Welcome to October 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. Bill Jempty says:
  2. Bill Jempty says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: Some people are just wound a little too tight.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Arkansas moves to install ‘monument to unborn children’ on state grounds

    I wonder how long it will be before somebody covers it in a blanket of coat hangers to commemorate all the women who died because they weren’t able to access a safe legal abortion?

  5. Mister Bluster says:

    There is a display of crosses in the Newman Center lawn in town. Apparently Catholics believe that only Christian women have had abortions.

  6. Gavin says:

    One presumes they’re going to build this statue with the money saved by not providing any sort of pre-or-post birth health care for either the mom or the baby they assert they Care about. It’s easy to care about something that doesn’t require anything and allows you to tell yourself how sparkly of a person you are. Once that pesky humanoid actually demands things like a living wage, health care, or nutrition… as if by magic, Republicans no longer care about the life.

  7. Tony W says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m sure they will unironically install a brand new monument decrying performative politics adjacent to it.

  8. de stijl says:

    I love October. I think it’s the best month. The best temperature, the best humidity. The tree leaves at their prettiest. It’s contemplative, more than a bit melancholy. The year is dying. The world is no longer green and alive. Everything is in the process of shutting down, going into hibernation.

    Cool and crisp is my jam.

    This year we are getting an extreme heat wave. Yesterday broke the all-time record for temp. It was 92F.

    In late July I would take that. Expected. In October it is really weird. Hottest day ever on this day in my neck of the woods.

    Today will be the hottest Oct 1 ever recorded here. Same deal the next few days. It is predicted to be as hot tomorrow and the day after. All will be the hottest ever recorded. That is not normal. At least it is low humidity heat, but it is very passing strange.

    It’s almost like we are causing it somehow.

  9. Roger says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    But we learned from Justice Scalia that the cross is a universal symbol, not just a symbol used by and for Christians. https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2009/10/scalias_stance_that_cross_hono.html

    The mind reels at people’s ability to believe their perspective is the universal perspective.

  10. Scott says:

    A little something to be happy and positive about. Even if for just one day.

    Jimmy Carter celebrating 99th birthday with family

    Jimmy Carter has always been a man of discipline and habit. But the former president will break routine Sunday, putting off his practice of quietly watching church services online to instead celebrate his 99th birthday with his wife, Rosalynn, and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Plains.

  11. EddieInCA says:


    Thank you. Well explained. Very informative. For the record, I’ve never been on a working farm. I never ridden in, or driven, a tractor. Never been fishing. I’ve never held a fishing rod with a rod with string attached. I’ve never hunted. Wouldn’t anyway since I’m vegetarian, but I digress. Never drove a Polaris on my property. You get the drift. I’m a city boy, through and through. Drop me off in NY or Madrid or London and I know what to do instinctively. Drop me off in Challis, ID, or Cedartown, GA, I’m freaking lost.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Roger: I’ll be sure to tell that to all the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc stones in any of the national cemeteries I visit.

  13. gVOR10 says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Apparently Catholics believe that only Christian women have had abortions.

    The crosses are for the kids. This whole thing is about believing God implants the soul, aka life begins, at conception. Sounds a bit voyeuristic to me, but whatever. They know better than to say so because church/state. But every now and again lower level people slip and say it out loud. And surely, whatever the beliefs of the mother, God wouldn’t plant a non-Christian soul.

  14. de stijl says:

    From yesterday’s talk about dairy farming.

    I was there late May to late August. My day job was care and feeding and maintenance of the calves and heifers. The heifers were pretty cool. Fairly low maintenance. Give ’em food, clean out their pen. Push all the poop and pee into the manure trough. Throw down some new straw for bedding. Twice a day. After dawn and again around 6 PM. I would call them by their names and they wound give me nuzzles and licks. The were lil cutie pies and basically adorable.

    The calves, on the other hand, were little bastards and monsters. They were super cute when mucking out the pen, but if I showed up with a bottle they would freak the fuck out and go totally mental.

    You feed calves with a bottle full of basically simulac, powder dissolved in warm water. You can only do one at a time and all the rest go bonkers and head butt you hard continually wanting a hit off the fake rubber teat. Feeding time was a painful frenzied melee.

    I had to remember which ones had been fed and which had not. They were little greedy assholes.

