Wednesday’s Forum

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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. EddieInCA says:

    Random thought of the day…

    The more I come to Florida the last few years, the less I enjoy it.

    Today is Daytona Beach to Fort Lauderdale, with a round of golf on Hobe Sound midday.

    That is all.

  2. Kurtz says:

    Last evening, I was first in line at a red light in the right thru lane.

    Loud bang; head hits the headrest.

    No indication of brakes applied prior to contact.

    I look around to see a car turn right, down the cross-street. I follow. I can hear and feel the rear end of my car dragging along the ground as I pull behind the car.

    Not sure how fast the kid was going, but his airbags deployed.

    Minor almost-pain and slightly light-headed the rest of the night.

    We will see how his insurance plays it.

  3. Thomm says:

    @Kurtz: hope he wasn’t doing door dash or the like. So much BS when that happened to me that I just gave up after about 4 months of fighting two different insurance companies trying to pawn it off on the other. Wound up buying (by happenstance and verified through Carfax at work the next day) a 92 Mercedes wagon I had sold about a year prior and honestly missed owning a lot.

  4. Scott says:

    If you want to watch a feel-good show about good people doing good things for good causes, watch Call the Midwife on PBS.

    My wife and I have been watching for years. It’s a continuing fictionalized story about midwifes (both Anglican nuns and civilian midwifes) that work in the Nonnatus House in the impoverished East End of London starting in the 1950s .

    Follows traditional format (A, B, and C stories) that addresses various medical and social issues faced by the desperately poor. Starting in 1957, each season advances a year so you are brought into current events, changing fashions, and medical advances as the years go by. For example, one episode in Season 13 brings in the moon landing, tuberculosis, and congenital hip displacement.

    Not groundbreaking but well done and we recommend it. Yes, you’ll cry.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    [From yesterday]

    I suspect that you are unfamiliar with my tastes in scotch.

    Hah! But you have no idea how small my glasses are!

  6. Mister Bluster says:

    @EddieInCA:.. Today is Daytona Beach to Fort Lauderdale, with a round of golf on Hobe Sound midday.

    Sounds like a tough life Eddie but we all know that you can do it.

  7. EddieInCA says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I haven’t worked in 14 months. Was getting stir-crazy in Los Angeles, so I used points and miles to do this road trip. Only things actually costing me money are food, gas, and golf. Everything else – hotels, car rental, airfare – has been enjoyed using points and miles.

    One thing great about Florida is the golf. Seriously good golf all over the freaking state.

  8. Bill Jempty says:

    The Florida headline of the day- Florida man shot his roommate 10 times over argument over cats: police

    Talking about cats. I suspect Dear Wife and I will have to have our almost 17-year-old cat put to sleep soon. Possibly as soon as this weekend*. She’s bleeding, not eating so well, and somewhat lethargic. I’m going to miss Misay.

    *- I could take her to the vet on a weekday, but its going to be emotional. So rather have DW there too.

  9. Scott says:

    What a shocker! This couldn’t possibly have happened!

    They counted primary ballots by hand. Now a Texas county Republican party says they found errors.

    An hour after Gillespie County Republican Party Chairman Bruce Campbell declared the hand-counted primary election results completely accurate and certified them as final, he found another discrepancy.

    “It’s my mistake for not catching that,” he said, sitting in front of his laptop inside the Gillespie County election administration office Thursday. “I can’t believe I did that.”

    The late catch meant that Campbell had to ask the early voting ballot board chair, who had already left and lives 30 minutes away, to return to the elections offices, figure out how the error happened, and fix it.

    After declaring a successful hand count of ballots, Gillespie County Republicans had to fix a series of errors in the results reported from almost every precinct.

    “We took something that worked and now broke it,” Netherland said. “We failed to guard the purity of the election with this hand count. What we just did is evidence that this hand count was not accurate.”

