Welcome to July 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. Kurtz says:

    Well it finally happened…I got Covid.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    July… Blech.

    @Kurtz: My 2 youngest (10 months and 2+ yo) STL granddaughters got vaccinated on Tuesday. The youngest spiked a fever yesterday to 103.4. My wife and I were going to keep them overnight but when we called Momma and Papa to let them know, they decided a change in plans was in order. So it goes.

    Fingers crossed you have a mild case.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “My children are asking: ‘Father, why do they want to kill us?’” he says of the Russian invasion. Usyk looks desolate as, after a pause, he finally says: “And I don’t know what to tell them.”

    -Oleksandr Usyk

  4. CSK says:

    Trump is asking why Cassidy Hutchinson isn’t being prosecuted for lying under oath.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Egregious acts of violence’: why is Eric Adams cracking down on subway buskers and mango sellers?

    Because unlike the real criminals on Wall Street, buskers can’t fight back.

  6. CSK says:

    I hope it’s mild and over quickly.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @Kurtz: Good luck!

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    A Lucky Country, on Thin Ice

    Where James Fallows echos Dr T’s conclusions, with Fallow’s thoughts on why it took so long.

    But in governmental terms, this “young” country is not just mature but geriatric. I’m not talking about the people who now run the branches of government, old as many of them may be. I’m talking about the branches themselves, under the shaggy balance-of-powers, evolving-democracy system set up in 1787. But in governmental terms, this “young” country is not just mature but geriatric. I’m not talking about the people who now run the branches of government, old as many of them may be. I’m talking about the branches themselves, under the shaggy balance-of-powers, evolving-democracy system set up in 1787.

  9. Kathy says:

    Replying to yesterday’s comment from @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    My understanding of the in-vitro process is that embryos fertilized outside the body have a hard time attaching to the uterine wall. Success rates for achieving pregnancy vary from around 30% to 55%. What this means is that if you fertilize and implant one embryo, odds are nothing will happen.

    Common practice is to implant two or three embryos at a time*. Most times, none or one attaches and pregnancy follows. Sometimes two or more manage it. Often more than one attempt at implantation si required. This is one reason several eggs are removed and fertilized. the other reason is that a woman who requires in-vitro once will need it again for further pregnancies, so you may as well have embryos ready for the next few years.

    Point is there’s no “keeper,” nor are any implanted embryos aborted.

    There is some form of embryo selection, as regards the odds it will attach and develop. But that’s way outside what I actually do know.

    Odds are embryos will be left over once all pregnancies are done. These can be donated to other couples or women for their pregnancy attempts, or to science for research, or discarded entirely.

    *Particularly in the US multiple embryo implantation is the norm. So you may see five or more implanted at a time to increase the odds of one attaching. this tends to result in multiple births.

  10. Kathy says:


    Damn, that sucks.

    I hope it will be mild and short.

  11. CSK says:

    A former Secret Service agent told Business Insider that Trump is too fat to lunge over an SUV seat and try to grab the steering wheel.

    Somehow, I don’t think Trump will be pleased by that defense.

  12. Mikey says:

    @Kurtz: Yuck, that blows. Hopefully your experience is the definition of “mild symptoms.”

  13. Kathy says:

    as if this term of the Supreme Court wasn’t bad enough, there are signs the next one will eb even worse. Namely the court has agreed to hear Moor v Harper.

    This is a gerrymandering case from North Carolina, where the state supreme court struck down the map drawn by the legislature. the map was so egregiously gerrymandered it violated the state constitution. the argument is, according to The Guardian, “the “independent state legislature theory” – the idea that state legislatures have exclusive authority to set the rules for federal elections. ”

    This would mean the legislature alone and unbounded can and must set all rules for federal elections, from drawing maps to appointing electors.

    And that’s total bullshit. It beggars belief a constitution based on checks and balances and the need to limit government power, would allow state legislatures to act as tyrants in electoral matters. To wit, the state legislature can set rules for federal elections, yes, but only within the bounds of state law. That should be self evident.