    The screw on top was a rubber teat and mimicked an udder. Little fuckers would go crazy when I showed up with a bottle.

    Between feeding times the calves were cool and chill and pretty adorable. I liked them. During feeding time they were straight-up assholes and extremely impolite. Head butted me hard to get closer to the fake nipple. I ended up bruised on my entire torso. Little head butting bastards!

  15. DrDaveT says:

    So, how many people will be observing the annual ritual of reading one chapter of A Night in the Lonesome October each day this month?

  16. gVOR10 says:

    The week that was. Tuesday a judge ruled Trump guilty of fraud and is putting his NY businesses into receivership. Wednesday evening the Republicans held a clown act debate to determine who’s the biggest loser. In order to distract attention Trump went to Detroit Wednesday and the MSM reluctantly admitted he wasn’t speaking to stiking union workers. On Thursday they held a dumpster fire impeachment hearing in which their star witnesses said there were no grounds for impeachment. And all week they were shutting down the government for no apparent reason, only to be rescued from their folly yesterday by Democrats.

    What did I miss? Why does anybody vote for these Bozos?

  17. EddieInCA says:


    I have four senior dogs, which are like my kids, ages 9, 10, 13 and 14. All rescues.

    The youngest one has gone from a totally normal black lab to a completely blind black lab in less than 30 days. 30 days ago, he was playing at the park with other dogs, swimming in the pool. In the last 30 days, he developed cataracts at a speed that I didn’t know was possible, and last night he walked into the pool. Normally, he would jump into the pool and swim to the steps and walk out no problem. But he can’t see now. So he swam to the wall turned left and swam into another wall. Fortunately, I was home and saw it happen, and got him out, but he was terrified and unable to move from his spot for more than 30 mins when I got him out of the pool. He would have drowned, and I’d have been a wreck for weeks. But he’s okay.

    For the last 9 hours, I’ve been making my house safer for him. Put padding around all table legs, moved anything unnecessary off of the floors. Created paths with runners and rugs to create different textures in different parts of the house so he can “map” the house through the feel in his feet. Spoke to the vet this morning, and vet says that dogs adjust to being blind pretty easily, but it takes about six weeks. On his advice, we started training him to go out the house a different way and will spend the next six weeks retraining him, with the words, “Step”, “Left”, “Right”, “Up”, “Down”and “Come” being his only commands.

    I need help in that I’ve never had a blind dog. He’s not suffering in any way. He’s a bit depressed, you can tell, but he’s still full of kisses and his tail wags strongly when he hears my voice.

    Who has had a blind dog, and how did you manage him/her? This pet has been my emotional support for the better part of 8 years. He’s traveled with me on jobs, and often was the one thing that kept me sane during trying times in odd parts of the country while work sucked. I want to make sure he’s having his best life, even blind.

    Who has any info/help for me? Thank you in advance.

  18. CSK says:

    Trump will attend the first 2 days of his fraud trial in NY tomorrow and Tuesday.

  19. CSK says:
  20. Mister Bluster says:

    @Roger:..Justice Scalia

    Thank you for the reply. I try to keep up with the United States Supreme Court. If I knew about this case I have long forgotten it.
    Gotta’ wonder which Christian Cross The Justice was thinking of.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Huh???

  22. EddieinCA says:


    Thank you.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: He pretty clearly wasn’t thinking of a Christian cross at all, given that his claim is that the symbol is universal (or close enough). But, yeah.

  24. Mister Bluster says:

    @gVOR10:.. life begins, at conception…

    My take is that human life begins before conception. The eggs produced by a human female are human and alive before any sperm gets near them and the human sperm produced by a human male is alive and human before it leaves the body.
    As far as I can tell a soul is something the church invented so the peasants could be controlled:
    “Obey me or your soul will burn in Hell!”

  25. Scott O says:

    @EddieInCA: Did you ask your vet about lens replacements for cataracts? I had that done earlier this year. A quick Google search says it’s available for dogs. Would be expensive.

  26. gVOR10 says:

    @Mister Bluster: That’s pretty much my take. The whole “when does life begin” thing is a classic semantic argument. Without the participants seeming to realize it, they’re really arguing about what “life” means.

  27. Michael Reynolds says:

    This is interesting. There’s evidence that Ukrainian special forces are operating in Sudan against Wagner.