  10. Joe says:

    @Kurtz: You may have a lot more head and neck pain today – that’s how whiplash works. Good luck.
    @Bill Jempty: personally, not a cat guy, but sorry for your situation.

  11. Neil Hudelson says:


    My parents and sister love that show. I’ve caught a few episodes while visiting, and it is indeed very good. Comforting to watch a high quality show using an older format, no 10-episode movie.

  12. Jax says:

    Yesterday morning about 5 am, I heard our dog yelping, figured she had to go outside REALLY bad, so I stumbled out of bed and let her out into the dark, not thinking much of it until she didn’t come back. She was technically due to have her puppies this coming Friday. After much frantic calling, I heard a little meowing sound, and I saw three of our cats circled around something out by our fire pit. I grabbed a flashlight, and lo and behold….the cats are sniffing a newborn puppy.

    Pure chaos after that. There’s a million and one places a dog could hide out here in the ranch yard, so my youngest daughter and I were running around with flashlights looking under everything and in every outbuilding. My daughter finally found her in the outhouse in my Mom’s back yard, with two more puppies. We took the puppies back to the house, and went back for her, and she finally agreed to come with us to the perfectly good whelping box we had set up for her. Poor doggo, she must have been so confused, it being her first litter!

    About 1:30 pm, she finally shot the last one out, for a grand total of EIGHT puppies. 😛 😛

  13. Kurtz says:


    Same model or actually the same car?


    Thank you!

    I tried to sleep, but it would not take. Maybe I got a little. Hard to tell.

    For better or worse, I’ve always been a walk-it-off, rub some dirt on it kind of guy. Without sleep causing a break in activity , my neck hasn’t had a chance to stiffen. But I’m thinking that it may get a little sore later in the day, because I can kind of tell something happened.

    On the other hand, my head definitely feels a bit off. Twinge of pain, a little lightheaded. Not too worried. But definitely monitoring.

  14. Thomm says:

    @Kurtz: same vin number (exact same car). Had a few changes from when I owned it (back to factory wheels, back to factory exhaust, some window tint removal) so I didn’t immediately recognize it. Had the feeling in the back of my head it was the same car when I looked at it.

  15. Stormy Dragon says:


    I find that even when you’re not at fault, you’re better off filing the claim through your own insurance and letting them go after the other driver’s insurer through subrogation. Your insurer doesn’t want to lose a customer. The other insurer just wants you to go away as cheaply as possible.

  16. Bill Jempty says:
  17. MarkedMan says:

    This is a sort of public service announcement.

    It is said that intelligence is being able to learn from your mistakes, but wisdom is being able to learn from others’ mistakes. I had a reminder a couple of days ago of one of the few pieces of wisdom I’ve acquired: Always move the ladder.

    In the 80’s I was a subscriber to Fine Woodworking Magazine, which at the time was an every-two-months, black and white trade journal. In one edition they had a poll about shop accidents. Given the way publishing worked back then, by the time they got the polls back and analyzed them, three issues or six months would have passed. Instead, the very next issue came in a plastic bag and on top of the magazine was a copy of a letter, written in haste. It basically said, “We haven’t got many replies yet, and haven’t really had a chance to go through them, but one thing stuck out so clearly we felt it was our public duty to get the word out as quickly as possible. A startling percentage of the answers contain the phrase, “I knew I shouldn’t be doing this but…” Bottom line, if you know you shouldn’t be doing something, DON’T DO IT!” Since reading that all those decades ago, I can’t count the number of times I’ve found myself up on a ladder, trying to reach that last corner, when I’ve recalled that mailer, climbed down, moved the ladder over two feet, and climbed back up to do one last swipe of the brush.

