Welcome to November 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. Jen says:

    I missed this article yesterday because I had a stack of deadlines to meet.

    U.S. workers have gotten way less productive. No one is sure why.

    My guess is that it’s a combination of factors: some are mired in grief, some are juggling way more than they used to (lack of childcare persists), some are exhausted from going flat-out for two-plus years, some realize that the tight labor market means their employers won’t fire them, some had their priorities realigned because of the pandemic. Some have long-covid.

    Whatever the reason, making work even more unpleasant by tracking workers’ every move isn’t going to solve the problem, it’s GOING TO MAKE IT WORSE.

    How are employers being this stupid?

  2. de stijl says:

    Man, I am such a weirdo. For breakfast this morning I had a sloppy joe and some BBQ potato chips. Hit the spot, actually.

    A lot of times nowadays I do up traditional breakfast fare for dinner instead of in the morning like a normal person.

  3. de stijl says:

    Google Ad Services now thinks I live in North Dakota and is serving me political ads for NDak races. I haven’t been to North Dakota in nearly 20 years. I’ve never lived there, ever.

  4. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    A blast from the past in keeping with Jen’s theme above. Money quote:

    Whatever else happens, we are stuck with babies and small children, and parents have to go to work, so the obvious question is how can wealthy people make even more money out of this situation.-

    In answer to your question, Jen, a common theme I’ve encountered during my time as a working stiff is that people who own capital, and as a consequence run businesses seem obsessed with the idea that the people that they employ are always slacking off and will simply take their money without doing the work given the chance. The goal becomes finding bigger and better ways to make sure they aren’t slacking off.

  5. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    For the secularists in our audience, I offer yet another chance to beat up on Jerry Falwell, Jr. Something even I will agree probably can’t happen often enough.


  6. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: I still get notices calling me to jury duty in Baltimore City, even though I haven’t lived there in over 20 years, I haven’t lived anywhere in Maryland in over a decade, and I actually served on jury duty while a resident of Baltimore County (which, for those who don’t know, is outside Baltimore City).

  7. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Not a single kid dosed with fentanyl-laced candy.
    I guess that means all the fear-mongering by the MAGAt’s must have worked?

  8. Kathy says:


    Perhaps, too, after decades of wage stagnation, US workers have caught on to some Soviet conventional wisdom: as long as the bosses pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen: Kevin Drum responded to this WAPO article yesterday. At the risk of repeating myself, Kevin has a chart. Productivity shot up as the pandemic “ended” and is now returning to it’s trend line. Productivity doesn’t measure anything directly. It’s GDP divided by hours worked. Which is to say it’s basically Aggregate Demand divided by hours worked. Demand is volatile. If more people queue up at Starbucks, as they did post pandemic, but they can’t hire more baristas, barista productivity goes up. Then, when they manage to hire a couple people it comes down.

    And I don’t recall any “Productivity is Rising” headlines at WAPO when that happened.

  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yes, the beatings will continue till morale improves.

    In truth a lot of productivity is the result of treating people like disposable machines and that was never sustainable. Add in new generations of workers that define a ‘quality’ life, less by the number of toys and more by what can be experienced and you set the stage for changing how people relate to their work.

  11. Scott says:

    @de stijl: I don’t have cable anymore, just stream whatever I can get through the Fire stick. Was watching Haystack News, basically a news video clip service, and I started to get ads for/against Prop 26 in California instead of the incessant Texas governor’s race ads I was receiveing. Don’t know how this works but it actually was a relief.

  12. CSK says:

    The Supreme Court has temporarily blocked the House Ways and Means Committee from getting hold of Donald Trump’s tax returns.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    Interesting article about Musk taking over as CEO of Twitter over at The Guardian.

    How many companies is Elon Musk now supposedly the CEO of? It would seem to me that he’s spread himself so thin that all companies are under a high risk of collapsing as soon as any crisis arises. At which point I suspect Musk has put himself into a situation where a lot of indignant stockholders will bring suit against him. Even if they can’t win, there will be a lot of potential evidence lying around to use.

  14. grumpy realist says:

    This article about the present educational crisis in Orban’s Hungary makes me wonder: how is Rod Dreher finding his new life in Hungary?

  15. Scott says:

    @grumpy realist: I was listening to a podcast that was talking about the financial structure of Musk’s Twitter. About how much senior secured debt was used to buy the company and that Twitter doesn’t currently generate enough cash flow to pay the interest on the debt. Went on to say that the banks holding the notes can’t peddle them off without taking big losses. Further speculated that the bank regulators also would not let the banks keep those notes on the books at par value but at market value.

