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. Bill Jempty says:
  3. Rick DeMent says:

    How to moderate a political debate. This is a master class.

    Sorry can’t seem to get the link thing to work so you get the whole ugly string.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rick DeMent: ???

    eta: NOW I see a link. After refreshing the page 4 times because my question mark comment didn’t appear at first.

    eta2: and it doesn’t work for me. My computer refuses to show threadreader links.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Joe Biden has moved to correct a “great injustice” by pardoning thousands of US veterans convicted over six decades under a military law that banned gay sex.

    The presidential proclamation, which comes during Pride month and an election year, allows LGBTQ+ service members convicted of crimes based solely on their sexual orientation to apply for a certificate of pardon that will help them receive withheld benefits.
    The president said the step was about “dignity” and “decency”, and ensuring the military’s culture reflects that of America.

    It grants clemency to service members convicted under Uniform Code of Military Justice article 125 – which criminalised sodomy, including between consenting adults – between 1951 and 2013, when it was rewritten by Congress.

    Heads are exploding all across the religious right.

  6. Kylopod says:

    Republican former congressman Adam Kinzinger endorsed President Joe Biden on Wednesday, giving the Democrat a prominent new ally in his high-stakes campaign to win over moderate Republicans and independents this fall….

    “While I certainly don’t agree with President Biden on everything, and I never thought I’d be endorsing a Democrat for president, I know that he will always protect the very thing that makes America the best country in the world: our democracy,” said Kinzinger, who voted for Trump in 2020.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:
  8. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Let me guess: GamerGate bro

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    An extensive aerial survey in South Sudan has revealed an enormous migration of 6 million antelope – the largest migration of land mammals anywhere on Earth. It is more than double the size of the celebrated annual “great migration” between Tanzania and Kenya, which involves about 2 million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle.

    “The migration in South Sudan blows any other migration we know of out the water,” said David Simpson, wildlife NGO African Parks’ park manager for Boma and Badingilo national parks, which the migration moves between and around. “The estimates indicate the vast herds of antelope species … are almost three times larger than east Africa’s great migration. The scale is truly awe-inspiring.”
    In 2007, a Wildlife Conservation Society survey suggested South Sudan’s migration involved about 1.3 million animals. But African Parks, which manages Boma and Badingilo national parks in the south-east of South Sudan on behalf of the government, has been able to provide a more accurate count using improved technology and assessing a more comprehensive area. Two planes were kitted out with cameras programmed to take a photo every two seconds. This produced 330,000 images, which were studied by University of Juba graduates using software to count the wildlife.

    “Seeing these animals here at such scale is something I could have never fathomed still existed on the planet,” said Mike Fay, African Parks’ landscape coordinator for Boma and Badingilo. “From the air, it felt like I was watching what Earth might have been like millennia ago, when nature and humans still existed together in balance.”
    The estimates indicated 5 million white-eared kob, just under 300,000 tiang, 350,000 Mongalla gazelle, and 160,000 bohor reedbuck, the four species of antelope totalling just under 6 million. Fay said that figure means that “this great Nile migration of antelope is the largest on Earth, according to our data, dwarfing any other known land mammal migration on the planet”.

    As well as antelope, the surveyors documented other species including lions, giraffes, buffalo and elephants. Pretty cool.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I would not know. I’ve heard the term but don’t know it’s exact meaning. That culture is foreign to me.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve speculated here recently (as have many others) about what happens to the Republican Party after Trump leaves the picture. I’ve wondered if the party is so full of Trumpers who have no real affiliation for it that they have driven “normies” out of the party. The results of last nights primaries may refute that, at least to an extent. In the races where Trump attempted to make a difference by endorsing a candidate in a real race the results were almost uniform across the country: Trump’s preferred candidate lost. The Republican base simply ignored Trump’s wishes.

    I’m not sure how this fits into the bigger picture, but it is a data point nonetheless.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In case you’re interested, although you can probably guess the background just from the “bro”.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I want you to remember what they did to me. They tortured me in the Fulton County Jail, and TOOK MY MUGSHOT,” Trump wrote in an email promoting coffee cups with his mugshot emblazoned on them.

    “So guess what? I put it on a mug for the WHOLE WORLD TO SEE!”

    Next thing you know he’ll be claiming he was subjected to extraordinary rendition and sent to Abu Ghraib.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Thanx, that tickled the old memory cells into a recollection.