    On Sunday I got a call from one of the guys who works for me to tell me he was pretty banged up, two broken ribs and plenty of bruising and when I asked what happened, he started out by saying, “Well, I knew I shouldn’t do this, but…” and proceeded to tell me about the urgent need to climb a tree with a chainsaw and cut down some broken branches he was worrying about falling on his son playing underneath. He took time to get the chainsaw but not to get a ladder, and then climbed a tree full of broken branches with a chainsaw. Worth repeating: A tree full of broken branches! Fortunately the chainsaw wasn’t running when the branch he was standing on, ten feet off the ground, broke.

  18. inhumans99 says:


    I can just picture you scrambling to find her in what has to be very cold weather, but I am really glad to hear that it was happy ending and Mom and her pups are all accounted for.

    Also, I have watched a show called Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet, and she always picks up newborn pups and squeals with joy at how cute puppies are and how she loves puppy breath. I have to ask, is puppy breath as awesome as she makes it out to be on the show?

  19. gVOR10 says:

    @MarkedMan: Everybody thinks the ladder will start to slide and they’ll catch it. The one guy I know who fell off a ladder said one moment all was normal and BANG he was on the ground with a broken leg.

  20. Thomm says:

    @Stormy Dragon: the driver amd I had thebsake insurance company. Didn’t help. They admitted driver fault but refused payment.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    @Bill Jempty:…Misay

    My old Momcat was 17 when I had to have her put down. It was one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to do. That was 30 years ago. I still have a picture of her on my refrigerator door.

  22. Neil Hudelson says:


    I had the happy experience of *almost* getting severely hurt but escaping all injuries doing something i knew I shouldn’t be doing.

    I was painting a barn and had two more boards to go, tiny things on the front at the very peak of the roof. I knew you were never supposed to stand on the top few rungs, but I was 16 and therefore physics didn’t apply to me. I didn’t even get a full 1-count before the ladder slipped out from under me. I remember just kind of floating there, and seeing the paint bucket floating next to me. I grabbed it with one hand as both it and I started to fall. As the ladder fell beneath me, its top caught on something jutting out, maybe an old knob-and-tube insulator, creating a kind of ramp beneath me at about the one-story mark. I landed with both feet on that remarkably stable ramp and glided down sideways, like I was on a skateboard, holding the bucket of paint I had caught in mid-air. Barely spilled a drop. My grandfather, watching this, gave a slow clap. My dad called me a son of a bitch whose stupidity was only exceeded by his luck.

    Got the life lesson without the stitches. Every ladder I use now is well secured, often with someone holding it down below, and I never climb on the top few rungs.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @EddieInCA:..I haven’t worked in 14 months.

    The crocodiles are crying real tears for you…

  24. Matt says:

    @Scott:That’s just the beginning. Texas legislature passed laws requiring equipment for the 2026 election that doesn’t even exist. Last I knew it was such a screw up that they were working on passing a bill to fix/revoke their last bill. No idea what happened to that.

  25. Matt Bernius says:

    @Bill Jempty:
    Really sorry to read about your cat. End-of-life issues with any member of the family–and I include pets in that grouping–are really stressful. And the ability to end their suffering (or loss of quality of life) is a heavy burden at times. I’ve been through that with many animals, and it never gets easier.


    I haven’t worked in 14 months.

    Based on that phrasing it doesn’t feel like this was a decision you made. Is the industry still recovering from all the strikes?

  26. Kathy says:

    My only accident with a ladder barely qualifies as involving a ladder.

    It’s a two step ladder we keep in the storeroom at work. I usually just climb on the first step, but one time I had to reach higher and climbed on the second. It took a while to find what I was looking for. In the interim, I must have forgotten where I was, because I stepped off as though on to the floor.

    I fell the height of the first step, and managed not to hit my head. I didn’t even realize I’d fallen until I hit the ground.

  27. EddieInCA says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    100%. Not my choice. The industry contraction is real. There are thousands less jobs. There are hundreds less shows being produced. It is a very, very difficult time for anyone who works in film or television production.