    But that won’t allow red states to keep minority rule or to steal the presidency in 2024.

  14. JohnSF says:

    Sorry to hear that.
    Hope it goes OK for you.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Misery GOP to the Texas GOP: “Hold mah beer, watch this!”

    Governor Mike Parson has signed a bill into law that will make it a felony to sleep on state-owned land.

    The bill has drawn wide criticism from unhoused advocates for the way it seemingly criminalizes homelessness. After one warning, anyone found illegally camping on state-owned land could face a $750 fine or a Class C misdemeanor charge punishable by up to 15 days in prison.

    The law authorizes the state attorney general to sue any municipalities that don’t enforce the ban. It further penalizes cities with rates of homelessness higher than the state average by taking away state funding for unhoused services.

    Republican legislators who supported the law insist this will be a good thing. “If it isn’t backed up by threat of criminal enforcement, people won’t get off the streets, and that is truly the intent of the bill,” Representative Bruce DeGroot told the RFT in May.

    Bruce DeGroot, a Chesterfield Republican who sponsored the bill in the House, says this is just “a first step” to getting Missouri’s unhoused off the streets.

    Head? Meet desk.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:


    So Misery is going to address their homeless problem by making the homeless guests of the state?

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Off the streets and into jail! Then you won’t see them anymore. Problem solved!

  18. Mikey says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: They’ll do everything to the homeless except help them.

  19. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Chesterfield Republican”–yeah, that’s where the state’s unhoused problems are. What an @ss.

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kurtz: Sorry to hear that. Wishing you and uneventful and quick recovery.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: But he was traumatized by the sight of a homeless person begging in front of Busch Stadium once. He is still suffering from PTSD. Have you no compassion for his pain?

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Thanks for the clarification. And I will note that any number of the factors you mention may well have been objections back when evangelicals started minding other people’s business, but I haven’t followed evangelical lack of thinking on this topic for ages, so I have no idea of where they are now.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: On the other hand, it’s not like we haven’t criminalized homelessness before. What are vagrancy laws about?

  24. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    You’re welcome.

    As a rule, meddling in biology yields results that re not quite as expected. Drugs have side effects, clones may not look identical to the original organism, transplants might not work, embryos may not attach, etc.

    I’m hugely skeptical whenever I hear or read a claim that something works too well or too precisely. Sometimes these claims are true, but even so I await the downside that’s not immediately apparent.

  25. Kathy says:

    Imagine astronauts finally land on mars, and the first thing that happens is the commander sets foot on the red soil and breaks their leg.

    Astronauts in weightless environment lose an awful lot of bone mass.

    I wonder why no one has tried to make a long, long term animal experiment. Astronauts stay on the ISS a limited time, I think maybe as much as a year or so. that’s fine as far as it goes. But you could easily keep a few animals up there for years and see how they do.

    Of course, that costs money (the mass of the animals, plus the food and water they require for years and years). And animals pose problems of their own besides. Like keeping, say, five or six dogs or cats caged for years in weightless conditions.

    But if one purpose of the ISS is to learn about the effects of weightlessness for future space exploration, such a thing should be done.

  26. CSK says:

    Monkeys, perhaps? Chimpanzees?

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: @CSK: Peta would sue.

  28. Kathy says:


    Monkeys or apes are the best approximation, but too much trouble to look after, and too dangerous inside a complex and rather delicate structure. Dogs or cats would work better, and can be trained to behave. The big problem is what do you do when they need to evacuate waste.


    With ample justification.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: We city dwellers are all too used to this. Basically, suburbs drive their homeless into the cities and then talk about how horrible the cities are because they are full of the homeless. This particular instance may be enforced by law in a trump state but every suburb, regardless of their location, makes sure their police force know that when they get a complaint about a homeless person they are to lose no time in making sure said homeless guy “moves along”. Whatever it takes.

