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:

    John Madden, we shall never see his like again.

    eta: a short video.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    For all the Texans who said, “Screw the vaccine, I’ll just get monoclonal antibodies if I get sick.”

    Omicron says, “No, screw you.”

  3. Sleeping Dog says:


    Let em take cattle de-wormer.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    Oklahoma bill would allow any parent to ban book and collect $10,000 per day if it’s not removed from school

    The bill bans all books “that make as their primary subject the study of sex, sexual preferences, sexual activity, sexual perversion, sex-based classifications, sexual identity, or gender identity or books that are of a sexual nature that a reasonable parent or legal guardian would want to know of or approve of prior to their child being exposed to it.”

    I’d start by demanding that the bible be removed from school libraries.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From those Commies at Bloomberg News:

    U.S. financial markets are outperforming the world by the biggest margin in the 21st century, and with good reason: America’s economy improved more in Joe Biden’s first 12 months than any president during the past 50 years notwithstanding the contrary media narrative contributing to dour public opinion.

    Exceptional returns from dollar-denominated assets, especially the S&P 500 Index in both absolute terms and relative to its global counterparts, can be attributed to record-low debt ratios enabling companies to reap the biggest profit margins since 1950. Corporate America is booming because the Biden administration’s Covid-19 vaccination programs and $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan reduced the jobless rate to 4.2% in November from 6.2% in February, continuing an unprecedented rate of decline during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Consider that real, or inflation adjusted, gross domestic product surged at an average annual rate of 5.03% in each of the first three quarters of 2021, and is poised to expand 5.6% for the year based on the average estimate of more than 80 economists surveyed Bloomberg. If that forecast proves accurate, it would be more than 2.8 times the average between 2000 and 2019 and double the average since 1976.

    All of which makes Biden’s first year in the White House the standout among the seven previous presidents, based on 10 market and economic indicators given equal weight. According to data compiled by Bloomberg, no one comes close to matching Biden’s combination of No. 1 and No. 2 rankings for each of the measures:

    Gross domestic product (1)
    Profit growth (1)
    S&P 500 performance (2)
    Consumer credit (1)
    Non-farm payrolls (2)
    Manufacturing jobs (2)
    Business productivity (2)
    Dollar appreciation (2)
    S&P 500 relative performance (2)

    But but but… Supply Side Economics! Trickle down! The Deficit!!!

    trump made the greatest economy EVAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’d start by demanding that the bible be removed from school libraries.

    Can I watch?

  7. Sleeping Dog says:


    Of course!

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    via NotMax at Balloon Juice: Florida man with drugs around penis denies they were his

    Honest officer. I woke up and there they were!

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Let me go pop the world’s biggest bowl of popcorn first.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    A few days ago there was a thread about the difficulties of coping with pandemic stress, especially that caused by this latest variant (just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water). I think I think I’m a minority in this comment group and in my family in that I am profoundly relieved. Yes, Omicron is going to kill a lot of people and cause a lot of disruption, but this time there is a whole hell of lot we can do to insure either we don’t get it or if we do, it’s mild. And me, my family, my coworkers have all done those things.

    I feel profoundly sorry for those who chose to put their faith in Fox News hosts rather than medical professionals, but in the end it was their choice and almost all of them will survive that choice.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:
  12. sam says:

    “Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.” And how it gets around.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    A Federal judge in OK has ruled against the “Governor” on the National Guard vax mandate.

  14. senyordave says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Song of Solomon banned completely. Need to blacken out much of Leviticus, although I’m sure they would have no problem with the passages about killing men who lie with other men.
    Does Oklahoma have an person in charge of making sure that no matter what stupid shit comes out of other state’s legislatures that Oklahoma always tops it?

  15. steve says:

    We are now down to just 2 ICU beds for a network of over 10 hospitals. We have well over 100 people, mostly covid, waiting in an ED or somewhere else in a hospital for a bed. To make things even better we now have 2 pts who came in, unvaccinated, with very low O2Sats (in the 30s-40s) having trouble breathing. They have refused all treatments except Oxygen and Tylenol. Wont accept an IV even. Fortunately, both responded to O2 (HiFlow). Both were accompanied by families to make sure we didnt give them any other medications. Both pts on younger side for covid, not demented. All conspiracy driven.


