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Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Coca Bolívar
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:05 pm

First, it was the coca-leaf encrusted guitar for SecState Rice.

Now it’s a portrait of Simon Bolívar made out of coca leaves for Colombia’s President Uribe.

I kid thee not:

Source: El Tiempo/the AFP:

El presidente de Bolivia, Evo Morales, regaló al presidente Uribe un cuadro de Simón Bolívar hecho con hojas de coca. “Desde que sea para cosas como esta, la coca está muy bien”, dijo el mandatario colombiano.

Filed under: General, Colombia | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
That’s Familiar
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:05 am

Sadly, I do have student who fret about which font takes up more space or who spend more time worrying about margins and such rather than just writing the darn paper.

Filed under: General, Academia | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
In the Mail
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:59 pm

In my mailbox (the old fashioned kind):

Special Notice for Steven Taylor: You have been selected to represent Pike Road, AL in the 2006 Grassroots Survey of Democratic Leaders….Your survey responses will give the DNC a better understanding of the view of Democrats in the Pike Road area. With your input, the DNC will be more effective in building grassroots support for our Party’s agenda.

Perhaps, but I somehow doubt it.

Of course, question #16 asks how much of a gift I wish to make to the DNC…

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:09 pm

I am getting around to cleaning up my Blogroll, which made me think to point out that if you don’t have a blogroll, you should get one, and if you have a blogroll, then please Blogroll Me!

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006
A Paper Writing Tip
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:24 pm

If one is going to write a BS research paper, pick a topic that isn’t something that your professor studies for a living.

Just a little tip from me to whomever might need it.

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Monday, March 6, 2006
Or, Maybe it Really is an Honor Just to be Nominated…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:49 am

I haven’t so much as blogged a pixel on the Oscars or Brokeback Mountain, but this headline caught my eye (via Reuters): “Brokeback” too controversial after all:

Larry McMurtry, 69 who has spent his career challenging the stereotype West — and generally won.

That just strikes me as patently silly (and rather whiny)-the movie was nominated as one of the five (I think are normally five) best films of the year, which is substantial validation of the film, it would seem. It certainly doesn’t bespeak of rampant intolerance.

Saying that failure to win it all means utter rejection is kind of like saying that the Buffalo Bills of the 1990s were lousy because they only managed to lose the Super Bowl four-straight years. They may not have been champs, but they still were pretty darn good.

And gee whiz, Brokeback won two major Oscars: adapted screenplay and director (as well as original score (see here).

Filed under: General, Pop Culture, Movies | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, March 3, 2006
BlogAds Annual Survey
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:52 am

Please go take the BlogAds annual survey-and note that PoliBlog sent you on question #23 (


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Tuesday, February 28, 2006
A Little Tip for the Students Out There
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:06 pm

If you are ever writing an essay or answering a take-home test and the object of your reponse has “Saint” as his honorific, then it might be wise to mention God at least once in your response. It might just be relevant.

Just a little tip.

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1,000 Words…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:40 am

Source: Ports Argument and Iraq Hurt Bush in a New Survey

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PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Missing the Point on the Poll Numbers linked with [...] Poll Numbers By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:39 pm Several folks have make issue of CBS’ poll numbers on the President’s approval rating. However, it seems quite clear that the gene [...]
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
A False Dichotomy
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:15 am

A discussion has broken out over a post at (Is Instapundit a Conservative?) over Glenn Reynolds’ ideological persuasion (and his own self-identification).

Wrote Dan Morgan of

There is no avoiding labeling to some degree. For the biggest labels, there are only two: Left or Right. At some level, we must all choose one of these two. This is not an artificial divide. There is genuinely a rift in the country that roughly fits this paradigm. And in the America since the 1960s, Left or Right is referred to as liberal or conservative.

I don’t have time to get into the issues of what “liberal” and “conservative” mean both in general terms and in the American political context (although I have noted before that I am not all that happy with those labels).

Avoiding that discussion for at least the moment, I would note that the only way in which politically active Americans are “forced” to make a “choice” between two “sides” is in terms of party affiliation, given that there are really only two real choices, given the nature of our electoral system.

