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. Bill Jempty says:
  2. Not the IT Dept. says:

    This is from the weekend but we just got back yesterday, so I’m a bit behind on news. From Josh Marshall’s TPM:

    Basically, there’s domestic turbulence roiling the waters as the Netanyahu government decides what to do about a long-term settler issue: many receive government funding for support as they are “religious scholars”, but don’t serve in the IDF. There’s a growing feeling that they’re (at the very least) not helping Israel while being what in America we’d call welfare bums. It’s an interesting article, and Marshall is right that it’s something we wouldn’t read about in coverage of what’s going on in Israel.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    On the voter fraud front:

    An Iowa woman found guilty on 52 counts of voter fraud, carried out in support of her Republican husband, was given an eight-month custodial sentence. Kim Taylor, of Woodbury county, will serve four months in prison and four in home confinement, KTIV, a Sioux City TV station, reported. Subject to two years’ supervised release, Taylor will also pay $5,200.
    Each count carried a maximum penalty of five years in prison – or 260 years in all.

    During sentencing on Monday, Leonard Strand, the judge, said a vastly lighter punishment was correct because of factors including Taylor’s caretaking role for her children and good community standing.

    Good community standing? Hell’s bells, I’ll bet the local smack dealer has a higher community standing than she does. At least he provides a service to the community.

    Taylor’s husband, Jeremy Taylor, ran for Congress in 2020, losing a Republican primary. He was then elected to the Woodbury county board of supervisors. He resigned as board chair after his wife was convicted but remains a board member. He was not charged in the voter fraud case but has said he will not seek re-election.

    Last November, Kim Taylor was found guilty of 26 counts of providing false information in registering and voting, 23 counts of fraudulent voting and three counts of fraudulent registration.

    Ah yes, the Sgt. Shultz defense: “I know nothing, nothing!”

  4. Kylopod says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: Netanyahu once was a supporter of ending the religious exemption on military service. He flip-flopped on the issue after they became an essential part of his very fragile coalition.

    I try to exercise caution in making any comparisons between Bibi and Trump. Bibi has been in politics a lot longer, he never was an outsider, he’s a much more cold, calculating type. But it’s hard not to see at least a few parallels–not just in the fact that he’s clinging to power and undermining democracy in part to save his own ass legally, but also in the way he’s a not-very-religious man who caters to religious nuts because he views them as key to his political survival.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Far-UVC light can virtually eliminate airborne virus in an occupied room, study shows

    Also causes blindness AND destroys brain cells! (just getting ahead of the inevitable Qonspiracy)

  6. CSK says:

    Donald Trump has proclaimed that November 5, 2024 will be Christian Visibility Day.

    I am not joking. He said this.

    Doubtless millions upon millions of the faithful will descend on polling places to cast their votes for their lord and savior, DJT.

  7. Kylopod says:


    Donald Trump has proclaimed that November 5, 2024 will be Christian Visibility Day.

    It’s news to me that Christians in America are in any way invisible.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: @Kylopod: It’s also going to be Atheists Visibility Day.

  9. Bill Jempty says:
  10. Jax says:
  11. Kathy says:

    The Guardian seems to have found the dirty money Russian savior of Lardass’ would-be data mining company.

  12. CSK says:


    “…provides financial services to the porn industry.”


  13. gVOR10 says:

    Kevin Drum reports that Smith has fired a shot across Judge Loose Cannon’s bow. (WAPO, and I assume everybody else, has the story, but Drum’s more concise.) You’ll remember she asked for draft jury instructions to the effect that she or the jury could decide the documents Trump squirreled away were his personal records under the Presidential Records Act. Smith has replied that this has jack all to do with the PRA and if Cannon doesn’t so rule he’ll go to the circuit for a writ of mandamus.

    No matter how this shakes out, Cannon gets what she and Trump want, weeks of delay.

  14. gVOR10 says:

    @Kathy: Having speculated in these threads that Trump Pravda Social stock would be an easy way for Putin to launder money I’m fascinated by the central figure of that Guardian story, Anton Postolnikov, “the nephew of Aleksandr Smirnov, an ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin”.