    So the question will be: How long will Musk maintain control of the company before vulture capitalists swoop in, buy the company at greatly discounted prices and boot Musk out?

  16. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Is Dreher still affiliated with The American Conservative?

  17. just nutha says:

    @Sleeping Dog: One of the great changes of the post-war era was the creation of a society in which most everyone had access to “toys.” One of the great tragedies of how our generation handled that creation of toys was to speculate the fuck out of the most important toy–the family home–and how we relentlessly made sure that for large portions of society working doesn’t pay enough.

  18. Neil Hudelson says:


    For a decade I’ve read articles, like the one below, discussing how worker productivity has shot through the roof while pay has been stagnant for decades. After the pandemic my wife, as an example, had a pretty hard conversation with her employer that went something like this “Fuck you, pay me a lot more or I’m out.”

    I suspect if their answer had been “we aren’t paying you a dime more” her productivity output would’ve declined precipitously.


  19. CSK says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Your wife was in a good position if she got her raise. A lot of people would get “don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”

  20. just nutha says:

    @grumpy realist: While the conditions sound pretty desperate, I’m having trouble understanding why Dreher would find Hungary inhospitable because of school problems. HIS kids are going to school in America still (I assume) and he most assuredly doesn’t have to struggle making ends meet like Hungarians do. If gays start throwing their lifestyle in his face, that might change things some, but I suspect he’s quite content for the moment.

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: Yeah. Dreher has two articles there today and four yesterday, including a “We’re not the fascists, you’re the fascists.” piece. That boy sure does write a lot. Quality suffers. But I suppose output volume is easier when it’s so repetitive.

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @just nutha: On checking if he’s moved to Hungary, I find WIKI says he’s “exiled” there while his TAC bio still says Baton Rouge. I suspect he’s getting some conservative foundation money for living there and supporting Orban. I’d love to know just how his relations with TAC management, who seem to be trying to salvage the place, stand.

  23. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Hey, who knows?

    Maybe St. Elon, gods forbid, gets a stroke or heart attack and is incapacitated for months, and all his companies suddenly start performing better under temporary substitute management.

    On other things, suddenly at work it’s not ok to name a file POINTLESS WASTE OF TIME, even though the work was completely pointless and wasted some time.

  24. CSK says:


    Thanks. I see it’s now called “Rod Dreher’s Blog.”

  25. CSK says:

    More on the idiotic conspiracy theories surrounding the attack on Paul Pelosi. The chief of police sounds pretty fed up with them.


  26. Beth says:

    First we dance:


    I got my first approval for my bottom surgery! On December 8 I’m going to undergo:

    Vaginoplasty- Clitoroplasty, Removal of Penis, Bilateral Scrotal Orchiectomy, Creation of Vagina with Graft*, Labiaplasty

    I cannot begin to tell you all how absolutely excited I am! Since about March I’ve undergone about 25 hours of electrolysis to remove the hair from my penis, scrotum, surrounding area and leg* to get ready. The Urologist checked me out today and declared me almost defoliated. I’ve got one more 5 hour session and then it’s glide path to Vagina City.

    Right now we’re expecting a full day surgery, 5-7 days in the hospital recovering, and then a month of home rest. I’m so happy and excited. Now I just have to wait for the bastards at the insurance co to approve it and pray I don’t get covid.

    *the graft is because I’ve experienced significant erosion in my penis from estrogen. There isn’t enough tissue to create my vagina so they are going to have to harvest it from my leg and side. Lucky lucky me.

  27. dazedandconfused says:


    By repeating those theories CNN et al are unwitting accomplices. Click-hit addiction is a terrible thing….

  28. CSK says:


    Trump’s promoting them. So is Don Junior.

  29. Neil Hudelson says:


    Congratulations! My coworker went through bottom surgery last year. I have no idea how hard her recovery was, as she was too happy to ever express a single negative. I’m sure it wasn’t a cakewalk, but she clearly made the right decision. I wish you the same happiness she found.

    it’s glide path to Vagina City

    That’s what I called the two year period in college where my looks briefly matched my hubris.

  30. CSK says:


    Well, we’re all here rooting for you. It’ll be fine, and so will you.

  31. dazedandconfused says:


    There is no such thing as bad press in show business. They do it because they know this. Want to ruin them? Ignore their inanities.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    Supreme Court denies Lindsey Graham appeal to block subpoena in election subversion case
    The court, with no noted dissent, agreed that Graham can be required to provide testimony to a grand jury about matters that aren’t related to his official congressional work. Anything on his legislative business would be off limits, the high court’s order said.

