A Forum for the Last Day of September

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. CSK says:

    Ted Cruz says he “stands with” all the unvaccinated NBA players. This will still not win him any love from MAGAWorld.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Or the unvaccinated NBA players.

  3. BugManDan says:

    @CSK: Is he going to kneel with them?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Olympic gold medalist Klete Keller pleads guilty to 6 January riot felony

    Klete Keller, a former Olympic swimmer who won two gold medals for the United States, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a felony charge related to his participation in the January riot at the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump.

    Keller admitted to obstructing an official proceeding, after prosecutors agreed to drop six other criminal charges they brought against him in February. US district judge Richard Leon in the District of Columbia accepted Keller’s guilty plea at a court hearing. Leon will sentence Keller at another hearing that has yet to be scheduled. The charge has a recommended sentence of between 21 and 27 months in prison, but Leon is not bound by that range.
    According to prosecutors, Keller was in the Capitol for nearly an hour, at one point yelling “Fuck Nancy Pelosi!” and “Fuck Chuck Schumer!” before others began pushing toward law enforcement officers.

    Looks like Klete Keller is fcked.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Speaking of NBA players: NBA players who refuse Covid-19 vaccine could lose millions in salary

    NBA players who choose not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 could lose millions of dollars, the league confirmed on Wednesday.

    “Any player who elects not to comply with local vaccination mandates will not be paid for games that he misses,” Mike Bass, the NBA’s executive vice president of communications, said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

    The NBA does not require its players to be vaccinated, although they are under stricter protocols than those who have had the Covid-19 shot. However, local laws in cities such as New York and San Francisco prohibit the unvaccinated from certain public places, including indoor sports areas. That means unvaccinated players for teams such as the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors would not be able to participate in home games.

    Around 90% of NBA players are vaccinated, a much higher rate than the overall US population.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    United Airlines expected to fire nearly 600 workers for defying vaccine mandate

    United Airlines has said nearly 600 US-based employees are facing termination after failing to comply with the carrier’s vaccination policy. In early August, the company became the first US airline to require Covid-19 vaccinations for all domestic employees, requiring proof of vaccination by Monday. The carrier said that on Tuesday, it would start the process of firing 593 employees who decided not to get vaccinated.
    The workers can save their jobs if they get vaccinated before their formal termination meetings, the company officials said.
    The company dismissed the notion that the vaccine requirement was deterring applicants for jobs at the air carrier.

    United received 700 applications for about 400 job postings last month at a Denver career fair. Similarly, it has received more than 20,000 applications for about 2,000 open positions for flight attendants, the spokesperson said.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US hospitals outfitting nurses with panic buttons to prevent assaults

    Now hospital administrators plan to provide more than 300 panic buttons to healthcare staff over the next two months, which Paul thinks could help avoid such potentially dangerous situations. The hospital is buying the buttons with a $132,000 grant from a local charity, the Skaggs Foundation, because of increasing concerns about violence against its staff, a problem that predates the Covid-19 pandemic but appears to have since worsened at hospitals around the country.

    Indeed, across the US – as America’s hospitals and clinics have strained under the impact of Covid-19 – there have been reports of staff facing increased threats and violence, making an already difficult and dangerous job even more so.

    Lynne Yaggy, who became a nurse in 1991 and is now chief nursing officer and vice-president of clinical services at the Branson hospital, said: “There has always been violence against healthcare workers, but what I have seen is an escalation of that in intensity and in the number of incidents.”
    Arnetz attributes the reported spike in violence in part to the increased volume of patients and Covid patients’ inability to be with their loved ones because of quarantines.

    “The violence can come both from patients themselves and from [their] loved ones,” said Arnetz. “There is a lot of frustration. Patients can be in great discomfort, in pain.”

    Here’s an idea, don’t go to the hospital. Stay home and die.

  8. Scott says:

    Speaking of vaccines, I got my high dosage quadrivalent flu shot yesterday. Don’t forget yours. Especially this year.

    Doctors worry about ‘twindemic’ as flu season approaches amid rise in COVID-19 cases

    The flu season was mild last year, which some experts say was the result of mask-wearing and social distancing to prevent COVID-19.