    Companies are cutting not only their productions, but their production executives as well. A lot of people are losing their homes. A lot of people are being forced to sell their homes and move back to where they came from with a lower cost of living. And some of us are just holding on until the employment situation gets stronger.

    HOLLYWOOD is often the butt of jokes, especially from the right, about how rich, spoiled, and entitled it people are. But the reality is “HOLLYWOOD“ is full of people just trying to do what everybody else is trying to do. They’re trying to find good schools for their kids, they’re trying to make enough money to be comfortable and maybe go on vacation once a year, and they’re trying to get by doing something they love. Right now, after all the strikes, and the industry contraction, people are just trying not to become homeless.

  28. steve says:

    The old ER was always, what are the two words a guy says before ehe goes to the ER?…. Watch this!

    Anyway, Cohen posted a graph showing that the Chinese are needing to subsidize agriculture more. It was pointed out that ozone is especially harmful to soybeans and their coal plants put out lots of ozone. I knew levels were high in their cities but it’s even high in their agricultural areas. Nice paper looking at this at the link. One more reason to do away with coal plants.,from%2015%25%20to%2030%25.


  29. Mike in Arlington says:

    @MarkedMan: I was trying to replace a broken glass light shade. As I was about to try to pull it off (it was stuck, hence why it broke in the first place), I thought to myself “How dumb will I feel if the glass broke and injured my eye?” My answer was “Pretty stupid.” I found and put on my safety goggles and like clockwork, a piece of glass came at my face and bounced harmlessly off of my goggles. I’m very thankful of that moment of clarity.

  30. DK says:

    All of these stories are compelling.

  31. Beth says:

    I have what I like to refer to as the luck of the suicidal. I’m constantly doing dumb shit and walking away unscathed. Have I learned anything? Absolutely not.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Thomm: Is it possible that they are refusing to pay because the driver didn’t tell them he was using the car for DoorDash/Uber and so isn’t covered (which may or may not be true depending on regs in your state)?

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: Yeah. It’s easy to forget that most of the people who work “in HOLLYWOOD (!!)” are just schlubs doing hourly jobs like the rest of us. I’ve been in the situation where a company I worked for just disappeared. I was ready to move on anyway, so it didn’t trouble me much, but for others it was a catastrophe. (And even for me, I never made the same level of salary I had there again.)

  34. MarkedMan says:

    This piece in the WaPo (no subscription needed) is a little bit different than the “Here’s the crazy thing Trump said” coverage. It concerns his reaction to his father getting dementia in the 1990’s

  35. Thomm says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: honestly, dont know. It took them about 2.5 months for them to tell me about the door dash thing and simply saying that he was at fault but refused to pay. When I would ask why, they would cite some privacy nonsense until I had a mini meltdown on a rep using language and terms that I knew as an ex finance and insurance manager at a car dealership. It was a pretty minor accident with no injury (especially since I had a pre-existing spinal injury) and the damage was limited to the rear bumper being pushed in about 1.5 inches making the trunk impossible to close. It was not worth bringing in legal guns so I just cut my losses, sold the car to a yard that did a quick fix and resold it and bought the wagon.

  36. Thomm says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: oh…and whrn i contacted the company that *should* have covered it, they claimed the service had no record of him existing in their system.

  37. Mister Bluster says:

    Surfing the net today I stumble on this:
    Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs and Englishmen – Feelin’ Alright (LIVE) HD

    And this in the comments:

    4 months ago
    yes when i was tchr.
    i showed autistic children
    it was ok to move like joe
    lost my licence.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    they claimed the service had no record of him existing in their system.

    Well that was certainly convenient for them. 😐

  39. al Ameda says:


    “We took something that worked and now broke it,” Netherland said.

    That about sums up Trump’s Republican Party, as well as one can.