  15. Matt Bernius says:

    Yup, that’s in a tab that I might turn into a post here. The filing from Smith office is incredibly thorough and directly calls out the unique double jeopardy issue that is at play in this case.

  16. Kathy says:


    I’ve been wondering about this. The judge seems to be favoring the defendant to an unusual degree, deferring to him even on ridiculous interpretations of the law. There’s no question as to who owns classified documents: the US does, not Lardass.

    The really bad part, as I understand, is that a federal judge cannot be removed save by impeachment. And it does require a 2/3 majority vote in the Senate. So fat chance removing this judge, just because she’s making hash out of the law.

  17. Scott says:


    Texas counties facing surprise surcharge from voter registration software vendor

    A vendor of voter registration management software is asking Texas counties that use its services to pay tens of thousands of dollars in surcharges to help the company stay afloat, or scramble for alternative ways to deal with sensitive voter information in a presidential election year.

    In a message to counties on March 21 obtained by Votebeat, Votec CEO John Medcalf said some customers in Texas were “up to seven months late” making payments.

    “These delays, plus mishandling by our payroll/health insurance company caused additional concern,” Medcalf wrote. He predicted that his company will be financially strong in 2025, based on the expected release of a new product, but said he must assess a “one-time” surcharge of 35% on Texas clients this year.

    In Dallas County, the election department received an invoice from Votec with a surcharge of $66,000. In Collin, the surcharge is more than $40,000, and in Hays County, it’s close to $20,000.

  18. Kurtz says:


    Running down a wolf with a snowmobile? A real manly man.

    I’ve said this before, that sort of sadism toward animals or children gets to me.

    In those instances, my usual positions about punishment go out the window and my mind turns to justifications for horrific punishment.

    Now I hate myself a little bit more.

  19. a country lawyer says:

    @Kathy: While a judge can only be removed from office by impeachment, she can be removed from a particular case by the appropriate appellate court, in this case the 11th Circuit.

  20. Kathy says:

    @a country lawyer:

    If that happens, Lardass will squeal so loud he’ll be heard clear across the galaxy.

  21. Kathy says:

    I’ve been considering the thermodynamics of my air fryer.

    The idea of the air fryer, pretty much, is that it circulates very hot air constantly over a low volume. This gets you higher temps than in most ovens. Also there’s the basket, or in my case the bottom insert for the pot, that raises the food above the “floor” of the fryer. This is to allow air to circulate below the food. A conventional oven with convection still requires you place the food in a dish, pan, or pot, and thus no hot air circulates on the bottom of the food.

    Well and good, but sometimes you can’t put the food directly on the basket or insert. I’ve seen videos of people air frying brownies, cookies, bread, pancakes, etc. They either put the batter or mix in a dish, or line the bottom with tin foil or parchment paper. It seems to work.

    Not that I’m interested in that per se, not yet (and air frying pancakes seems like a waste of time). But I’m wondering what can I cook in the air fryer inside a dish, and whether I can remove the air fry insert such a case.

    I kind of expected I’d use the air fryer a lot, but thus far the slow cooking function has seen far more action.

    Right now I’m thinking it looks good to overcook some tomatoes, onions, garlic, and chilies to make black salsa. Placed in an oven safe dish.

  22. Bob@Youngstown says:

    This sounds like extortion.
    But it also highlights how dependent the voting system has become to independent contractors.

    Two years ago, I accidently discovered that my county (in Ohio) subcontracts the production of absentee ballots and MAILING to a printing company nearby that flies a TRUMP flag in their lobby. I’ve no substantive issue with a printing company producing the absentee ballots, but I do have an issue with that same company being responsible to actually address and mail those ballots, and then informing the county and the voter that their absentee ballot was actually mailed. Discovery of this occurred when thousands of voters, who had been told by the county that their individual absentee ballots had been mailed, complained to the county that weeks later they had got received their ballot that had been mailed 3-4 weeks prior. Turns out that the printing company told the county that they had mailed the ballots, but in actuality had not.

  23. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: The question I have is did the county continue to use the printing company?

  24. Kathy says:

    Hm. Financial loses, collapsing stock, dirty Russian money, and now insider trading. The Lardass data mining company has it all!