  16. senyordave says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Biden as POTUS stabilized a lot of things and IMO he’s done a good job, but never underestimate the effect of pumping trillions of govt. dollars into the economy. Debt to GDP ratios for the US are at near historic highs (only post WW2 recession period was higher), and it will continue to get worse. Eventually the spigot will be turned off.

  17. dazedandconfused says:

    Navarro lays out Bannon’s Green Bay Sweep, an unintentional Dumb and Dumber script.

    Plausible, but raises the question of why, if he and Bannon really think over-running the capitol ruined their brilliant plan, Trump did nothing to stop it for 3 hours.

    I look forward to Navarro under oath, he still has some entertaining ‘splaning to do.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    I see that the COVID death rate continues to climb, but it is important to remember this is primarily amongst the voluntarily unvaxed. By my conservative calculations, just today in the US more than 3000 lives will be saved by the vaccines and boosters, and 39,000 cases of long COVID prevented. Amid all the gloom and doom we should remember that the speedy development, approval and deployment of the vaccines mean that thousands upon thousands of families will not suffer a tragedy. We should remember to be grateful to all the people who made, and make, this possible.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: No edit key when you need it! That should be 2250 lives and 29,000 cases of long COVID. Just a mistake in reading the chart that propagated.

  20. Gustopher says:


    To make things even better we now have 2 pts who came in, unvaccinated, with very low O2Sats (in the 30s-40s) having trouble breathing. They have refused all treatments except Oxygen and Tylenol. Wont accept an IV even. Fortunately, both responded to O2 (HiFlow). Both were accompanied by families to make sure we didnt give them any other medications.

    I suppose it would be wrong to give them a bottle of oxygen and a few Tylenol and tell them to go home because you need the beds for people who will let you help?

    If there were more resources, I would be more compassionate — these are people being killed by an Internet hoax, and they don’t deserve to die because they aren’t good at filtering information and their trusted sources have been lying to them — but when hospitals are overcrowded, it is a zero sum game. Willingness to be treated should be a factor in triaging who gets access to limited beds.

  21. Monala says:

    @senyordave: add in Genesis 19, Judges 19 and Ezekiel 23.

  22. Monala says:

    @Monala: oh, and add 2 Samuel 13. In these four chapters, you have attempted gang rape, non-consensual incest, actual gang rape, dismemberment, metaphorical prostitution and beastiality, and incestuous rape and murder.

  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    I got sick on Sunday, and while I suspect it’s influenza rather than COVID19 (I had a close contact with confirmed positive influenza negative COVID19 results), I can’t get a COVID19 test locally until next week and while a rapid at home test should be arriving today, I’m mostly feeling better already so even if it was COVID19, I may likely going to test negative by the time I can take the test.

    PS: two related peeves I have:

    1). shipping companies that aren’t properly scanning their packages so the web tracking is days out of date until after the package is already delivers
    2). shipping companies using the USPS for final delivery, why am I paying a premium for expedited delivery just so you can go shove it in a mailbox?

  24. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I still prefer it to the alternative, but the current administration really feels asleep at the wheel on a lot of critical issues.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Then you’ve already won. My high school library didn’t have a copy of the Bible in it back in 1970.

  26. Monala says:

    I watched “Don’t Look Up,” on Netflix last night. It’s a satire about the responses to our current pandemic, with the movie’s crisis being an extinction-level asteroid headed towards earth.

    You have your craven politicians basing their response on how it will play out in the midterms; the folks who claim it’s all a hoax*; greedy CEOs looking for ways to monetize the event; and a lot of Americans not paying attention at all.