    When the time comes we should not allow Ukraine into NATO, we should beg them to join. These people know how to war.

  28. DrDaveT says:

    @EddieInCA: My wife was able to offer the following:

    I had a blind mini poodle for several years. He went blind gradually (cataracts), so we had an easier adjustment. We both learned a few things. For one, you generally don’t need to move household furnishings out of his way; he’ll quickly learn where everything is. But thereafter you do need to keep everything in its usual place, including outdoors. One of the most useful commands he learned early was “sit”. I used that any time he was in (or headed toward) danger. My dog got more nervous about being left alone; I found that wearing an old shirt for a day or two and then putting it in his bed was comforting. He also had a travel carrier that he could use as a safe retreat in new or temporary housing. For a lab, you might need to fit out an appliance box or similar to be his private space in the house.

    Before going blind, he loved to chase a tennis ball; he would do that for as long as I was willing to keep throwing it. After going blind, we adjusted – instead of throwing the ball in the air, I would bounce it hard on the ground 10-12 feet in front of him. He tracked the sound of repeated bounces and the final roll. If he didn’t get to it before it stopped making noise, he also learned to cast back-and-forth to find the roll track by scent, and follow it to find the ball. (We used a tennis ball, which is both bouncy and has a strong scent. You might want something larger for a lab.) Tug-of-war with an old sock or similar became another favorite.

    Since yours is a water retriever, and apparently liked the pool, after you are both more comfortable with his blindness you might consider re-introducing him to the pool — put a windchime or other small noise-maker beside the steps and teach him to only go in at the steps; swim with him until he relearns the size and shape of the pool and can locate the steps himself (I would also make sure he can’t reach the pool without some human knowing he’s there).

    I lived with my blind friend for more than five years, and he seemed to be happy. I always kept him on a leash in strange places, but on his own turf it wasn’t necessary.

  29. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:


    Roger Zelazny, the legendary ’70s SF writer, published one last short novel in 1993. It is told in the form of journal entries for the month of October, one per day, from an unexpected point-of-view character. The book quickly became a cult classic among SF fans, and a ritual arose in which fans would read each day’s entry on that day, taking a month to finish the novel.

    Some entries are only a paragraph; easy day. The longest is a rambling pastiche of Lovecraft that runs perhaps 20 pages. The book is full of literary and pop culture allusions and Easter Eggs, which is part of the fun.

  30. becca says:

    Like Scott, we took one dog to an eye specialist and had great results. It wasn’t cheap, but not outrageous. Two visits and done. We also had Ben, my beloved yellow lab, who lost most of his sight in his very old age. Too old to do anything about it, but he got on fine. Lord, I loved that dog.

  31. EddieInCA says:


    Thank you. Sincerely.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: @gVOR10:

    Shit. I’ve been committing mass murders all my life. Please don’t tell the ICC, they will put me up for genocide.

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    @gVOR10:..when does life begin
    A long time ago:

    Although it’s hard for me to see a more profound cosmic connection than the astonishing findings of modern nuclear astrophysics: except for hydrogen, all the atoms that make each of us up – the iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones, the carbon in our brains – were manufactured in red giant stars thousands of light years away in space and billions of years ago in time. We are, as I like to say, starstuff.

    The Demon Haunted World
    Science as a candle in the dark

    Carl Sagan 1996

  34. anjin-san says:


    I have friends who have a blind dog, I will see if they have any resources I can send you.

  35. Gustopher says:


    he’s still full of kisses and his tail wags strongly when he hears my voice.

    I have no advice other than this: tell him he’s a good boy.

  36. EddieInCA says:

    @Scott O:

    Had no idea that was even possible. Found out there is a vet near me that specializes ONLY in dog eyes and he does that. And other dog eye surgeries.. So I am making an appt to see him asap. Hell I’d pay a lot to have him able to see even a bit rather than being completely blind.

    Thank you.

  37. EddieinCA says:


    Thank you.


    Constantly. Cuz it’s the truth. He’s an amazing companion.

  38. anjin-san says:


    From my friends with the blind dog:

    Teach him a couple of key words, like careful and stop. Dogs rely mostly on their sense of smell and next hearing and last sight. But he can live a very normal happy, and active life with a few learned words and commands. Careful is the most important one. Some people get confused about the difference between careful and stop. The main thing is to keep him safe.