  30. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: This is why we need artificial gravity. Which means a whopping big space station to rotate sufficiently.

    I seem to remember NASA had been working on the use of tethers.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I’m not sure how much you would learn from rat studies. We already know weightlessness causes bone density loss, so what we are really interested in is what we can do to minimize that. Hard to get rats or mice to exercise and I’m not sure how applicable it would be. And supplements can behave very differently in rat guts than human ones. And on top of that they only live for two years so you would have to tease out the effects of aging from the effects of weightlessness.

  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Cue the Blue Danube Waltz.

  33. Kathy says:


    I think lab rats are actually mice, but that’s beside the point. they can run on a wheel for hours, but that’s pretty much it. You can’t easily get them to lift weights or do resistance training. Which, BTW, would also apply to dogs, cats, and probably monkeys as well.

    My notion is to keep animals around for years to see how far bone loss goes. Does it reach a limit? or just keep going until the bones are too brittle to serve any purpose? Meantime use human subjects to test exercises, supplements, diet, etc.

    @grumpy realist:

    Any rotation works. the advantage of a big structure is that it can rotate more slowly and get the same centripetal force as a smaller one. A capsule tethered to a counterweight would need to rotate so rapidly as to make navigation a nauseating experience.

    We also don’t know how much fake gravity is enough. do we need 1 g, or can we do well enough on 0.5 g. If 0.3 g proves too weak to do much, there goes the idea of colonizing Mars, never mind the Moon (0.17 g).

  34. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: The independent state legislature theory strikes me as so stereotypically “originalist”. The Elections Clause says that “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof;”. How do state legislatures act? By passing laws subject to veto by their governors and review by their courts. And in modern application by the Supreme Court. That seems straightforward enough. But by selectively applying hyper-literalism, cherry-picking history and context, ignoring common sense, and squinting just right, an “originalist” can force it to fit his desired outcome. For two hundred years the obvious, straightforward reading has been applied. But originalists have declared originalism the only valid way to interpret the Constitution, so two hundred plus years of interpretation, including by the Founders themselves, is, by definition, wrong.

  35. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Kurtz: A swift recovery!

  36. MarkedMan says:


    I think lab rats are actually mice

    There are lab mice and lab rats, useful for different things. Neither are actually very good analogs to humans, despite the mice being used so much in pharma. I was going to say even rats aren’t much used in surgery R&D but the linked article says they are used for neuro work.

  37. CSK says:

    I very seldom mention family, but I found this so appalling that I can’t stop thinking about it. My niece-in-law, a smug, self-infatuated devout “Christian,” was at a large family gathering at which my brother and sil were present. Kathy, my sil, had bought her 7-year-old granddaughter a package of colored markers. In the middle of dinner, my niece-in-law marched over to Kathy, markers in hand, and said, “Please take these back. We don’t want Charlotte (the 7-year-old) to be spoiled.” And then she proceeded to hector poor Kathy about it at length in full view and hearing of about 35 other people. Everyone at the table was frozen in embarrassment.

    My brother and sil only get to see their grandkids twice a year–if they’re lucky. Swell the way these good Christians treat people with such kindness and compassion.

  38. reid says:

    @Kurtz: I did too, about a week ago. Luckily, it’s been very mild. Good luck.

  39. gVOR08 says:

    @Kurtz: Hope this is mild, brief, and with no lingering effects.

  40. Michael Reynolds says:

    Take the average human. Might be decent, might be a prick.

    But add daily communication with the creator of the universe and. . . they might be decent, might be pricks. Evidence that exposure to Jesus makes people better is somewhere south of zero. Hard to be impressed with a God whose own followers ignore his teachings.

  41. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I think I’ve said before that in my experience, the Bible thumpers range from the annoying to the evil/psychotic. I used to think my niece-in-law was merely annoying (and tiresome). Now she’s moved into the downright bitch category.

