Wednesday’s Forum

Something for hump day.

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:

    NPR: White House Seeks To Lower Farmworker Pay To Help Agriculture Industry

    New White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is working with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to see how to reduce wage rates for foreign guest workers on American farms, in order to help U.S. farmers struggling during the coronavirus, according to U.S. officials and sources familiar with the plans.

    Opponents of the plan argue it will hurt vulnerable workers and depress domestic wages.

    The measure is the latest effort being pushed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help U.S farmers who say they are struggling amid disruptions in the agricultural supply chain compounded by the outbreak; the industry was already hurting because of President Trump’s tariff war with China.

    Because wage slavery will solve all the problems in processing and distribution. Never let a crisis go to waste.

  2. Teve says:

    I just got a new Bodum French press and a local roaster roasted some beans for me on Saturday. That said, my new routine is to pour it out of the French press through a filter. Drinking coffee is healthier for you than not drinking coffee, on multiple fronts. But drinking coffee filtered through paper reduces a chemical called Cafestol and makes it even healthier.

    filter coffee is healthier

  3. sam says:

    Alaska school board removes ‘The Great Gatsby,’ other famous books from curriculum for ‘controversial’ content

    Mark Twain: “First, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then He made school boards.”

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:


    A second round of the coronavirus is ‘inevitable,’ the nation’s leading epidemiologist says, but just how bad it is will depend on the progress the US makes in the coming months.

    “If by that time we have put into place all of the countermeasures that you need to address this, we should do reasonably well,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said. “If we don’t do that successfully, we could be in for a bad fall and a bad winter.”

    Being able to test for the virus, track cases and isolate every infected American will be key factors in ensuring that second wave isn’t as deadly, Fauci says.

    The US continues to lag behind in testing, according to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The nation has performed 16.4 tests per 1,000 people, according to the report. Spain and Italy, with the second and third highest number of cases after the US, have conducted 22.3 and 29.7 tests per 1,000 people respectively.

    Fauci says the federal government needs to provide strategic guidance and assistance to help states up their number of conducted tests. He hopes he can guarantee everyone who needs a test can get one by the end of May or early June.

    Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen. Not if trump has anything to do with it.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Jennifer Jacobs

    BREAKING: Trump plans to order meat processing plants to STAY OPEN, declaring them critical infrastructure under Defense Production Act. Order meant to stave off shortage of beef, chicken, eggs, pork. Plant closures could have shut down as much as 80% of capacity, source says.

    Seth D. Harris

    Replying to
    So, chicken and pork are important enough to employ the Defense Production Act to force their continued production, but #covid19 tests, masks, gloves, face shields and other #personalprotectiveequipment are not. And will @POTUS send @OSHA_DOL to protect these workers’ lives?

  6. Scott says:

    If you want to watch a show just to laugh at its total lack of social value, wordplay, and exuberent stupidity, I would recommend Letterkenny on Hulu. Just dip into a random episode, they are short. Takes place in a small town in Northern Ontario. Put closed captions on because, as this show demonstrates, Canadian is a foreign language.

  7. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: These meat packing plants are COVID hotspots and they refused to provide proper protection for their workers. Now they are blackmailing the US into making them stay open by demanding liability protection. Tyson couldn’t protect its employees but could pay for a full page ad in NYT threatening broken supply chain.

    By the way, most of these employees are immigrants and therefore exploited out of fear.

    BTW number two, , Smithfield is owned by the Chinese and JBS is owned by Brazilians.

  8. scott says:

    @sam: It should not surprise anyone that Mat-Su Borough School District is Wasilla Alaska, home of the intellectual giant of the far right Sarah Palin.

    My daughter went to an all-girls Catholic school where, during Banned Books Week, the librarian put all the banned books on one shclf and invited the girls to take them out and read them. I loved that.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: most of these employees are immigrants

    See? They aren’t even real people!

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Germans urged to stay at home amid fears Covid-19 infection rate is rising again

    Germans have been advised to stay at home as much as possible and continue to apply physical distancing as official data appeared to indicate the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic was once again accelerating.

    The basic reproduction number (R), indicating how many new cases one infected person generates on average, has come to be seen as the key indicator over whether restrictions on public life can be loosened after Angela Merkel stressed the importance of keeping the number below one.

    On Tuesday, the German government’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), announced the reproduction number for Monday 27 April had risen to 1, after having put it as low as 0.7 in mid-April.

    Lothar Wieler, the RKI’s president, later specified that the reproduction rate for Monday was 0.96, and therefore technically still below one.
    The medical expert also warned of pinning too many expectations on a single indicator, saying that “R is only one index among many”.

