Alabama and Mississippi voters bear the ultimate responsibility for their crummy schools. For more than two centuries the voters there have prioritized enforcing the existing class structure over improved outcomes, and therefore rewarded politicians that cater to those preferences and punished those that don’t. The voters have consistently gotten exactly what they wanted most.

  37. Slugger says:

    @Kathy: Our immune system is the product of the two billion year long war between prey and predator organisms. Pathogens and parasites have always been there looking for gaps in our defenses. This is the darwinian dance leading to survival of the fittest. In the last few centuries we humans have undertaken intentional interventions in this process. This has been pretty successful; I know of no family that has lost a child to mumps or chickenpox. When I was a child the US would have 50,000 cases of paralytic polio a year, and they would close the swimming pools in August, and now this is only a memory of old people. Smallpox? Eradicated! Measles is almost gone except for the unvaccinated. Malaria, you’re next on the hit list. Vaccination has been spectacular.

  38. MarkedMan says:


    Smart move. Vote for the fascist because your first choice is t pure enough.

    Really smart.

    And will Biden be able to hold the Jewish vote if he comes down harder on Israel? Or will they vote for the fascist or stay home? (Really smart.)

  39. gVOR10 says:

    @KM: You’re taking the guy at face value. I read his statement as being as close to, “We’ll drive the Palestinians out of Gaza as we are on the West Bank.” as he dares say in public.

  40. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: If Biden has to piss off one part of his coalition, he has to either get them back on board, or bring someone else on board.

    It’s why I’m disappointed that the Biden administration isn’t fighting aggressively on other fronts, where we could pick up those voters. Abortion is unpopular, but abortion bans are even more unpopular.

    Because in all probability America isn’t going to vote for/against fascism, America is going to vote for/against a dozen other issues and fascism will/will-not come along for the ride.

    @EddieInCA: People tend to vote based on their first couple of priorities, if that much.

    Wishing the electorate was better, thought more objectively, and/or wasn’t motivated by spite is all well and good, but it doesn’t change reality.

    The US is going to cling to Israel whoever gets elected, so my disappointment is tempered by that, and honestly Palestinians aren’t one of my top priorities, so I can hold my nose. In fact, there’s probably a genocide in Africa or Asia that is going on right now that is worse in every way other than not being thrust in my face by the news media.

    On the other hand, if the choice was fascism or just hating on the Queers in a pleasant, democratic, nonfascist mode, I’d want the rest of you fuckers to suffer with me. Because, fuck you, that’s why*.

    And no amount of someone telling me that my top issues aren’t important (or aren’t as important as yours) would do a damn thing other than making me dig in me feet.

    Also if Trump was an eco-fascist, rather than a plain old ethnic fascist, I would be all on board with Trump, despite everything, as reducing global heating and preparing for the consequences is my top issue, above freedom. (If we are just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, on the other hand, I damn well want a nice deck chair with a view of the cabana boys**)

    *: This is also the logic of squishy Hamas supporters. Sure, some want death to all Jews, but it’s likely that a lot of others see the status quo as unacceptable, and want to disrupt it in hopes that what comes after that first backlash is better.

    **: granted, if we had enough global warming, we might have solved that iceberg problem. But the reality is that collapsing ice sheets will increase icebergs in the short term, so I guess it’s not as inappropriate an analogy as it seemed at first glance. Also, I guess you don’t have cabana boys on a boat in the North Atlantic.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @KM: This was the “flypaper theory” that the George W. Bush administration used to justify our continued presence in Iraq. Our soldiers were there, as targets, so the terrorists wouldn’t have to come over here to find targets.

    It’s also manifest destiny. There was never a shortage of settlers looking to push Native Americans off their lands, despite the risks.

  42. dazedandconfused says:

    They are unlikely to view themselves as sacrificial, more likely they are drawing on their experience of chasing unarmed Palestinians away from their farms with the help of the local police and, recently, the IDF. They imagine it would be the same situation in Gaza.

    Likely, should the time come wherein they are allowed to conduct the Likud’s ethnic cleansing program in Gaza, it would be against a population rendered just as helpless.

  43. Kathy says:


    If you ever do that drive again and have some extra time, get off on the exit marked ININ, you get deep into the wooded, hilly area.

    ININ is the National Institute of Nuclear Research. They won’t allow you in unless you’ve business there, but you can turn back before you go far up the road. It’s really nice, and rather short.

    I’ve been inside a few times, on business (failing to snag their commissary contract three or four times). Parts are 70s era buildings done on half levels, very retro-futuristic.

  44. Kathy says:

    It’s going to be very peculiar to see a bill of impeachment with charges like “being a Democrat” and “defeating El Adolpho in a fair election.”