    Really. If it looks like a con, quacks like a con, and leaves con sh*t all over, it must be the most legitimate tech business venture since Theranos!!1!

  25. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Mr. Prosser:
    In the immediate aftermath of this discovery (but before the election) the County hired another printer to do the “job”. Unfortunately this also caused a problem because the replacement printer could not tell who got absentee ballots and who didn’t – so absentee ballots were sent to everyone that had originally requested a ballot. The consequence of that was that many more thousands of voters actually received more than one ballot.

    Allegedly the duplicate ballots were sorted out by the election board prior to counting so there was no duplicate voting but it sure caused more work for the election board and created a state of confusion amongst the voters. (I’m assuming that the “filtering” through the ballots was done by election officials and not by some un-named contractor !)

    But the short answer to you question is that the county (as well as three or four other OH counties) had to find new printers, after they were able to get the courts to void existing contracts.

    My principle point here is how Joe-six-pack assumes that when the county says that “they” are performing some action, Joe assumes that the work is being done by county employees (like the Board of Elections staff) and not just being out-sourced to some unknown private contractor who MAY have their own motivations and self interests.

  26. Jen says:

    @Kurtz: SAME. I can’t even bear to click the link. F*ck that guy. I have no use for anyone who treats an animal like that.

  27. Kathy says:


    Oh, I forgot lawsuits. You gotta have lawsuits in a Lardass venture.

  28. CSK says:

    @Kurtz: @Jen:

    I can’t stand it either.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, DJT, aka Truth Social has been stable in price the last two days. I would love to know why that is, after dropping so precipitously. My guess is that there are simply few shares on offer, and so the price is simply reflective of a small number of people going after those few shares and hence volatile.

    The thing is, I don’t know how to check how many shares are for sale, and at what price. I think many of us generally assume that you can buy shares of stock at the price on the ticker, but I know that at least for small companies, that may not be true. If none of the shareholders are willing to sell at that price, you can’t buy. I know of a particular public company where almost all of the stock is held by a few individuals and the market price is such that they won’t sell at that price. So it makes me wonder if that is what is going on with DJT.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    Whoops. Meant to link to the DJT ticker

  31. ptfe says:

    @MarkedMan: This has been my suspicion about how the stock will generally perform. Investors are either speculators – willing to sell – or MAGA goons – holding. Each time the price drops like this, it will take more shares off the market as MAGA goons throw their cash in. We went from the $70/share people to $50/share people. I expect $30/share in a month or so, then $10/share by mid-summer.

    Presumably the speculators all know that the price collapses in the event of a Trump loss in November, so this is a very weird stock that has a pretty serious deadline.

  32. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    So, this “sportsman” ran down the wolf with a snowmobile, crippled it, took it home, taped its mouth shut, took it to a bar, and then took it out back and killed it? And apparently this was all legal (although unsportsmanlike)?

    Unlike @Kurtz:, I don’t feel guilty about my proposed punishment for this individual. But that’s because all y’all are way better people than I was, am, or ever will be. People like this are, at best, a terrible waste of communal oxygen, and we should actively discourage such waste.

  33. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    SWMBO bought an air fryer, and we’ve used it a couple of times with ok results. However, after the first time cleaning it, I researched, found, and bought a 3 pack of silicone basket liners (in our case, about the size of a coffee filter) which fit in the basket. It still works normally, but I’m not spending what feels like forever cleaning out the inside of this debil machine of all the crumbs and splatters.

  34. Kathy says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Mine isn’t an air fryer per se, it’s an instant pot (pressure, steam, slow cooker, etc.) mixed with an air fryer.

    There’s no basket. There’s a circular pot inside. For air frying, you have a circular tray insert that goes on the bottom, to allow air flow down there. It’s supposed to be nonstick, but, you know. Even so, it’s easy enough to remove it from the pot and scrub it clean, thus far.

  35. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Got it. While I enjoy your forays into cooking, I somehow missed the devices actually used. Mea culpa.

    While an instant pot sounds like a winner, our kitchen is tiny, and counterspace is non-existent. Besides, I’ll never convince my sweetie to unload any of her three favorite crock pots currently living on the top of the fridge.