    I think her Christianity manifests itself solely in assuring everyone what a Christian she is.

  42. Jen says:

    Have we talked about Justice Thomas’s bonkers dissent in the NY vaccine mandate case yet?

    How is someone this ignorant of the facts? Someone who, we are told, is “smart”? He and his wife at this point are indistinguishable from random MAGA types sh!t-posting on Facebook.

  43. Kathy says:


    This last term and the coming one, make me think there needs to be a check on the Court.

    I know Congress can pass legislation, and I know the constitution can be amended. But we all know how unlikely that is, even when a majority of the population would support it.

    Of course, we get to a Catch-22 situation: any check on the court would require legislation in Congress, or a constitutional amendment.

  44. Kathy says:


    I’ve seen city mice and rats. Mice seem largely harmless, best left alone to avoid catching rabies should they get scared and bite you. Rats are bigger and seem much more aggressive.

    I’ve never seen lab mice or rats up close, but on video they seem more like city mice than city rats in size and demeanor.

  45. Sleeping Dog says:


    Long ago, a friend kept a couple of lab rats as pets, yes he was odd. One got loose, which had happened before and the rat found its way back to its cage. That day, he hadn’t returned, we were sitting around having a beer when this god awful scream emanated from the apartment below. My friend commented, I guess ____ turned up. We went down to the apartment and sure enough the rat was sitting in the sink closet.

    The landlord did have a serious discussion with my friend and the rats were relocated.

  46. dazedandconfused says:
  47. Kurtz says:

    Thank you all for the well-wishes.

    If it tracks with the people who, a.) birthed me, and b.) decades later are trying to kill me, it will be over in a few days with tomorrow being the worst.

  48. Tony W says:

    @Jen: Never mind my policy differences with the man, Justice Thomas should be impeached and convicted on the grounds that he is no longer capable of rational thought.

  49. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: Jamelle Bouie at NYT has a good column today noting clauses in the Constitution that would allow Congress to exercise a fair amount of control over the Court. But first the Senate would have to eliminate the filibuster, which doesn’t seem likely.

  50. Jen says:

    This is beautifully written, but as always with this type of piece, it’s a tear-jerker.

    He Was Just a Dog

    Don’t let the title fool you, they are never “just dogs.”

  51. Kathy says:


    Not as cool as St. Elon breaking his tibia on landing.

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: @MarkedMan: Same as it ever was.

  53. CSK says:

    No, they’re never “just dogs.”

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Matthew 6: 5-6 should be tattooed on her forehead.

  55. CSK says:

    I had to look that up, but it’s very apropos. Thanks.

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: And you’re right, it’s never an issue the suburbs have direct dealings with, but urban areas aren’t the only ones who have a “problem” with the homeless.

    There are a couple of homeless encampments around here on NF land. Some years back Sullivan put in a water park for the kids to play in and let it run 24/7 during the summer. Some homeless folks discreetly began taking showers in the most modest way they could during the wee hours of the AM.

    The fine citizens of sundowner Sullivan MO couldn’t have people getting clean at 3 AM. Nopenopenope. So now they turn off the water at 8 PM and don’t turn it on again until 8AM.

    It’s Fn ridiculous.

  57. Kathy says:


    Thanks. I’ll try to look it up later. Right now, I hit a paywall.

  58. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I’ve had it on the back of my truck for years. Every time I think about changing it I come back to the fact that it is the perfect scripture for an atheist to espouse. What’s even better is the number of Christians who have to ask what it means.

    I’m a regular Biblical scholar.

  59. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Nathan Monk

    The same folks saying, “don’t have sex and you won’t get pregnant,” believe in a religion based upon the idea that a woman didn’t have sex and got pregnant.