  40. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Rule #1 the insurance adjuster is not your friend.
    Rule #2 the adjuster will always lowball you. It doesn’t matter if it’s your adjuster or the other adjuster, they will always lowball you. Their paycheck depends on it
    Rule #3 if you’re not comfortable playing hardball, let a professional handle it. It’s always easier for someone whose heart isn’t pure, and is solely motivated by the almighty dollar, IMO.

    Rules #4-infinity. See rule #1-3. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  41. Kurtz says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    How do I get leverage?

    I guess what I am asking is: at what point is the difference between the insurance offer and the actual cash value too small to make a credible threat of hiring a professional?

    My car is both relatively rare and popular.

    The automatic model is somewhat common–one, same year, with comparable miles is listed in Tampa for just under 12k. Of course that’s at a dealer. But the 6-speed manual transmission is harder to find, and MTs are coveted among the modding crowd.

    But of course, finding listings or recent sales for it is difficult.

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    This was in 1983 so maybe it doesn’t count any more. On a vacation trip to California I rented a car at LAX. I believe it is called some sort of waiver that costs extra that will cover damage to a rental car caused by another motorist. “Nothing’s going to happen.” I said to my self: “I’ll save that money and use it on my first ever trip to Disneyland!” Famous last words.
    While in San Diego in the traffic lane of a parking lot an elderly woman backed out of her parking space and into my rental. The car was drivable but 1000s of $$$$$ of damage. I got her drivers license and insurance information and she said that she would report the accident to her insurance company. AAA of California. On my return to LA I contacted a local AAA of California office near Glendora where I was staying with my brother and his family. They called the elderly woman’s agent in San Diego. When the Glendora agent called me back I was told the other driver had been contacted. She said that she had not reported the accident as she thought the police would arrest her. I went to the Glendora AAA of California office. A very attractive woman took my information. I swear her name was Bambi. She told me that the driver in San Diego had admitted fault. I explained that I would have to pay the rental car company for the damage when I turned it in, that I was in California for about ten more days and it sure would be nice if I could get reimbursed before I got on the plane back to the midwest. “I’ll see what I can do.” she said.
    The day before the return flight to Chicago Bambi called. “I have a check for you on my desk.” she said.
    Thank you Bambi! Thank you AAA of California!

  43. Matt Bernius says:

    Sorry it took me so long to reply. Sorry you are going through that drought in work and any related stress. I hope things get better soon.

  44. Kathy says:

    For this week I think I’ll try some kind of plain vanilla ice cream. I still want to try apple, but I found a store nearby with several varieties. So I thought I’d try one of each and see which one I like best.

    Vanilla can be used for Affogato. That’s a a fancy and misleading Italian term for a double espresso served over a scoop of ice cream. Some claim the ice cream must be unflavored milk ice cream, but what’s the fun in that?

    I’m thinking heavy cream, milk, possibly splenda, and certainly vanilla extract.

  45. Michael Reynolds says:

    I worry about AI-directed drone swarms, in the air, at sea. I don’t think we know what to do about it. You can’t fire half a million dollar missiles at a swarm of drones. You might as well shoot at a cloud of gnats. I’m hoping the Pentagon is gearing up for this new reality on the offense, at least, but unless there’s some electromagnetic pulse weapon, or whatever, how do you kill a swarm? Kudos to Ukraine for showing this graphically. What the Ukrainians have done to the Black Sea fleet should scare the hell out of the Navy. If we use this data quickly and effectively, it will be yet another huge return on that war. We may be building battleships in 1938.

  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Without outing the dude, Eddie’s a bit more than a schlub. He’s one of those producers who actually have to produce. It’s a running gag that no one knows what producers, produce, but there are producers who make everything happen, and then there are producers like when I was offered ‘executive producer’ on a film, with the duties of: ‘STFU, just say we’re brilliant.’ Eddie’s one of those guys who actually does things.

  47. steve says:

    Kathy- Its fun to use an actual vanilla bean at least once.