  15. Israel’s Supreme Court came out with a decision that has completely blown up the “ultra-orthodox men studying Torah don’t have to do military service” racket that has existed since the founding of Israel. It never was popular among the secular side, and now with the war with Gaza it’s become a split-line in the country.

  16. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    Dawg, that’s freaking hilarious!

    OTOH, if I was the moderator trapped with those two, I’d likely have been in front of a grand jury for beating them with their own microphones.

  17. Kylopod says:

    @Grumpy Realist: Bibi once opposed the religious exemptions on the draft, until the UO became an integral part of his coalition.

  18. Jen says:

    @Grumpy Realist: Am I just now noticing that Grumpy Realist has the same photo as Dr. Joyner? Or is something wonky?

  19. Kathy says:

    Windows: Action needed WiFi not connected to the internet. Click here to open browser.

    Chrome: this site can’t be reached. Reload?

    Me: Well, that was quick and pointless.

  20. Franklin says:

    @Jen: I assume something wonky, but I see the same.

  21. Kingdaddy says:

    Why, yes, news outlets do muse about Biden’s age waaaaaaaaaaaaay more than Trump’s. It’s not surprising, but it’s useful to see the numbers.

  22. Grumpy realist says:

    @Jen: yah, I think it’s because my remark went into moderation. I’m blaming it on the A.I.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Grumpy Realist: Wait, your avatar is James Joyner!* Is Grump Realist really James? I mean, the name makes perfect sense then…


    * Or at least that’s what’s showing up in my browser

  24. MarkedMan says:

    @Grumpy Realist: BTW, I think this would be an existential threat for the ultra-Orthodox community in Israel. Number one rule of any ultra-orthodox religion: keep your members from associating with outsiders. So my prediction is: 1) this will take years to implement, if it is ever implemented at all, 2) the ultra-Orthodox will be allowed to participate in service other than military (does Israel have a conscientious objector alternative?), 3) they will do so in strictly segregated fashion, both with the uO segregated from mainstream society and within that segregated group, men will be segregated from women.

  25. Jen says:

    I don’t know who this moderator is, but he should be moderating every political debate in the country:

  26. Kathy says:

    Remember the Boeing Starliner capsule that triumphantly overcame its manufacturer’s limitations and launched into the right orbit earlier this month? It was supposed to dock with the ISS (it did), and return after 8 days.

    It’s still docked with the ISS. Its crew is still aboard the station as well.

    A Boeing product through and through.

  27. Tony W says:

    @Jen: Ooh – let’s all change our photo to that next April Fool’s Day!!!

  28. Bill Jempty says:

    Here is something amusing for any ice hockey fans out there besides myself- Fifty years ago, the Sabres drafted a player who didn’t exist: The legend of Taro Tsujimoto

  29. Jay L Gischer says:

    I find myself wondering if the reason this policy has endured so long is that the IDF does not consider these ultra folks fit for service, considering how detached from reality they are said to be.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: @Franklin: I smell an imposter. Not sure if it’s James or Grumpy tho.

  31. Kathy says:

    The new monitor is in.

    First, of course I managed to spill my coffee all over papers on my desk. pro tip: when messing around the desk with cables and stuff, move the coffee mug to a different surface.

    Second, this thing is HUGE.

    Of course I knew that 27″ > 17″. But my home desktop has a 24″ monitor, and I thought 27″ would be not much > than 24″. It is much >. I’m used to having all open windows using up all the screen. I resize only a few when I need to move something, like files, between windows. With this blue whale of a monitor, I’m resizing everything, because otherwise I see 1) a lot of blank space on web pages and spreadsheets, and 2) they are all left off center by a lot.

    Best of all, with a direct HDMI connection to the laptops HDMI port, the image doesn’t flicker, produce ghost lines, shadow areas, etc.

    Now, if Samsung will be kind enough to send the invoice so I can enter a reimbursement request…

  32. Roger says:

    Here’s a surprise. The six conservative justices of the Supreme Court have narrowly construed a statute to find that there’s nothing illegal about a public official taking a gratuity from a company he did governmental business with. Who could have predicted that? <a

  33. Sleeping Dog says:


    From the article I read this AM, the Israel Supreme Court has ruled several times that the Orthodox should be subject to the draft, but has given the (successive) governments time to draft the appropriate laws, which could be an exemption. That has never occurred with the can be repeatedly kicked down the road.

    The history, as I understand it, is that at Israel’s founding, the Orthodox were <1% of the population and it seemed harmless to grant them special dispensations and financial support. Today, they are 13% of the population and contribute little or nothing to the Israeli economy, i.e. they're "takers," but because they are a unified voting block they have enormous political power, but they've festered enormous resentment among the rest of the population.