    But there are fewer mask mandates this season, which has doctors worried about a possible “twindemic:” a surge in cases of both the flu and the coronavirus.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:


    As the hammer falls and the consequences for these principled stands of freedom will cause a shift in what is freedum.

    The fact that United only will be firing 600, shows how effective the threat of job loss is and we shouldn’t be surprised that a significant number of the 600 acquiesce and get the jab before they become unemployed.

  10. Jen says:

    Corey Lewandowski has been fired by the Trump campaign organization over his behavior sexually harassing a donor over the weekend. Were irony not already dead….

  11. gVOR08 says:


    The carrier said that on Tuesday, it would start the process of firing 593 employees who decided not to get vaccinated.

    At your link The Guardian does better than most of these stories, the denominator is only six paragraphs down, 67,000.

    Over at Digby’s, Tom Sullivan quotes Leonard Pitts,

    No telling how many of you there actually are, but lately, you’re all over the news. Just last week, a nearly-30-year veteran of the San Jose Police Department surrendered his badge rather than comply with the city’s requirement that all employees be inoculated against COVID-19. He joins an Army lieutenant colonel, some airline employees, a Major League Baseball executive, the choral director of the San Francisco Symphony, workers at the tax collector’s office in Orange County, Florida, and, incredibly, dozens of healthcare professionals.

    Well, on behalf of the rest of us, the ones who miss concerts, restaurants and other people’s faces, the ones who are sick and tired of living in pandemic times, here’s a word of response to you quitters: Goodbye.

    And here’s two more: Good riddance.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen: As someone or other said, “If you’re a star, they let you do it.” Lewandowski apparently had delusions that he was a star.

  13. JohnSF says:

    I’m going to really bore people with this 🙂 but it continues to intrigue me: the AUKUS submarines (etc)“deals”, the French reaction, and what’s really going on in Australian politics.

    There are several aspects; starting with:
    Why France counts as a major player in South Indian Ocean/Pacific region, and why this relates to the anger in Paris over the whole business.

    Looking into this surprised me on how intensively engaged France is in the region.

    France is the only European country with a permanent substantial forces in the area.
    The UK largely vacated since the 1970’s, apart from Hong Kong; and now that is gone the only UK permanent presence is in Brunei, where there is a battalion of Gurkhas and a helicopter fight.
    Even naval operations have usually been occasional visit (until the last years carrier group visit)

    By contrast France has permanently deployed:
    12 frigates and patrol ships
    5 to 10 maritime patrol aircraft
    4 to 5,000 troops

    In addition, there is an annual deployment from France of an amphibious task group and in 2019 and 2021 a nuclear carrier strike group; and probable “distant escort” for both of SSN. Sumarine deployments are usually secret, but it was recently announced that an SSN had been operating in the South Pacific.

    When the carrier group was in the area, the MN was the strongest naval force in the South Pacific; and second only to the Australians as an air/naval force. US forces are larger, but normally deployed north of the equator.

    In terms of military cooperation with other countries in the region France has supplied submarines (the Scorpene class SSK) to Malaysia and India, and having in discussions with Philippines and Indonesia (and possibly Vietnam, which is currently buying Russian).
    And India is building its own nuclear subs: it bought French SSKs because the top-line version of Scorpene (there are variants) are state of the art for defensive subs. The Franco-Indian defence co-operation is deep; including nuclear aspects.

    Since 2001 the France and Indai have held the Varuna Naval Exercises almost every year; the April 2021 LaPerouse/Varuna Exercise in the Indian Ocean also included Japanese and Australian contingents.
    WWS report:

    “Franco-Indian cooperation has grown over the last two decades to cover nuclear, space, defence, cyber security, intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism cooperation. Bilateral military exercises, beginning with the navies in 2001, followed by the air forces in 2004 and the armies in 2011, have now became a regular feature.”

    France has sold 126 Rafale fighters to India, and is in negotiation with Indonesia.

