Winter Solstice Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Via Anne Laurie,

    Manu Raju

    Sen. Kevin Cramer to me on McCarthy’s threat to block Senate R bills if they back omnibus. “Statements like that and statements coming from House Republicans is the very reason that some Senate Republicans feel they probably should spare them from the burden of having to govern.”

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This is the most detailed Christmas tree we’ve ever seen drawn with an airplane. Presents, ornaments, and star! Well done.

    Even a Scrooge like me can appreciate the effort that went in to this.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:


    Next Kevin is going to threaten to hold his breath till he turns blue.

  4. Mu Yixiao says:


    Republican seeks to ban porn.

    Last week, Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah) introduced the Interstate Obscenity Definition Act (IODA), which attempts to edit the legal definition of “obscenity” to allow essentially for the regulation of pornography. The bill is yet another attempt by conservative lawmakers to regulate internet pornography in recent years. While other attempts have aimed for less direct regulation, this bill goes right to the source—attempting to roll back the First Amendment protections that prevent state regulation of porn in the first place.

    (It should be noted that data collected by places such as PornHub show that Utah is the largest per-capita consumer of porn in the US.)

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A 12-year-old who sold more than $56,000 in popcorn through his Boy Scouts troop recently spent more than 20% of those earnings buying presents for children in foster care in his region of Minnesota, delivering one of the Christmas season’s most heartwarming stories.

    Jonathan Werner’s act of kindness became possible after he emerged as the top Boy Scouts popcorn seller in Minnesota and one of the top three in the US, the local news outlet KARE reported Monday.
    He raised $46,194 in 2021. This year, that number swelled to $56,396, an increase of more than $10,000, KARE reported.

    Werner could have used his share of the money on a new bicycle, camping gear, video games, or whatever else the hearts of 12-year-old Boy Scouts desire in his community of Cambridge, which is populated by fewer than 10,000. But instead, he and his mom spent $11,300 during a multi-day shopping spree at Kohl’s, Walmart, Fleet Farm and Amazon buying 600 gifts for local children in foster care. He wrapped up the toys, cosmetics and clothing that he bought for children he had never met at a party in early December where his fellow Boy Scouts – equipped with tape, scissors and wrapping paper – helped him wrap the gifts.

    The bounty is hefty enough to provide a gift for every foster child in four counties, as well as for some in a fifth, KARE reported. His mother, Serena Kolk, told the station that Werner read over every one of those children’s written wishlists before going shopping. “He reads what every kid writes and tries to find something he thinks they are specifically going to like,” Kolk added.
    “I just want to … let them know they are loved and appreciated,” Werner said.

    Damned dogs are downstairs cutting onions again.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I didn’t have this on my bingo card:

    Tennessee workers find human heart in salt depot
    “I’ve got 32 years in law enforcement – I do have to say this is probably in the top five of most bizarre things that I’ve ever seen,” said the local sheriff, Chris Davis.


  7. Kathy says:
  8. Kathy says:

    Headline: Trump left ‘shockingly gracious’ letter to Biden on leaving office, book says

    Reaction: some former WH staffer is about to get publicly reamed by the a**hole in chief.

  9. CSK says:


    Well, if it was literate as well as gracious, we know Trump himself didn’t write it.

  10. Mu Yixiao says:

    When did the Onion take ownership of the BBC?

    Putin says Russia not to blame for war in Ukraine.

    “There’s nothing to accuse us of. We’ve always seen Ukrainians as a brotherly people and I still think so.

    “What’s happening now is a tragedy, but it’s not our fault.”

  11. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I think this is a ludicrous attempt at gaslighting.

  12. Kathy says:

    I found some more russet potatoes last week, so I’m making stuffed potatoes this week. They come in 2.5 kg. bags, therefore I’m also about to find out how long they’ll keep.

    I’m not sure what to pair them with. I feel like beef. I first thought spaghetti with ground beef and tomato sauce, but that’s too common place. So I’m thinking instad of fettuccine with olive oil and garlic, mixed with ground beef with just a little tomato paste and paprika.

    For the potatoes I want to try some Chihuahua, Oaxaca, and Yellow cheese I got leftover from samples from an aborted (and very misguided) project at work. I figure a single slice, or part of a slice, of yellow cheese at the bottom of each carved-out potato should prove a good foundation.

    I also wonder if I should grate onions instead of chopping them as part of the stuffing. Since I’ll be grating cheese anyway, the tools will already be all there.

  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    Io Saturnalia everyone!