    As German politicians are increasingly divided over the speed at which social distancing measures should be relaxed, the negative news of the rising reproduction number had sown some confusion, especially with latest official data also showing new cases of confirmed infections with Covid-19 dropping below 1,000 cases for the first time in almost seven weeks.

    Other scientific institutions studying the spread of the pandemic in Germany question whether the downward trend of recent weeks has in fact been reversed, as the RKI’s numbers suggest.

    So plenty of caveats but yeah, open up the economy.

  11. Teve says:

    We, as a species, have mostly figured out what makes us happy: time with loved ones, physical and mental stimulation, substances that heighten or deaden those feelings, Netflix, and sassy church signs.

    -Scott Galloway

  12. Teve says:

    One day I’m going to learn the necessary finance calculations and figure out which is better: buying a house, or renting and putting the diff in a retirement account.

  13. Teve says:

    There is absolutely no more worthless and obfuscating take than the idea that the big debate in American politics is about “smaller vs bigger government.” Just absolute analytical bs with no connection to reality.

    -chris hayes

  14. Sleeping Dog says:


    Tiny: PPE, that’s the states problem. Meat shortage! That is a threat to my reelection.

    And as I said yesterday, the workers are poor and immigrants, why should Tiny care if they die.

  15. MarkedMan says:

    Just a random observation about Trump. People on the sane side of things, whether they be pundits or just the guy down the street, often say “Trump should stop spouting off and listen to the experts.” I think this is a misdiagnosis of the problem. Trump listens to all kinds of people. If you go back to his earliest days when he was busy losing the astounding wealth he had inherited from him father, his conversational style consisted of getting peoples views on various things, usually things that concerned him. I’m not talking about when he was “on” and bloviating about his greatness, but just when he was shooting the sh*t with someone. The thing is, even back then before decades of prescription drug abuse, Trump couldn’t rationally judge the validity of these opinions.

    All day long Trump is hearing advice from all kinds of different people. Some doctor at the CDC tells him something? Yeah, but that’s just some drone making pocket change. Another doctor says something different? Oh, that’s a television doctor making millions on TV and writing bestsellers. Must be a better source of advice.

    I’ve always said that any attempt at understanding Trump has to start with the fact that he’s a moron. Advising Trump to listen to the experts is meaningless. He already listens to the people he considers experts. What about advising Trump to pick better experts? That’s useless, as he doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to differentiate between people, outside of their social hierarchy.

  16. Tyrell says:

    The news media needs to tone down the meat shortage rhetoric which drives the panic buying mindset. They did that with the paper products and look what happened there. They need to keep people calm and request them to only buy what they need. Many are buying up freezers (the kind Nancy Pelosi has for her ice cream?) )

    There is a bill that would allow small processors and local farms to process meat and help keep the stores stocked. It is called the “Prime Act” and has support from both parties.
    I found out that one big meat plant* is now owned by China. That’s just what we need to hear. Just wondferful.
    *Hillshire maybe
    All the government red tape needs to be suspended when there are shortages.

  17. Scott says:

    @Tyrell: Smithfield is owned by the Chinese and JBS is owned by Brazilians

  18. @Tyrell:

    They need to keep people calm and request them to only buy what they need.

    That’s actually the government’s job, not the media’s. Indeed, it is the kind of thing we would typically expect the president to do (which would, in turn, help drive the media response).

  19. CSK says:

    Tyson has owned Hillshire since 2014. Before that, it was owned by Sara Lee.

  20. @Tyrell:

    I found out that one big meat plant* is now owned by China. That’s just what we need to hear. Just wondferful.
    *Hillshire maybe
    All the government red tape needs to be suspended when there are shortages.

    BTW: if you are concerned about foreign ownership the only way to combat it is via regulations (i.e., government red tape).

  21. MarkedMan says:

    I’m just marveling at the idea that the way to avoid a meat shortage during a deadly pandemic is to cut government regulation on meat packers.

  22. Teve says:

    All the government red tape needs to be suspended when there are shortages.

    Exactly! These dumb government regulations about “e. coli” testing. Stupid libtards! If a.coli is fine, and b. coli, and c. coli, and d. coli are fine, what’s all this fear mongering about e. coli???

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @sam: As I was going to note when Dr. Joyner observed (in another post)

    At least in Fairfax County, where the schools are run by criminally incompetent hacks, we’re not getting [our money’s worth].

    who knew who you elect to the school board was so important, eh?

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I think that if you look up the term “capital sink,” you will probably be able to decide which will be best for you if you remember that for a house, you have to subtract interest payments, taxes, maintenance and upkeep, cost of remodeling, and such from your total final sale price to calculate your return on investment.