    (splitting here to avoid links provoking the anti-spam defences)

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Via Anne Laurie:


    This Florida Man has won the internet for the Month of September

    He’s got my vote for Man of the Year.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yep, mandates work.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: It’s actually 6 sentences into the article. I hate this style of separating nearly every sentence with a para break.

  17. JohnSF says:

    There has been some mention here of: “could a US-Vietnam defence agreement be on the cards?”; a France-Vietnam defence agreement was signed in 2019

    Some more examples of regional engagement:
    2018 July 27, the French Air Force has had three Rafale B fighter jets, one A400M troop transporter and a C135 refuelling tanker in Australia’s Northern Territory for Exercise Pitch Black

    August 2018 same force deploys in turn at bases in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, India.

    France is also an active participant in the AETO aka ECC Korean sanctions enforcement operation; a French frigate intercepted a North Korean oil transfer earlier this year.

    The French Navy has participated this year in joint alliance exercises in Japan with the US and Australian forces.
    In July Secretary Austin called France an “ideal partner” in the Indo-Pacific, after discussions with French Defence Minister Florence Parly.
    France also engaged, with Australia, in the Indian led Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative

    More generally France has pushed back against German (an other states) preferences for the EU and “European NATO” to adopt a posture of complacent neutralism with regard to China:

    It would be “unacceptable”, Macron stated, “to claim to be at the same distance from the US as from China”

    In other words, France is seriously engaged in the region, and generally in co-operation with the US, Australia and others.

    It’s really no wonder they were p!ssed off.
    Especially given the “UK” component of AUKUS; a UK that has been conspicuous by its absence from serious engagement in the region for decades.

    To follow:
    Why the submarines aspect of the affair may not be quite as simple as it appears at first sight.
    Why the real reasons for the affair may lie in Australian politics.
    And why Australian politics mean the whole thing could yet fall apart.

  18. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Not necessarily. They’ve deferred sentencing, incumbent on his continuing cooperation. This is a pretty standard maneuver – we want your help, so we’re going to hang the sentencing Sword of Damocles over your head for as long as possible to ensure that we get it, but we’re going to weigh how much you cooperated in our eventual decision as to how nasty that prison term (if any …) will turn out to be.

    Unless he’s a complete moron, or he legitimately doesn’t know much and therefore turns out to be of little practical value, how nasty his sentence is – or if he even serves one – is in his court.

  19. CSK says:
  20. Sleeping Dog says:


    Gee, if you want a pair of alligator shoes, it is easier to go to Florsheim.

  21. CSK says:


    What did he do with it afterward? Put the gator out for recycling?

  22. HarvardLaw92 says:


    It’s really no wonder they were p!ssed off.

    Are, not were. I can opine from a position of proximity that they have not really cooled off at all. I’ll grant that it often doesn’t take much nudging to motivate the French to assume a position of p!ssed off, but this one did it, in spades, and it hasn’t subsided. Until and unless it does, it creates an existential problem for a French president who very much wants to continue to be a French president & has to face the voters in 7 months.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HarvardLaw92: They’ve deferred sentencing, incumbent on his continuing cooperation.

    I missed that part, mainly because it isn’t in the Guardian’s article. OK, ball’s in your court Klete.

  24. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnSF: Thank you for all that.

  25. JohnSF says:

    It looks a bit like the France/US diplomatic row has been papered over.
    And with a couple of diplomatic “wins” for France; though Washington would be wise to make that into something more substantial (and preferably submarine shaped) at the upcoming talks.

    But not the intergovernmental anger with Australia or Britain, from what I can see.
    IMO the UK would be wise to be less provocative: but Johnson is wholly incapable of looking beyond headlines in the tabloids, and how it plays with the Brexity base and the lumpen-commentariat, and insted considering longer-term British interests..

    I’ve been pointing out since this business broke that the French political impact, and the possible strategic side effects of that, mean this was a serious cock-up by somebody (State or NSC definitely; maybe Pentagon).