  33. Kathy says:



    I hope you’re using some form of anesthetic for the electrolysis. I resorted to a topical one for facial electrolysis, a thing called EMLA*. It did help, but my inner cynic tends to translate “topical anesthetic” as “two lies for the price of one.”

    *I forget the proper name of the active ingredient, but it’s a form of cocaine.

  34. CSK says:


    Yes, but you know and I know that this crap will continue to be promoted on all the semi-literate crazed websites where the MAGAs congregate.

  35. Stormy Dragon says:


    Congrats on becoming the real you =)

  36. Beth says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Thanks. Yeah, the narrative that the RWNJs and Terfs keep pushing is that we are all miserable after this. I have yet to meet someone who is unhappy they did it. There are always minor things to grumble about, but on whole, everyone has been ecstatic. Unless they go to the Butcher of Pennsylvania.


    Thanks. This will be great.


    Oh yeah. It’s added a grand to each session, but has been totally worth it. I’ve had about 100 hours of electrolysis on my face and neck and most of that I did without any anesthetic. For the first 75 hours or so I would fall asleep on the table. Now I can’t even handle 10 minutes of it with a topical that barely works before I start freaking out.

    Speaking of Cocaine, I was kinda shocked to find out they use that during rhinoplasty to control bleeding. They spray a bunch of cocaine up there to shut the blood vessels down and then go to town.

    @Stormy Dragon:


  37. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: Augh! That sounds delightful.

    I have no understanding of what would motivate a person to do all of that, and I am thankful to never need to go through it. And clearly it’s a need, because no one would do it for funsies.

    I hope it all turns out good, and that recovery is swift, uncomplicated and comfortable. And that your insurance pays for everything.

    I’m excited for you to get as much of this medical crap behind you as possible.

    (And here’s where I think “transphobia” is just a bad word for bigotry — the description literally scares me, but my reaction isn’t particularly malevolent. The recent Florida ruling to forcibly detransition anyone under the age of 18 and ban puberty blockers is particularly malevolent… I’m just skittish)

  38. just nutha says:

    @Mister Bluster: The dodge will now be “everything I do is related to my role as a Congressperson.” Certainly everything he did on Jan. 6 and days surrounding it can be claimed to be related to serving as a Senator.

  39. Kathy says:


    My first session with the topical was going very well, until I incautiously said “I hardly feel anything.”

    That was the cue for the operator (a very nice lady) to say “Oh, let’s crank it up, then. We’ll finish faster this way.” She was right, though it still took many months.

    What’s really odd is to feel both numb and pain at the same time.

  40. Beth says:


    I have no understanding of what would motivate a person to do all of that, and I am thankful to never need to go through it. And clearly it’s a need, because no one would do it for funsies.

    I wish I could adequately express how much of a need this is. To look at your own body and see and viscerally feel its wrongness. Not in a way like, “oh, I wish I could lose a few pounds…”, but more like I would rather not exist like this any longer.

    I think it’s ok for Cis people to look at these surgeries and be a little skittish. It’s a lot. I’m not skittish about it at all. It’s like if you needed a pacemaker to live. Of course you’d do it.

    I’m also looking forward to not having to think about it. The relief of having that offensive little appendage repurposed is going to be amazing. Thankfully we have fancy expensive rich people insurance out of CA. They haven’t had a problem with the “Year of Surgery” yet.

    As for Florida, that’s the start of a genocide. They think that if they can forcibly detransition kids and adults, that we’ll either suffer in silence or just kill ourselves. The experience of adult transitioners shows that doesn’t work. We just spent our lives torturing ourselves.

  41. grumpy realist says:

    @Beth: Hope that surgery goes smooth as silk without any complications, ditto for recovery from surgery. And welcome to the new contours of your body!

    (It’s reading things like what you have to go through that makes me wish we had true nanotechnology, so you could just pop a pill, go to sleep, and wake up having changed over, down to the chromosomal level.)

  42. Beth says:


    What’s really odd is to feel both numb and pain at the same time.

    Oh yeah. That’s wild and making me shudder thinking about it. Or when you don’t feel it, but you hear it. Bleh.

  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    Stephen King just told Elon Musk to fuck himself and his $20, pointing out what I alluded to the other day: Elon should be paying the Blue Ticks, we’re the draw.