  48. Kazzy says:

    My dad was a firefighter by trade and a landscaper on the side, so he had lots of experience on ladders. He was also afraid of heights, something I quasi-inherited from him. I still remember how he drilled into my head that if I was ever on a ladder and felt it start to tip or fall, to grab anything BUT the ladder. The ladder is falling and wants to take you with it… grabbing it only hastens that process. Grab the roof, grab the gutter, grab the tree branch… grab anything. You may still fall, but at least you give yourself a chance. Grab the ladder? No chance.

  49. Kathy says:


    They’re expensive, hard to find, require infusing in milk, and I’ll very likely be unable to tell the difference in the end product.

    I will get a high quality extract. Specifically a new one, not the tiny bottle that’s been in the pantry for who knows how long.

  50. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m hoping the Pentagon is gearing up for this new reality on the offense, at least, but unless there’s some electromagnetic pulse weapon, or whatever, how do you kill a swarm?

    I can assure you that people in the Pentagon are worrying about this 24/7. Thank you for your interest in national security.

  51. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    First, remember that while a portion of your job is to make yourself financially whole, a significant portion should also be (IMO) to share your pain and suffering amongst other people. Secondly adjusters make their bonuses on just how thoroughly and how often they are successful in tying sweet nell to the railroad tracks.

    IIRC, adjusters would usually offer low Kelley Blue book minus a certain Factor. What I saw was that a car wasn’t special had high mileage had body damage and was otherwise not worth the low trade in KBB price.

    My bosses would usually go to the high Kelly Price, look at a couple of auction sites to see what this vehicle was selling for nationally. They would also factor in your inconvenience and expenses for rental car and the rest, plus any treatment for injuries you might have. Adjusters usually would try to get a case cleared and off their desk within 30 days or less, while the attorney is going to make it take 3 to 6 months or more.

    Again, letting your insurance deal with everything has certain advantages to you in time and minimal inconvenience. And the expense of attorney is real, however my viewpoint on this has always been that while it’s nice if I can be made financially full, a significant part of making me whole is making the other a****** suffer as much as possible.

    But then again I am not a lawyer and am not offering legal advice.. But I am a luddite, a complete a******, arguably a unrepentant sociopath, and you should probably not use me or my actions as an example of how to be a decent human.

  52. just nutha says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I know that. I also know that Eddie has many people working under him. These are the people I was thinking of.

    ETA: Luddite suggested that I note that I also know that Eddie is one of those seemingly rare people who actually cares about the people who work for/with him.

  53. EddieInCA says:

    @just nutha:

    ETA: Luddite suggested that I note that I also know that Eddie is one of those seemingly rare people who actually cares about the people who work for/with him.

    Thanks. I take that as a compliment, and it happens to also be true! I’m management who feels like they’re better suited to crew. I eat lunch with the crew, not in my office or trailer. Every day. I consider myself crew, not management, even though I’m almost the ultimate manager, and certainly am the ultimate manager when it comes to the finances of the show.

  54. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Without outing the dude

    The number of people posting here with paper thin pseudonyms who are of moderate note in their industries amuses me. Not because I think they are doing a terrible job at anonymity, but because they’ve done just enough that a google search of their name will never find them here. I feel it is my duty to never mention their names, just to help them spite Google.

    Granted, with all the AI that the search engines are adding, and all the generated content getting indexed, I expect that no one will ever be searchable again beyond 4 fun facts about their lives which might not be true. Sifting through all that crap will be a Herculean task (the task where he had to clean out the stables).

    I guess the only responsible thing to do is create a ai bot that generates false, innocuous information about random people and publishes it so it gets indexed and anyone looking for anyone is just overwhelmed with information about how they love ham sandwiches, dated a minor celebrity’s hanger on, and how they have a pet porcupine. Mounds and mounds of drivel.

  55. Tony W says:

    @EddieInCA: Meanwhile we are treated with intellectually stimulating gems like “Deal or No Deal Island” instead of writing/acting/producing quality stuff.