  26. Jen says:

    @CSK: LOL, that was my response…”okay, now WHAT?” I mean, I guess you can call animal control but that gator didn’t look well-balanced in there, one sudden move from escape/revenge…

    @OzarkHillbilly: The “sentence as a paragraph” style is attributable to how people read on screens. People tend to skim more when reading online, and they actually retain more of the content if it’s broken up like that.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: But if I am copy/pasting the gist of an article I have to spend time deleting all the unnecessary spacing just so I don’t take up half the damn screen with a comment.

    And oh yeah, GET OFF MY LAWN! Damn kids.

  28. MarkedMan says:


    More generally France has pushed back against German (an other states) preferences for the EU and “European NATO” to adopt a posture of complacent neutralism with regard to China

    This is interesting, but it is the almost the exact opposite of what I have heard. For a decade now, I’ve been hearing that France is actively pushing against the idea of a coalition of nations united against China’s aggression in the South Pacific.

    I’ll have to do some digging today, if I get the time.

  29. Kathy says:

    For the 1918 H1N1 pandemic, people had no tests nor did they know what caused the flu, no effective masks, no vaccines, little tracing, haphazard mitigation measures, and no effective treatment, and the pandemic lasted about 27 months.

    Today we know what causes COVID, we have tests, we can do tracing (we mostly don’t, but we can), we have effective masks, we have very effective vaccines, we have better treatments (though I wouldn’t call them effective), and haphazard mitigation measures, and the pandemic has lasted so far 21 months (counting the start to December 2019 when the first cases emerged in China).

    One can’t help but conclude we’ve been doing something really wrong.

  30. Jen says:

    @Kathy: My husband and I were discussing that recently. His theory is that it just takes a couple of years for a pandemic–any pandemic–to burn itself out. I pointed out that there are a LOT of different factors now–yes, we know more, but there are also more people, international travel (ability to spread) is far easier, cities hold more people, cars go farther, etc. Bottom line, with our enhanced ability to spread disease, things would have been a lot worse had we not used the mitigation measures at our disposal.

    Also, I think we can move the start back by a month, I believe WHO recognizes the first cases in China as having emerged in Nov. 2019. We’re very close to 2 years of this. Le sigh.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: Okay, this summary of the state of the French/US strategies by Frederic Grare at the Carnegie Endowment, matches my impressions. It was written before this submarine fooforaw. Basically, France opposed the US strategy and was actively working to defeat it and replace it with their own.

    If the Biden Administrations believed that France was working to block the US strategy, it sheds a completely different light on the submarine deal, and why the French were given no warning.

    Macron’s speech, given at the Garden Island military base in Sydney, Australia, differed substantially in its objectives and content from President Donald Trump’s introduction of his own Indo-Pacific strategy in November 2017. Each strategy unveiled underlines that the United States’ and China’s radically opposing interests, in the Indo-Pacific and globally, are a central driver of contemporary international relations. However, naturally, France and the United States take different positions on the state of affairs. While both countries oppose China’s hegemonic designs, France is uncomfortable with the widening gulf between the United States and China.

    France’s approach to the Indo-Pacific aims to protect the country’s international position and its specific interests—notably, in the overseas territories that anchor and give credibility to the French strategy. But the strategy’s implementation, a delicate exercise, will continually require French decisionmakers to have a clear vision of these interests and to avoid any rhetoric or dangerous confrontation with China while maintaining a central—but not exclusive—place for the United States in its traditional system of alliances.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: More on the French/US rivalry in the Pacific. Macron’s government spelled out their opposition to the US strategy a few years ago, in the official “2017 Review of Defense and National Security”. Macron gave a speech highlighting this. From that Carnegie article I mentioned above:

    When Macron first outlined France’s Indo-Pacific strategy during his speech at Garden Island, he focused on the need to reconcile three imperatives: limiting the harms to French interests posed by the rise of China, preserving the Franco-American relationship beyond the vicissitudes of the occupant of the White House, and extricating France as much as possible from the rivalry between Beijing and Washington. To this final end, he called for the creation of a Canberra-Delhi-Paris axis of cooperation.

    Note that last sentence. This analyst, at least saw the Australia partnership as explicitly about pulling that country away from the US.