  44. becca says:

    @Beth: you go, girl!

  45. dazedandconfused says:


    Making them gadflies is actually the desired result. Key to agitprop and propaganda is getting it distributed from multiple sources.

  46. daryl and his brother darryl says:


    “don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”

    True. And those same folks are now whining because they cannot find employees.
    I keep hearing people say no one wants to work…which is fuqing ridiculous when we have record low unemployment…EVERYONE is working.

  47. CSK says:

    @Kathy: @Beth:
    I had my first experience with Versed this past September when I had an angioplasty. I was fully conscious, but felt nothing. And the time in the OP.R. seemed to go faster.

  48. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    This reminds me of my first college teaching job. The dean of faculty, a real charmer (not), was given to responding “I can replace you in a half hour” when anyone complained to him about a low salary.

    The pity of it was, at the time he probably could, especially in the humanities.

  49. CSK says:

    I’m not sure I follow.

  50. Joe says:

    @CSK: I see all over my media feed that the San Fran police et al. have “debunked the conspiracy theories” about the Pelosi brak in and I wonder if these media sources live in the world I do. There is no “debunking” conspiracy theories since the theorists by definition assume that the sources of the debunking are in on the conspiracy from the start. These media act like “now that the cops have put the rest of our information out there we are done and done.” No such luck in my world.

  51. grumpy realist says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: Yes, the people beating their breasts about how they are so capitalistic are shocked, purely SHOCKED to find that supply-and-demand curves apply to labor as well…

    (Note to everyone trying to hire skilled labor: your offer has to be better than purely competitive with other similar businesses in the same location; you also have to have a good enough offer to be competitive to similar businesses in the location that the candidate is moving from. Offering me $47k to move to Las Vegas for a bilingual IP job is piddlely-squat given that a similar job here in Chicago would be paying me $120K-$160K. I wonder if they ever managed to hire anyone?)

  52. CSK says:


    The SF police chief made a good effort, and so did the D.A., but, like you, I fear the MAGAs will never be dissuaded, especially with Trump and Trump junior encouraging their fantasies.

    Trump provided them with a fallback rationale early on: Everything they don’t like hearing is “fake news.”

  53. dazedandconfused says:


    People will begin to believe most anything if they hear it from a lot of sources.

  54. CSK says:


    Quite true.

  55. Gustopher says:


    I wish I could adequately express how much of a need this is. To look at your own body and see and viscerally feel its wrongness. Not in a way like, “oh, I wish I could lose a few pounds…”, but more like I would rather not exist like this any longer.

    I have a friend whose kid went from being a depressed and medium self-destructive boy to a pretty well-adjusted girl. A girl who does a lot of “boy” things, like programming a raspberry pi to control her bedroom lights, soldering electronics, etc…*

    I don’t have to understand to acknowledge reality.

    As for Florida, that’s the start of a genocide. They think that if they can forcibly detransition kids and adults, that we’ll either suffer in silence or just kill ourselves. The experience of adult transitioners shows that doesn’t work. We just spent our lives torturing ourselves.

    It’s state mandated child abuse. It’s going to kill kids, and make the medical issues of many more far more complicated.

    It’s evil.

    And the banning of puberty blockers is especially gratuitously evil.

    *: yes, yes, those aren’t boy things. In a world where boys can like “My Little Pony” and girls can be soldering electronics, and everyone can love whoever they want (so long as they live in a city), and no one has to watch sports on tv, the whole “I’m the wrong gender” thing seems … well, what does gender do for you anyway? Clearly my white, cis-male, mistaken-for-straight, not-at-all gender-misaligned privilege means I am missing something big.)

  56. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: I know Nancy Pelosi has more pressing personal concerns, but I would really like a simple statement that is a screenshot of Trump He’s vile post about his Paul Pelosi costume, and then just “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

    Arguing facts with people who have no interest in facts just muddies things and creates a “both sides” situation.

    But only a few people have the standing to effectively say “what the fuck is wrong with you?”

  57. dazedandconfused says:


    I think it’s high time Trump was given his due. The man could go down in history as the GOAT con-man. He was elected President of the strongest nation the earth has ever seen despite being a clown. At some point people have to cease underestimating him. He says outrageous things to get attention. Somehow we have allowed politics to be show-business. The entertaining ones get all the press.

    This is not a new phenomena. The craziest politicians get the lion’s share of the press so they have been the greatest fundraisers for some time now. Michele Bachmann, Greene…they are champs at raking in the cash. Trump not only rakes in tremendous amounts, he hogs the spotlight as a campaign strategy. It’s not 3-D chess, it’s something else.