  14. Jay L Gischer says:

    I wanted to tell y’all about an exchange I saw on Reddit just the other day. I play a bit of the game Space Engineers, which is a sandbox game where players design and build a variety of spacecraft and rovers and run them about mining and shooting each other.

    The post I read was about a crazy two-wheeled mining vehicle which was awesome. In the comments, this exchange happened.

    Commenter: This is an interesting thing he (the OP) did.
    Poster: Actually, it’s “she” not “he”.
    Commenter: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to presume.
    Poster: No worries, I like correcting people when the mistake is made in good faith.
    Commenter: I guess if I’d looked at your avatar more closely I could have figured it out.

    [Said avatar is tiny]
    All I can say is that the world needs more of this. I felt so good after reading that, and I wasn’t even involved.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: The beatings will continue until morale improves.

  16. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: What an amazing kid. He balances out the cheery (?) holiday note I was sent yesterday. Merry Christmas one and all just the same.

  17. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: Wow! My 1oth grade PE teacher made Franco Harris into a racist joke back in about 67 or 68.

  18. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: I’d still go with chopped, but that’s because I like the visual and mouth feel appeal of having actual onion pieces. When I’ve grated onions in the past, they’ve cooked down too much.

  19. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    It’s playing into a line that has enormous traction in pro-Russian social media, from both ends of the horseshoe in the US and “the West”, and from parts of the “global South”.
    – That Russia was forced reluctantly to “intervene” against NATO/Nazis.
    – That Ukraine is being forced to fight , despite “inevitable Russian victory” by NATO/Nazis.
    – That Russia has not yet been victorious because of the vast armaments sent to Ukraine by NATO/Nazis.
    – That Russia wishes only for peace with it’s Ukrainian brothers, who are being sacrificed pointlessly by… three guesses.
    Russia only wants security against wicked ….

    Sprinkle on some extra topping depending on which audience you are trying to appeal to. Armaments! Iraq! Satanism! Homosexuals! Secularism! Racism! Oil! Colonialism! Imperialism! Capitalism! Globalism (the “you-know-whos”). NATO! And Nazis; did we mention Nazis?

    It’s moronic and banal, and it’s lapped up by considerable numbers.

  20. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    Mixed with potato, cheese, and sweet cream, you’ll never ever see it 🙂

    I don’t often grate onion, because you get as much onion juice as onion when you do. In this recipe that might help.

  21. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Speed bumps in my mental road today:

    Board Finds Loophole for South Dakota Guv in ‘No Exceptions’ Law

    An ethics panel has ruled it can’t take action against Kristi Noem for using a state plane to travel to a wedding because it has no authority to determine what state business is.
    As approved by a majority of the voters in a statewide ballot in 2006, the law in question states “any aircraft owned or leased by the state may be used only in the conduct of state business.”

    Because changing your voting registration is, you know, just too hard.

    According to publicly available voter records, Georgia GOP Rep. Drew Ferguson voted in a county where he no longer lives, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

    In fairness, though, he moved in April but drove back to vote in person in May. So, I guess, reasons.

    @just nutha:

    Sorry for that downer yesterday. That particular strip was shattering to me. A 19-year-old co-worker confessed to me Monday that since his dad and stepmom kicked him out of the house, he’s sleeping rough until he saves enough money to get a place. He works 60+ hours/week in two minimum-wage jobs. I remain gobsmacked at all of society’s brokenness but remain hopeful that I’ll be dead before the revolution.

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Not as shattering to me because I’m not as close to it (having no min.-wage coworkers) but traumatizing enough. I’m glad the Gofundme the author started for the women met its goals in spectacular fashion. At least there’s something resembling a happy(-ish) ending even if only sortakinda.

    Three down (sortakinda) and only a few hundred million to go. 🙁

    ETA: Wishing your coworker well on finding housing.

  23. Mikey says:

    Watching Zelenskyy address Congress. A solid two minute standing ovation when he entered the chamber.

  24. Liberal Capitalist says:


    I found some more russet potatoes last week…

    We were at Sam’s club today, and chose not to buy the russet potatoes because it was a 4.5 kilo bag.

    We did pick up a bag of onions and I was surprised that they were from Peru.

    Onions from Peru. I just cannot fathom the economics on how that makes sense at all.

  25. Mister Bluster says:

    New iPhone SE. Old phone was 3G and I had 2 more days b 4 Verizon shut down obsolete 3G network. New phone makes the old one seem like it was an old magneto phone that you had to crank to get the operator.