    I’m grateful for this blog and its comments section, but its sad that this is literally the only place I see this type of discussion. The shallow main stream media can’t get beyond “Biden hurt France’s feelings! Does it help Republicans?!”

  33. JohnSF says:

    What gets misunderstood is the French determination to maximise strategic autonomy.

    They are willing to be allies, or partners, or co-operators; but not to be auxiliaries, or subordinates, or supplicants.
    They have spent enormously on maintaining a fully independent nuclear force, for example, rather than save money by becoming the dependent on US assistance, the course the UK followed.

    So Paris has consistently said they will co-operate, but are wary of the US doing something reckless (particularly some spectacular miscalculation re. Taiwan), or abrubtly reversing course.

    There is also another critical point: France cannot detach it’s policies in the southern oceans from the diplomacy of Europe.
    For long-term strategic independence viability, France need a co-operation consensus among the EU nations, and above all a partnership with Germany.
    And Germany requires more coddling than a balky mule. Berlin loathes the idea of diplomatic confrontations, or a calculus of military force: especially when it’s mercantile interests are engaged.
    Wandel durch handel. (eyeroll)
    See Nordstream etc.
    So everything France says about managing the challenge China has to be calibrated to how far Germany can be coaxed without getting a fainting fit.

    But if France actually were refusing to co-operate, their other policies make no sense at all.

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: One can make the argument that the French position is better than the US position (FWIW, these are difficult waters and I don’t have an opinion). But the fact that those positions differ and France was actively trying to pull Australia away from the US deserves to be part of the discussion about why France was left in the dark and why they are so mad now.

  35. Sleeping Dog says:


    Another factor that I have seen regarding containment of China is that France favors a broader, more consultative alliance, while the US is taking the position of we’re taking the lead you support us. If that is accurate, then France’s position is consistent with French foreign/defense policy since WWII. Marcon is being nothing more than a good Gaullist.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: So Paris has consistently said they will co-operate, but are wary of the US doing something reckless

    Say WHAT??? Why I never… We are not reckless, in fact we are overly restrained! We haven’t nuked anybody since 1945!

  37. CSK says:

    They should calm down a bit. Trump’s no longer in office.

  38. JohnSF says:

    In the Carnegie article, note Grare’s last sentence:

    Walking along a narrow path, Europe must share more of the burden in security matters but never fall into the trap of a mechanical alignment with Washington.

    Precisely the policy of France, IMO.
    The best overall analysis the summarise what I think French policy has been is Michael Shurkin at 9Dashline (who are most definitely NOT complacent about the challenge of China):

    France has also been trying deftly to exploit its own careful positioning vis-à-vis the United States while working to ensure that it has a voice in whatever happens in the region, and enough freedom of manoeuvre to act in ways that it sees fit.

    And also Max Bergmann at War on the Rocks https://warontherocks.com/2021/09/the-biden-administration-needs-to-act-fast-to-reset-relations-with-france/, on why, regardless of any rights or wrongs, antagonising France is a massive mistake for the US.
    Containing the challenge of China if it decides to go full adversary will be difficult.
    Doing so with Europe as a neutral, let alone if an opponent also, would be impossible.

  39. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Gaullist, Republican, Socialist, Liberal: on this matter there is nigh on universal consensus in France: “If you want a subordinate, look elsewhere”
    If they play a role, they expect a voice, not “my way or the highway”.

  40. CSK says:

    If you want to leave a tribute to Teve (Steve Story), you can do so here:


  41. Barry says:

    @CSK: “They should calm down a bit. Trump’s no longer in office.”

    Trump, or a Trumpist, might be back in in 2024.
    A Trumpist will likely be ‘elected’ in 2028.
    The GOP is Trumpist, or beyond.

  42. JohnSF says:

    Reckless is one pole. Committing then reversing course due to partisan squabbles, costs, losses, lives, time, or plain ennui is the other risk for an ally.