  34. Franklin says:

    @Rick DeMent: Bravo!

  35. DrDaveT says:


    I thought 27″ would be not much > than 24″. It is much >.

    At a standard 16:9 aspect ratio, a 24″ monitor (diagonal) is about 250 square inches of screen, while a 27″ monitor is about 312 square inches — more than 25% larger.

  36. gVOR10 says:

    @Roger: A quick search of “snyder v united states” turns up several brief, lay, descriptions. Basically, the mayor awarded a contract to a local company and a few weeks later got a 13K gratuity (claimed to be a consulting fee) from the company. The Court ruled it’s not bribery if the payment came after the act. To justify it they offered libertarian just-so stories like it might criminalize a wealthy person giving a donation to a hospital where they’d been well treated.

    We are a long way from a Caesar’s wife standard. And it seems moderately obvious why the GOP justices wish it so. Not just on their own behalf, but on behalf of other activities by their wealthy sponsors. This country needs a good old-fashioned 90% top rate.

  37. Grumpy realist says:

    @Sleeping Dog: one wonders about their long-term plans. At some point the Israeli economy won’t be able to continually support a huge chunk of the population that expects to spend its entire time in economically unproductive activities and continually living off the income of other people. (Unless all the women go get the necessary STEM education and man all the high-tech jobs. I can’t imagine them continuing to earn all the money, have and raise all the kids, and take care of the house while hubby continues to do nothing but sit at home and study the Torah. At some point even the meekest worm will turn.)

    The ultra-orthodox are complaining bitterly about the SC decision and threatening to leave Israel. Lots of horse-laughs from critics, who point out that no country wants economic deatbeats as immigrants and Israel is the only country that thinks Torah studies are of so much value as to support financially people who are doing it. Everywhere else they go they will be tagged as “useless parasites.”

    Will be interesting to see where Israel goes from here, but continued indulgence of the UO will result in economic collapse in the end.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I think this is meant for somebody else. I have not commented on the Ultra Orthodox Jews in the IDF issue.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR10: With every such ruling, they make “Kill the rich” sound positively reasonable.

  40. Kathy says:


    It feels far bigger than that. Like I’d replaced a regular TV with a movie theater screen.

    I also took the chance to remove the old desktop, which has been unused for months (that’s when the coffee incident happened). One just doesn’t look much at the back of a PC, it’s even a bit inaccessible. I was surprised to find out it has 6 USB ports and an HDMI port.

  41. gVOR10 says:

    @gVOR10: I see Scott Lemieux at LGM just posted on the above case. He excerpts Jackson’s dissent on just how stupid this is.

  42. Kathy says:

    It looks like the supremes spilled something more substantial than coffee today

    TL;DR, the long awaited Idaho abortion decision was briefly postes on the SCOTUS website, before it was released.

  43. DeD says:


    JFC. This SCOTUS decision is so obviously self-serving that the shame they don’t feel is like slime on my skin. It’s creepy just for the read, nevermind the discussion.

  44. CSK says:


    So far, the MAGAs seem to be elaborately ignoring Trump’s claim of being tortured. I thought they took everything he said seriously but not literally. Shouldn’t there be earnest explanations of what he really meant by torture?

  45. Kathy says:


    If 2024 ends up as a replay of 2016, Hera forbid, the White House will get the world’s biggest tip jar in the oval office.

  46. becca says:

    Most corrupt Supreme Court ever. The fact that they aren’t even trying to hide it anymore leads me to the conclusion we are doomed. I want to throw up.

  47. just nutha says:

    @gVOR10: It’s not a bribe if it comes after the act? REALLY???? 50 years ago, that statement would have been the punch line on a joke from Laugh-In. Now it’s the reasoning of “the greatest legal minds in America?”

    Just. NO!

    ETA: On the other hand, I do get why Kavanaugh might be leery of obeying a statute section numbered 666.

  48. Mikey says:

    I happened upon this excellent piece–a transcript of a podcast interview, actually–on Public Notice, former Vox correspondent Aaron Rupar’s online magazine. (Which is also excellent, by the way.)

    David Roberts on why this campaign is driving him crazy

    It’s a bit long-ish and tough to excerpt, but this passage immediately reminded me of the late (and very much missed) Teve:

    These are awful people who are mean, dumb, and they like imposing cruelty on out groups and blaming them for all their problems. You can describe this in clinical psychological language, you can process it into a political “position” or “issue,” but really it’s just shitty. It’s a shitty way to be. These are shitty people.