    Labs are really quick learners, and he probably is an active dog, so it is important he stays that way, or he will just be miserable. Also, when taking a walk, teach him step up and step down at curbs. Use treats for positive reinforcement. Labs love their treats and respond well to them

    We all went for a walk on the beach in Mendocino recently, and the dog had a grand time. This particular dog was blind at birth, so that is all he has ever known. He did require close supervision, but I was impressed at how well he did.

  39. anjin-san says:


    My dad loved toy poodles & they tended to have serious eye problems. In their case, eye surgery was expensive but helped a lot. This was some time ago, I can’t remember now how old the dogs were when they started having vision issues.

  40. anjin-san says:
  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Thanks. I also looked it up. But not a Sci-fi fan (particularly if Lovecraft is Sci-fi in the definition) and don’t have enough concentration to do most rituals. Me doing something every day for thirty-one days is not likely.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @EddieinCA: Glad you are getting some help here cause I got nothin except lots of belly scritchins and walks. I too am a big fan of labs, converted my wife with Woof, such that within weeks of Woof’s passing, she was searching the internet for another rescue. Now we have BillieJean who is just a complete lover girl.

  43. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    But not a Sci-fi fan (particularly if Lovecraft is Sci-fi in the definition)

    Yeah, I said “SF” to mean “speculative fiction” because I don’t really have much interest in the arguments over what’s science fiction and what’s fantasy*. This one is comic dark fantasy, if that’s a thing. Not to everyone’s taste.

    *Personally, I think they are orthogonal categories. Star Wars is both, as are the works of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (which I love). And there are some lovely works out there that subvert expectations by wrapping science fiction in fantasy tropes, or vice versa.

  44. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I keep telling people, if you think Mossad were bad-ass, the SBU/HUR are going to make them look like pikers.
    See the people involved in arms trade to Russia who turn up dead in Turkey, or Iran.
    Or “criminal activity” re oligarch assets in Europe.
    And I have a suspicion about the recent unfortunate “accidents” of Wagner and air transport in Mali.
    Russia is used to being the only one who “plays dirty”; they are now facing an opponent willing to wade into wetwork up to the elbows.

  45. Scott O says:

    @becca: I meant I had it done on me, not a dog. Quick, painless, amazingly fantastic results.
    @EddieInCA: You’re quite welcome. Good luck.

  46. JohnSF says:

    We had a much beloved yellow lab who went blind.
    According to the vet, labs are rather liable to cataracts.
    He was able to adjust, after a while, but developed terminal cancer not long after.
    RIP Jason, the eater of tree branches.

  47. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Hence the Monty Python reductio ad absurdam:
    “Every sperm is sacred”

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    @JohnSF:..Monty Python…

    Looks like the scores of kids in that production will be going straight to Hell! I sure hope that they had fun making it.

  49. CSK says:

    Red Sox fans: Tim Wakefeld, 57, has died. RIP.

  50. Jax says:

    @CSK: How are you feeling? Are you back home yet?

  51. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: We had a moment of silence for him at Camden Yards this afternoon as Boston was playing our Orioles. Both teams lined up on the field and the audience all silent. Very nice.

  52. Chip Daniels says:

    My sister had a blind dog, and they do adapt remarkaly well.
    They get to know how each room of the house has a different smell, sounds echo off the wall differently and so on.
    Because we humans don’t have their hearing or scent sense we forget they “see” the world in many more ways than we do.

  53. DrDaveT says:


    Red Sox fans: Tim Wakefeld, 57, has died. RIP.

    Ouch. I was living in Pittsburgh, and a huge baseball fan, when Wakefield first splashed into the big leagues as a Pirate. A failed minor league first baseman, he had taught himself to throw a knuckleball for fun, and it turned out to be devastating. One of the slowest pitches in baseball history, Wakefield’s knuckler danced every which way on the way to the plate, but was generally close enough that just waiting for a walk wasn’t an option. He helped the Pirates to a couple of playoff runs before moving to the Red Sox as a free agent. He pitched well into his 40s.

    Dead at 57, of brain cancer. Ouch ouch ouch.

  54. Gustopher says:

    @JohnSF: there’s also an orchestral version that is the national anthem of Bosnia and Herzegovina


    It’s a bold choice for a non-Catholic country.