    ETA with approximately 10 square feet total counter space currently invaded by my coffee/espresso machine, kitchen knife set, and toaster (along with bread, 3 Costco muffin packs, and enough candy to cause an entire elementary school sugar meltdown, all other kitchen appliances either live in the garage OR atop the fridge.

  36. CSK says:

    TFG has had his claim of presidential immunity rejected by Judge Merchan.

  37. Kathy says:

    I just got a brainstorm: air fryer Frito fried chicken.

    I also caught a cold (again!) earlier today (and know whom to blame for it*), so maybe I’m delirious. Anyway, long time ago I wondered how oven baked milanesas would be like if I used Fritos for breading. They tasted a bit like KFC. I was thinking about that earlier in the week, and it occurred to me the oil in the Fritos would crisp the breading.

    I’ve never done deep frying. For one thing, it takes up a lot of oil, and likely wastes most of it even if you save it for another use. It also feels wrong to drown food in hot fat.

    So I’m thinking coating with: 1) flour, 2) beaten egg with milk, and finally 3) pulverized Fritos perhaps seasoned further with pepper and paprika, and maybe mixed with cornmeal (don’t ask; it “tastes” right when I think of it).

    But this will have to wait for when I’m on vacation, as I’m sure reheating would ruin the texture.

    *I’m also beginning to think one person wearing a mask isn’t as protected as when more people wear masks. So maybe I just got lucky during the worst of trump pandemic while surrounded by maskholes.

  38. dazedandconfused says:


    Prices tend to stabilized when volume drops, so my guess is the short sellers feel they’ve had their fun and are standing pat, playing now strictly with house money. If Trump is elected they still have a hand in, and if he loses…it’s “house money”.

  39. Jax says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: @CSK: @Jen: @Kurtz: As soon as I saw who it was in the article, I was like “Of course he would fucking do that, he’s always been a little crazy.”

    Sometimes people blow me away. Him and his wife are the first to offer support to anybody in need, organizing fundraisers, raffles, spaghetti dinners, etc. I don’t get how so many people can’t extend their empathy towards animals, as well.

    He’s obviously taking some flak on the internet, he’s deleted his Facebook profile.

  40. Kathy says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    I see no need for an apology, as you didn’t do or say anything objectionable.

    That said, I spent months looking up slow cooking, pressure cooking, and air frying, before I decided this appliance wouldn’t end up gathering dust in the storage locker in the parking garage (apartment building), which seems to be the fate of most newfangled kitchen gadgets and appliances.

    So, it worked for me, as did the ice cream maker. Good thing, too. Imagine spending hundreds on storage stuffing, which no one needs anyway.


    ETA with approximately 10 square feet total counter space currently invaded by my coffee/espresso machine

    Coffee is sacrosanct.

    I keep mine at work, because I spend most of my time there. I wouldn’t move it to make space for something else.

  41. CSK says:


    The animals can’t tell him what a swell guy he is, can they?

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: The really bad part, as I understand, is that a federal judge cannot be removed save by impeachment.

    There is another way. Not that I recommend it.

  43. Kurtz says:


    Oh, you know this person?

    Well, it is a good thing I do not for that person’s sake and my own.

    Anger is too easy.

    Duct tape and tools are too cheap.

    PTSD and a guilty conscience are too difficult.

    Legal consequences are too expensive.

  44. Kathy says:


    Ask her nicely to please step down? I’d throw up trying it.

    John Oliver offered Clarence Leo-Crow (nee Thomas) a million a year and a very customized luxury bus to step down, and that didn’t work either. And I don’t have that kind of money anyway.

    This is what you meant, right 😉

  45. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: Everybody knows everybody here.

    Also why I hang out at OTB most days. I’m a tiiiiny blue dot in a sea of red and people with the “born crazy” gene who don’t necessarily subscribe to anything political, they just want to be left the fuck alone.

  46. dazedandconfused says:

    Trump’s $175 million bond rejected. Possibly because of sloppy lawyering..but it may be he really, really does not want his real financial statement made public.

    Edit to correct link.

  47. Kathy says:


    Oh, please, let him miss the deadline.