  60. MarkedMan says:



    Oh, they have plenty of direct experience, if only for a short time. Reasons number 1, 2, 3 and 4 for homelessness are alcohol and drugs and combinations thereof, and suburbanites are just as likely as anyone to get addicted. Admittedly, people who have money are more likely to get help sooner than the poor, if they want it, and the suburbs have less poor. But there is still definitely no shortage of people in the suburbs that end up so far gone they spend their nights passed out on a sidewalk with pee running off their legs. Once in that condition though, they are no longer welcome in the suburbs.

  61. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: Never an edit button when you need it. That link above was for a different comment I was thinking of making, about the Republican Senate Primary in Wyoming. Take a look for a most horrifying two minutes. There is Liz Cheney and then there are four shambolic morons, spouting the most ludicrous nonsense imaginable. Sometimes I think that the worst thing that every happened to the US government was picking candidates purely a function of popular vote in a primary, something only a handful of true believers participates in. Can you imagine what Republican Party leaders from the Eisenhower era, even ones from Wyoming, would think if they saw that band of incompetents and nincompoops?

  62. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: That was something, wasn’t it? I’m low-key embarrassed for my state, even though I’m not a Republican.

  63. Kurtz says:


    Same to you, my friend.

  64. dazedandconfused says:


    Yes, but unlike Elon the lab rats are worthy of consideration.

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: You don’t have to be Republican to be embarrassed that your state is run by a bunch of yahoos. In fact not being Republican probably helps.

  66. Mikey says:

    Oh FFS.

    Biden Reportedly Thinks Now Is a Great Time to Appoint an Anti-Abortion Judge

    President Joe Biden and other leading Democrats have been slammed for a shockingly weak response to the fall of Roe v. Wade and the end of nationwide legal abortion.

    And now, Biden has apparently cut a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to nominate an anti-abortion lawyer to a federal judgeship in eastern Kentucky, a state where Republican state legislators are currently fighting in federal court to implement a “trigger” ban on performing abortions except to protect the life and health of the pregnant person passed in 2019. (A Kentucky state court granted a restraining order against the law Thursday.)

    The deal says McConnell won’t block any of Biden’s federal nominations for the rest of the year. Will he honor it? Maybe. If he does, maybe it’s worth replacing a Bush appointed judge with another conservative.

    But holy shit the optics are terrible.

  67. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: Well, you can take credit for Cheney. I I hate her politics, but love her courage.

  68. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: It doesn’t help that the Dems here are dumb. I’m currently in an argument on Facebook with a “purity pony” Dem who runs a private Facebook group, we have exactly two options for our state legislature house seat, both of whom I know personally. People were asking who to vote for, since there’s no Dem option in the running, and my response was “Well, I disagree with this guy on 100% of everything he stands for, plus Trump, and the other guy running for re-election is a decent guy who’s actually always stood up for women’s rights because otherwise his sister would smother him in his sleep.”

    She thinks neither should get a vote from a Dem. (eyeroll)

    We gotta stop the crazy.

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mikey: Does the fact that you can’t trust McConnell’s word on anything farther than you can throw a potato chip count in this question?

  70. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Riiiight?! McConnell’s gonna block EVERY appointment, right after his guy gets confirmed. There’s no actual “dealing” with a guy like McConnell, or trusting his word. Not after Garland.

  71. Mikey says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: @Jax: I know, right? WTF is Biden thinking?

    I think he should do what LBJ did and refuse his party’s nomination. He is too old and too set in past times when there still existed more than two Republicans whose word could be trusted.

  72. Jax says:

    @Mikey: If he can’t even convince SineManchin to vote party lines on….anything, he has no business making deals with Moscow Mitch.

  73. Kathy says:

    So, when you hear $5,000 drink, do you think something like “wasteful consumption,” or more along the lines of “I’m beginning to understand the passion for the guillotine during the French Revolution”?

  74. Mikey says:

    @Kathy: That drink contains Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Family Reserve bourbon which I have had and it is absolutely an orgasm in a glass but $5K?! I can’t even.