The dichotomous nature of our political parties forces the two camp mindset that forms the basis of Dan’s thinking. It also contributes to the politics-as-sports phenomenon in which we are required to choose a side, root for our side, and score everything as being a plus for our side or their side. (Such an approach is, by the way, ultimately unhealthy, as it leads to an uncritical eye towards the government when one’s “team” is winning…).

The political world is simply far more complicated than that, as are the ideological positions of citizens who may all happen to vote primarily for one party or the other.

As it stands, both the Republicans and Democrats are coalitional parties and therefore, by definition, do not have ideological homogeneous memberships.

Others involved in this discussion:

  • James Joyner
  • Stephen Green
  • Dave Shuler
  • Rusty Shackleford

(And, shockingly, they all come at the issue differently…)

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The Moderate Voice linked with So What Is A Conservative?
Outside The Beltway | OTB linked with Right vs Left: The Labeling Game
Monday, February 20, 2006
On the Lack of a Senate Probe into the Witetap Program
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:29 am

Via WaPo: White House Working to Avoid Wiretap Probe

I am to the point (and have been there for quite a while) where I am unconvinced that the administration wants to avoid a serious probe of this program simply to avoid to possibility of sensitive information being released.

The virtues of divided government come to mind in watching this particular dance. Of course, I fear that if we had divided government that the inquiries would be motivated more by partisan score-seeking than truth-seeking, just as the current reticence against a serious inquiry is clearly motivated by partisan sentiments as well.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:34 am

Sometime this morning my sitemeter busted the 800,000 mark.

My thanks to all my readers over the last three years and three days!


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Thursday, February 2, 2006
Beware the M (or the “M” Theory of Colombian Political Conflict)
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:30 pm

Ok, so I am doing some work on the manuscript for my book on Colombian politics, and was lookling up some info on civil-military relations in Colombia, which by Latin American standars are historically quite remarkable with the military being normally subordinated to civilian rule.

There has only been one successful military coup in the twentieth century, that of General Gustavo Rojas Pinilla in 1953-he held office until 1957, and elections returned in 1958.

In the nineteenth century there were four incidences of the military removing the president: 1830, 1854, 1866 and 1900-and here’s where the Power of M comes into play. I noticed a striking pattern in the coups:

in 1830 Mosquera is overthrown by Urdaneta (U knocks out M, and the cycle begins) (M->U)
in 1854 Obando is overthrown by Melo (the revenge by M!) (O->M)
in 1866 Mosquera (a different one) is taken out by Acosta (the vowels are back!) (M->A)
in 1900 Sanclemente is replaced by Marroquín (clearly S had become a vowelista and had to be taken out by M!) (S->M)

Now, the 1953 coup doesn’t follow the M v. the vowel/vowel sympathesizer model, and, as such, it is the outlier in the theory.

Still, it is noteworthy that not a single President of Colombia since the 1958 has had a last name starting with “M” (although a few matronymics, e.g., Alfonso López Michelsen) and there have been no coups.

So, where has the M-ness gone? Well, during the 1970s and 1980s one of the key guerrilla groups in Colombia was the M-19 (now dembolized). Further, I would note that the founder and commander of the FARC’s name is Manuel Marulanda.

Coincidence? I think not.

(Is that theorizin’ or what?)

Update: Commenter B. Minich notes that the current President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe is a vowelista-the first such President since Ospina (1946-1950). And it occurs to me that in the M v. vowelista struggle it is the vowelista’s turn to win. Could that mean that Uribe will actually defeat the FARC and the power of M, or with the fact that the FARC is led by a double-M mean that the stalemate will continue?


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It’s Boehner
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:14 pm

Via CNN: Boehner elected House majority leader

House Republicans on Thursday elected U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio as majority leader.

He upset Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri in a 122-109 vote. Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona dropped out after a first ballot loss.

I would have preferred Shadegg, but certainly prefer Boehner to Blunt.

The Era of DeLay is now over.

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Outside The Beltway | OTB linked with John Boehner Elected Majority Leader
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
SOTU: Delivery
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:08 pm

I will say this, his presentation of the speech tonight was quite fluid.

Filed under: General, US Politics | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
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