    When I bought my condo–at the height of stagflation in a 10% mortgage rate market in 1978–my interest payments alone for the 30 year loan totaled something on the order of $300,000 IIRC. As an investment, based on current market values in the area, I’m still about $75,-100,000 behind–but I don’t have the $250,-300,000 pool of frozen asset that it would have represented. My ex-wife got than when I sold the condo to buy a house for us in 2002–not that I care; I have adequate for my needs.

    The larger question for the moment is whether a typical earner even has the option of deciding whether to buy or invest the difference between ownership and rent at all. After my divorce, I never had either the income or the capital to buy another house in the real estate markets I’ve lived in. I’m glad that you will have the choice available. Good for you.

    ETA: TL/DR version–“Your home is not an investment. Your home is where your wife and children live.”–Andrew Tobias from “The Last Book on Investing You’ll Ever Need to Buy”

  25. Kathy says:


    Don’t forget all those darned COVIDs no one got bothered about. What’s so damned special about the nineteenth?

  26. Tyrell says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: School board members and school administrators should spend some time in the classroom. We are seeing more superintendents who are from the business world have little or no experience in the classroom.
    That is why many teachers are treated as unskilled labor.
    “Just do it! “

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    who knew who you elect to the school board was so important, eh?

    I hate school board elections. I try to be conscientious and check out the local candidates before I vote, but you can never find out anything much about school board candidates. I try to vote for people with relevant experience, but it’s hard to even be sure you’re not voting for some closet Creationist.

  28. Kathy says:

    What’s really wrong with the Trumpian approach to the pandemic, is that El PITO wants to be cheered regardless of the outcome.

    Now, suspend your disbelief for a moment (here, let me get a construction crane*) and suppose what trump did was perfectly right at every step, there were no missteps, and no one could ever possibly have done better.

    If all that were so, the outcome so far is a wrecked economy, over 60,000 people dead and over a million cases in the US alone, who knows how many unreported cases and deaths, and who knows what long-term effects form residual damage, and all this before the second wave hits.

    And Trump wants people to cheer.

    * Better get three.

  29. CSK says:

    Whatever the upshot, he’ll insist it was A) a triumph, and B) solely due to his far-seeing leadership.

  30. CSK says:

    My word. According to CNN, Trump threatened to sue his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, over his dropping poll numbers.

  31. Kathy says:


    I used to think if Trump had been sitting in the Oval office on 9/11, the whole world would know by now he owns the talles building in New York.

    I think I got that wrong. He would have claimed to have taken down Flight 93 somehow, and claimed that as an absolute victory over the terrorists, even as the wreckage of the Twin Towers still burned.

    Plenty of other heads of state are handling the pandemic wrong. His Majesty Manuel Andres the Last, for one. But aside from Brazil’s Little Trump, I think El PITO Pequeño is right at the bottom rung. What has saved some thousands of lives in America is federalism.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Well maybe you are, but in my state it takes a special certification from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to become a superintendent. In some cases, the Office grants a waiver to an out-of-state candidate who meets the qualifications without having been in education in the past, but it’s not common.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I used to think if Trump had been sitting in the Oval office on 9/11, the whole world would know by now he owns the talles building in New York.

    And that would also be a lie. But why abandon a schtick that works?

  34. MarkedMan says:

    Fauci has noted that the anti-viral drug remdesivir has had positive results as a treatment. I hope this turns out well – lord knows we could use a break. One reason to hope is that from what I’ve been able to gather this was an NIH study and not a manufacturers one, and that means a lot. Non-manufacturer studies usually don’t get done for years and then only if the drug is in widespread use, and all too often show that the drug is failing to live up to its promise.

    One thing that concerns me is that there have been other tests of the same drug against COVID19 that didn’t show any benefits. All of these tests have been hurriedly done and so those could have been flawed in some way, but so could the NIH test.

    I think I recall trials in Italy and France that didn’t show anything. There was a NEJM study published a couple of weeks ago that looked at a cohort of sixty some intubated or EXO patients. There was no control group and the results were not dramatic enough to indicate to someone like me whether there was a noticeably positive effect. Some patients got better, some died and some stayed the same. So it’s not a miracle drug for those who were intubated, but may have some benefit. Maybe the NIH study looked at earlier use or altered some other metric and got obviously better results. I hope that’s the case.

  35. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I assume everything that Trump says is a lie, until I see evidence to the contrary.

  36. DrDaveT says:


    I assume everything that Trump says is a lie, until I see evidence to the contrary.

    That makes you a “strict empiricist”.