  49. CSK says:


    I miss Teve, too. We all do.

    “Shitty people with shitty values.” — Steve Brandon Story, 1976 – 2021. RIP.

  50. steve says:

    Was Gratuity the name brand on the $250k motorhome his special “friend” gave him?


  51. becca says:

    Looks like a military coup in Bolivia. Sketchy details.

  52. CSK says:


    The presidential palace has been stormed.

  53. CSK says:

    At her victory party last night, Lauren Boebert claimed that she doesn’t know who her father is. I suppose she could have asked her mother, but her mother might not know, either.

    Why are the loudest proponents of Christian family values (think Sarah Palin) almost invariably so utterly trashy?

  54. Beth says:


    So Roberts, Barrett and Kavanaugh were smart enough to wait till after the election to kill some preggos. Alito, never change Sammy boy you wretched turd.

  55. Beth says:


    Lol, the first thought I had when I read your comment was “Lucky, I wish I didn’t know who my father was.” Guess that’s something to unpack at therapy, lol.

  56. Kathy says:


    The president is asking the populace to go out on the streets to impede the military.

    This suggests to me he has no loyal military units. If so, either the whole army backs the coup, or a portion is staying neutral in the fight. Either way, it does not bode well for the current government.

    Of course, this is highly speculative and based on insufficient information. It’s unlikely the coup leaders will give out a press conference and incriminate themselves if they fail, or that the government has the leisure to keep the press informed.

  57. JohnSF says:

    Seriously, WTFF?
    In what weird alternative reality do the majority Justices live where payment does not usually follow, rather than precede, an requested action?
    I mean, this is just gibbering insanity.
    English courts can be damn silly sometimes, heaven knows, but this is just nuts.
    Maybe you need a constitutional amendment: “shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and also not taking the judicial mickey.”

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I always go with the idea that many Christians are reluctant to draw attention to their lives in case their faith isn’t as comprehensive as they believe it to be. Beyond that idea, not all Christians believe in the efficacy of imposing moral values on others. Not all Christians are modern-style dispensationalists, and those who aren’t focus on the Christian life and values system as collections of personal choices. They do seem to be a numerically small cohort, though.

  59. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    There seems to be an odd stream in some American evangelical circles that the more you sin, the more you can be saved, or something.
    And also that it is somehow “natural” and “authentic” to be “sinful” aka to routinely act like an asshole, and then appeal for redemption again and again.

    Which would have come as massive surprise to both Medieval Catholics and early Protestants, who inclined to the view that sin was, on due reflection, obviously irrational, and/or something to be dealt with by self-discipline and the aid of the teachings of the Church.
    “Go forth and sin no more” not “Do it agin’, and same time next week for cost-free absolution”

    “Both lunatics and heretics” as an Anglican priest of my acquaintance has opined.

  60. Beth says:

    So I think I just figured out what the most likely result of the current AI craze will be. Musk and a bunch of his fart sniffing chucklefuck tech bros are going to end up getting one of their defective AI’s loaded on to the wrong computer/network and it’s going to accidentally (completely unintended) either delete a bunch of critically important stuff, or it’s going to unintentionally leak a bunch of damaging crap. There’s not going to be a skynet, humans are too stupid. It’s going to be a meltdown at Chase where everyone’s deposits and mortgages are erased or like a bunch of state secrets (actual real important ones) are going to get disclosed to the world.

    It will be GLORIOUS.

  61. DeD says:



  62. Gustopher says:

    I assume the Supreme Court just wants the gratuities.

    I hate tipping culture, and while I suck it and tip servers and other folks who provide services and are underpaid, I will continue to not tip politicians and judges.

  63. Kathy says:


    Yeah, I was way off. AP is reporting the coup attempt, such as it was, is over.

    Given coup attempts recently in Venezuela, the US, Brazil (if that’s what it was), Peru (self coup attempt) and now Bolivia, one wonders why they even bother. Though Bolivia did successfully stage a coup or revolt five years ago to remove Evo Morales.

  64. JohnSF says:

    Come on, not even if Justice Alito serves you up a really good Manhattan?

  65. Kathy says:


    Good point. gratuities are provided by customers to people who provide a service.

    When was the last time your waiter tipped you.

  66. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: I’m still waiting for self-driving, solar powered cars. I want them to break free and just roam the highways in the southwest.

    Not world ending, but fun. I can see hobbyists repairing them when they break down and sending them back out into the wild.