    From Catch-22:

    “It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.”

  58. Stormy Dragon says:


    Suppose you woke up tomorrow morning and discovered you now had a woman’s body. Would you just shrug and go with it because you can still do all the “boy” things you liked before, or would you be trying to figure out how to get back to your male body?

  59. CSK says:


    Don Junior is desperately trying to impress his Daddy, which he’ll never do. You and I have no clout to stand up against them.

  60. Beth says:


    “I’m the wrong gender” thing seems … well, what does gender do for you anyway? Clearly my white, cis-male, mistaken-for-straight, not-at-all gender-misaligned privilege means I am missing something big.

    Honestly, I don’t get it either. I know my life improved greatly when I came out, got markedly better when I started HRT and became amazing when I stopped wearing pants*. I know it’s not just the “properly gendered” things that make my life better. Like, I probably could have tried to be a femme-ier guy, but that wouldn’t have worked.

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Amusingly, this is basically an in community joke. Most Cis people really only give this question passing thought and then move on if they even think about it at all. Trans people tend to have this thought all the time. To the point of intrusiveness.

    Part of me would love to watch hardcore “manly” men take estrogen for a week. A guy like DeSantis wouldn’t last a week before he jumped off a bridge. Me, I felt normal for the first time in my life.

    *my partner makes fun of me for giving up pants but wearing tights basically everyday.

  61. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: I think Nancy Pelosi making a statement of “What the fuck is wrong with you?” might change the narrative from “Democrats say it was an assassination attempt, while Republicans say it was a gay tryst gone awry — surely the answer is in the middle, oh the tenor of politics is so tense these days” to “what the fuck is wrong with Don Jr and people like him?”

    I might have too much faith, but I think that when you point out someone’s shittiness but don’t engage them on the details, it works better.

    While Don Jr may genuinely have no character (thanks, @dazedandconfused, I keep forgetting that quote exists), other people use acceptance of him as an excuse to set their character on a shelf for a moment.

  62. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Honestly, I suspect that a surprising number of people would feel weird for a bit, and then just live with it to some extent or another, varying by person ranging from leaning into it, to cutting hair and socially presenting closer to what they were used to, to hormones, to surgery.

    How much of my identity is based around my gender? I don’t do manly lumberjack sports or anything, I’m queer in a bi/pan “parts is parts” sort of way (and a “I don’t really need to figure out the right labels for myself, it’s probably one of them” sort of way)… who knows in the end?

    The terror of the body suddenly changing in a medically unprecedented way would likely be the biggest problem. Followed by not matching id, being unable to get a job due to id checks, and eventually becoming homeless and falling through the cracks of a society that is trying to figure out who this woman who is trying to claim my identity is.

    Probably couldn’t even go to my doctor.

    It wouldn’t be giant cockroach bad, but there would still be lots of very practical considerations.

    Also, would I be a 6’6” woman, or would I be 95th percentile in women’s height? Because one is going to be a lot easier to live with than the other if you like to at least pretend that you blend in.

  63. grumpy realist says:

    This “waking up as the other sex” discussion has reminded me of a very good science fiction (steampunk) story– I think it was called “The Constantine Affliction” (am too lazy to Google-fu.) It’s a fun steampunk romp, but one part of it deals with the effects on society of an illness which causes people to switch sexes. Especially for a rather prudish Victorian-like society. I wish that the writer had developed his ideas even further–it was an interesting gedanken-experiment that I think he could have done even more with.

    Lois McMaster Bujold has also played with the idea a bit–“A Civil Campaign” has one of the characters switch sex (courtesy of Beta Colony technology) in order to inherit from her brother and keep the estate from falling into the hands of a rather nasty character. And the Penric and Desdemona series investigate what happens when a demon who has been imprinted with females only during her 200 years of existence ends up in the body of a young man.

    Other SF authors have also used the idea, usually as part of world building. I’m reminded of short stories by John Varley and I think Spider Robinson?

  64. MarkedMan says:

    @Beth: Best of luck for successful surgeries and a speedy recovery.

  65. Stormy Dragon says:


    Honestly, I suspect that a surprising number of people would feel weird for a bit, and then just live with it to some extent or another, varying by person ranging from leaning into it

    Seriously, if anyone’s reaction to that hypothetical was “it would be weird for a bit, but then I think I’d lean into it”, do yourself a favor and go unpack that with a supportive therapist.