    It was okay, not great. And of course, the Onion got there first, in 2011: Republicans Vote To Repeal Obama-Backed Bill That Would Destroy Asteroid Headed For Earth

    * one false element: once you can actually see the asteroid hurtling towards earth, many of the folks who believed it was a hoax get angry because they’ve been lied to. I think we’ve seen how this actually plays out: people usually don’t want to admit they’ve been duped, so they make up ever-more irrational explanations for what’s happening. In this case, people would have been more likely to claim that the visible asteroid was a fake image someone was projecting into the sky, rather than admit they’d been lied to and fell for it.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Mileage varies among users, but I’m a big fan of UPS/USPS last mile delivery. In the last 3 years, FedEx and UPS have combined to make a total of one successful delivery in 8 or so attempts because my apartment building doesn’t have a pass code for delivery drivers and drivers who are making timed delivery schedules can’t afford to waste the time making a call–even if I’m at home. (The FedEx drivers have taken to leaving “Sorry we missed you tags” that have no apartment number included–to avoid having to attempt delivery again, it would seem.)

    Last mile looks pretty good from my perspective, but I don’t pay for expedited shipping either. I’ve gotten to the point where if I see that the order will be delivered by FedEx or UPS, I cancel the order rather than placing it. On the plus side, it’s cut waaaaayyy down on my e-commerce, making your order easier to fill.

  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Where do I go to collect my $10K 😉

  29. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    2). shipping companies using the USPS for final delivery, why am I paying a premium for expedited delivery just so you can go shove it in a mailbox?

    Because it would be plain silly for you to pick up the package and shove it in a mailbox yourself.

    At the office,w hen we need to send something urgent (ie overnight or even later the same day), we often send it by bus, to be picked up at the bus station. It seems really weird, until you realize the delay is mostly in the proverbial last mile (although I’m sure it’s more than one literal mile), as well as the lesser known but just as important first mile (again, more than one literal mile)

    If you drive to the bus station and drop a package for, say, Guadalajara, it will go on the next bus, and be at the bus station in Guadalajara in 6 to 8 hours. If you send it at 10 am, the recipient can pick it up before 7 pm easily.

    Of course, you do all the work of delivery to the long distance transportation, and all the delivery work from said transportation.

  30. JohnSF says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Hope you feel better soon.

    I felt really crap week before last, tested negative, but was more or less laid up for a couple of days.
    Most likely I just had a cold.

    My colds are always far worse than other peoples, though.
    Because they are happening to ME!

  31. Mister Bluster says:

    NEW YORK, Dec 29 (Reuters) – British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty by a U.S. jury on Wednesday of helping the late financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls.
    Maxwell was convicted on the first of six counts. The jury was still delivering the verdict on the other five counts.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “Deficits don’t matter.”
    – Dick Cheney

    Have you ever noticed that the only time anyone harps on the deficit is when a DEM is in the White House?

  33. Kathy says:


    “So there’s a comet. Big deal. It’ll burn up in our atmosphere and whatever’s left will be no bigger than a chihuahua’s head.” Homer Simpson, The Sage of Springfield.

  34. Mu Yixiao says:
  35. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’d be fine with that if USPS were being paid appropriately for providing that service. Instead we end up with FedEx, UPS, etc. making huge profits while the USPS does the hard part of their jobs and gets treated as the bad guy for doing it.

  36. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    The croc reminds me of years ago in the Nausicaa near Boulogne.
    I was looking at a tank with an absolutely immobile crocodile (? or alligator?) in it.
    After looking for about ten minutes, I thought, yeah, well, that’s obviously a stuffed alligator.
    A fish splashed.
    It blinked.
    I jumped.
    They are one scarily patient predator.

  37. senyordave says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Have you ever noticed that the only time anyone harps on the deficit is when a DEM is in the White House?
    True, but I think huge structural deficits do matter. The problem we have is that the deficit is at least $500 billion if the economy is in good shape (obviously this is due to the Bush and Trump tax cuts). Eventually the debt will matter, because the debt to GDP ratio is a thing.

  38. CSK says:

    Ghislaine Maxwell has been found guilty on 5 of 6 counts.