    As far as world disrupting AI scenarios, I think the most likely case is either just economic upheaval when too many jobs are done (poorly) by AI, or humans acting on AI “enhanced” intelligence.

    Maybe AI traders tanking the stock market.

    But, by far the most likely is just the massive power requirements of this generation of AI causing us to delay shutting down coal powered power plants, delayiing our efforts to slow global climate change.

    AI isn’t going to release lots of information, since the public facing AI won’t have that data. Hackers erasing everyone’s debts are far more likely.

  67. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: in a thread yesterday you wrote:

    Less fun story, when I changed my name the ARDC, the arm of the IL Supreme Court that regulates attorneys, told me that they would not remove my deadname from the master roll of attorneys. I told them that’s a massive safety issue and massive unwarranted intrusion into my privacy. I was told the public’s interest in knowing that I’m trans is more important than my safety.

    I can see no public interest in the public knowing you are trans. Mayyyyybe if you were disbarred, but even then disbarring both you and Deadname should be sufficient.

    Sorry you have to go through this shit.

    This does cause me to rethink my thoughts with regards to sports records, criminal records and the like: Caitlyn Jenner and Elliot Page probably want to be fully credited for their past achievements, and probably have a very different relationship with their identities than anyone else. If either wanted to separate themselves from their past accomplishments in record books or IMDB, I could go along with that. They can do what they want — and both have been very public.

    I do think it’s relevant to connect the Brandon Manning who was convicted of crimes with the Chelsea Manning that tries to run for office, though. If Mannings crimes were when she was Chelsea, I don’t think it would be at all relevant that she is trans though.

    (Also, now the movie Juno is retroactively the most mainstream representation of mpreg where it isn’t presented as a joke. That’s got to make someone happy)

  68. Kathy says:


    These past few weeks Copilot’s been far less helpful, and I dare say dumber and lazy as well.

    I asked for help looking up recipes for pasta that are low fat and are not tomato sauce. It directed me to pages of “the 750 million* best pasta recipes ever!” Which were almost all creamy, cheesy, or with tomato sauce**.

    It’s been giving shorter answers to straightforward questions, and offering the opinions form its sources, when they contain opinions, as facts.

    I’ve also been summoning the gatekeeper far more often. Just today I asked “how democratic and prosperous is Costa Rica?” Boom! It may be time to start over with a new topic.

    I then asked what are the politics and economy of Costa Rica like, and that got a detailed response.

    To me, both questions are pretty much the same.

    Maybe the gatekeeper doesn’t like questions that seem to require judgment from the AI.

    Oh, it’s also taken to answering all questions with “Certainly!” For example, on the Costa Rica question, it answered “Certainly! Costa Rica has maintained a stable democracy for several decades…”

    *I exaggerate a bit (by a factor of several hundred million). I’ve just been coming across lots of pages like this. It seems to be the current fad. A few years ago it was “You/we have been doing X wrong.”

    ** I figured something out myself. Not that low in fat, but it should be good.

  69. DrDaveT says:


    I’m still waiting for self-driving, solar powered cars. I want them to break free and just roam the highways in the southwest.

    ObSF: Roger Zelazny, “Auto da Fé”

  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: Yeah, it’s problematic. Even more problematic is that the Apostle Paul (the author of evangelicalism’s favorite Bible books) addressed that very question and came out against the proposition.

    Le sigh… 🙁

  71. Jax says:

    @Kathy: AI has fucked up internet recipes. I was looking for a cobbler recipe the other day that I lost my paper version of, and every cobbler recipe I found was AI generated and not quite right. Some of the ingredients they listed don’t even go in cobblers, why the fuck would I need a small can of tomato paste?!

  72. Grumpy realist says:

    @Jax: recipe for fruit cobbler:

    Stuff on top: sugar:flour:butter in a 1:1:1 ratio or a 1:2:1 ratio. (If at a 1:1:1 ratio can also add similar amount of oatmeal.) oh, and add a small amount of salt. (I usually make up one stick of butter’s worth of crumble with any leftovers stuffed in freezer.)

    Chop up fruit and dump in bottom of pan. Fill until 2/3rds full. Spice with relevant spices (berries get lemon zest & nutmeg, apples get cinnamon etc.) sprinkle thick layer of crumble on top. Can add nuts if desired.

    Bake at 350F for roughly 1hr or until sufficiently browned on top. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

    This is a traditional New England cobbler and is less sweet than a lot of the recipes out there. Use a good tart apple like a Granny Smith that will stand up to the cooking and not immediately turn into mush.