  39. JohnSF says:

    At present the deficit is sustainable, for obvious reasons:
    1) the markets will finance at reasonable interest rates
    2) it has not outstripped the likely addition to productive capacity that the spending plans should stimulate

    Go beyond either of those two and you may be kissing bye-bye to your financial base.

    One reason why I keep boring on about the strategic inability of the US to cut loose from the Middle East, or more specifically, the Gulf.
    Never mind the military dimension, which favours disconnection.

    Consider the financial dimension: absent the support for the US dollar international reserve currency status of the stupendous sums paid for Arabian oil in dollars and recycled via the US/EU dollar finance systems, the dollar possibly has issues.
    See for comparison the pound sterling inter-wars and post 1945.
    If the US is no longer able to effectively deficit finance at will thanks to the huge international market for dollars and dollar securities, you may have a problem.
    Possibly a BIG problem.

  40. Kathy says:


    I wonder what’s keeping the Theranos jury

  41. CSK says:

    The jury may be wrestling over whether she really intended to defraud her investors or she just got over-enthusiastic and fudged the truth about the blood testing device.

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..fudged the truth

    A new Ben and Jerry’s flavor added since they were bought out by Unilever.

  43. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Where the ice cream hits the road?

  44. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    They must be having a very Goodyear.

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I can’t change that part. 🙁

  46. Kathy says:


    Morally there’s no difference, since she knew she didn’t have the technology she was selling investors on. More important, she didn’t have the technology she was selling to patients.

    Whether Holmes thought she would later develop it or not is irrelevant. She made false claims not only of what her Theranos machines could do and what they were, but also of where they had been or were being used.

    She lacks even the modern indulgence of having made money.

  47. Stormy Dragon says:


    I feel better already to be honest. I’m just frustrated that two years into this pandemic, we’re in a place where the wait time to find out if you have COVID19 is longer than the average recovery time.

  48. de stijl says:


    What Kathy said.

    Simple, provable fraud. A flat-out lie. Not “We are working towards…”, but “We can deliver now…”

    She lied daily. Not fudging. Lying.

  49. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @de stijl:
    I know that. But she may have conned the jury into believing it wasn’t intentional fraud. We’ll see. As Sally Quinn once observed, “Being blonde doesn’t hurt.”

    I hope she’s found guilty and that she gets the max sentence. Crook.

  50. de stijl says:

    Sometime around this time of year 4 maybe 5 years back I was walking to Walgreen’s.

    Cut through Drake University. Winter break. No kids on campus. Maybe a few security folks, some guys running the physical plant infrastructure. Nobody outside.

    That last week I had seen these huge flocks of crows circling about. No. Crows don’t circle. They go a to b. Their hive mind is fascinating. They have a destination or at least a direction.

    I walked through an archway into this big open quad area – like 200 yards by 300 ringed by buildings and with a lot of trees both deciduous and evergreens.

    There were several thousand crows chilling out there. In the trees. On the ground. Lined up on the building ledges. It was mind-blowing, the just massive number of them.

    I had been plodding away a to b listening to something on my headphones. I stopped dead still. Killed the music. Did not want to chase them away.

    The sheer amount was astonishing. Best estimate 2 to 3 thousand milling about. Chatting with one another. Cawing, quorking, screeching, squawking.

    Corvids are extremely clever, ravens famously so. Crows are less genius, but still pretty damn smart.

    I sat down and watched and listened. It was really loud. It was the most fascinating thing I had seen in decades.

    I sat until my tushy got sore and I was getting cold. Probably close to an hour. But I had places to go. Stood up and walked forward. I expected the whole joint to rise up and flap away. A cloud of crows ascending.

    Nope. They just sort of scattered away or flapped 20 feet out of my way. They weren’t leaving for little ole me. There was bird poop everywhere. I got a lot of harsh squawks directed my way.

    I just walked through the crowd and they did not make a big deal about me. They were having a convocation. A hive mind sit-down. I was a minor distraction. An interloper.

    It was glorious! (Except for the bird poop.) One of the greatest experiences of my life. I saw something truly magical and beautiful.