  43. JohnSF says:


    …France was actively trying to pull Australia away from the US

    I really don’t think they were; or could.
    The ANZUS Treaty of 1951 remains in force.
    Canberra would never jettison that; and the French would never be as foolish as to believe Australia would do so, or that they could substitute for it.
    (If they were doing so, the whole approach would have been different)

    The real peril for the Australian-US alliance is the Australian economic dependence on China, not any submarine deal with France.
    (And that relates IMO to the real reason for the Morrison switcheroo, a point I’m going to come to later, at some point)

  44. Kathy says:


    Largely it depends on the means of transmission and the R0 number, plus how bad the disease is. one can argue we get flu and cold pandemics every year, sometimes more than once a year, which infect maybe billions of people, but the disease they cause is very mild and the death rate is low (despite what the Branch trumpidians think).

  45. KM says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    As the hammer falls and the consequences for these principled stands of freedom will cause a shift in what is freedum.

    Exactly. Taking a principled stand has always implied taking the consequences of that action. This is what pisses me off the most about the current view of freedumb as espoused by the GQP – it’s they want all the “benefits” of martyrdom / victim status without any of the negatives it inherently carries. Defiance comes with a price – at bare minimum, it should be uncomfortable for the defiant one in terms of social, economic, legal or just general life to make the point they are suffering this problem in order to be right. That’s what the stand part of the phrase means, you stand up no matter what bad thing comes your way to knock you down. These lazy yahoos just want to be seen as right in the face of evil corruption without anything happening to them, get the street cred without making their bones.

    These lukewarm faithful, who want to be seen as righteous but don’t want the trials and tribulations one must face to be so, cave when they have to live out the logical result of their beliefs. We really should have dropped the hammer from the beginning rather than try coddling and wheedling them for months. How many are dead that would have lived if we’d instituted “do it by this date or be fired” back in the spring? We could have set the deadline months out to give time for those who needed to soul-search or whatever but in the end, social and economic pressure means it’s a yes unless you’re hardcore defiant anti-vaxxer. Carrots can be nice incentives but knowing the stick is in the wings tends to do wonders for compliance.

  46. gVOR08 says:


    The shallow main stream media can’t get beyond “Biden hurt France’s feelings! Does it help Republicans?!”

    To true. This is obviously good for John McCain.

    What @CSK:

    They should calm down a bit. Trump’s no longer in office.

    Makes sense. The remarks you cite do seem Trump specific. Unfortunately, what @Barry: said also makes sense

    Trump, or a Trumpist, might be back in in 2024.
    A Trumpist will likely be ‘elected’ in 2028.
    The GOP is Trumpist, or beyond.

    But whatever, I greatly appreciate you and SF going into this in such depth, and amicably.

  47. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Yes, absolutely. The R0 is very important.

    BTW, that reminds me–has anyone here watched Travelers (Netflix show)? I was seriously creeped out by the second season’s epidemic episodes–they were eerily close to what we’re experiencing now (airborne disease, R-naught values, etc.).

  48. gVOR08 says:

    @KM: That. I’ve observed that, say BLM protesters, expect to be abused, beaten, and maybe jailed. They have the courage of their convictions. The 1/6 idiots seem completely surprised they’re not being universally hailed as heroes. Snowflakes. And yes, we’ve coddled them, over vaccines and other things, way too long.

  49. Kathy says:


    In the early days of Christianity, martyrdom meant being slowly tortured to death by means regarded as horrible at the time.

    That was some principled stand.

  50. Kathy says:


    I’ve said a number of times the norms broken and shattered under the rule of the Orange Ass might be kept that way by a future Democratic president. I think Biden is doing just that in some respects. I’m just not paying enough attention to l’affaiare Macron to be able to tell.

  51. Kathy says:


    Given that Mitch is bluffing (maybe) about the debt ceiling/limit, forcing Democrats to assume full responsibility for it under reconciliation, can the Democrats do so in such a way that the debt limit is eradicated I mean, not for the moment or the fiscal year, but in perpetuity. One and done. If Congress authorizes X trillions, then that allows the Treasury Dept. to issue what debt is required when and as necessary.

    That would be calling Mitch’s bluff.

    In the interest of maintaining global financial stability, of course.

  52. Barry says:

    @Kathy: “I’ve said a number of times the norms broken and shattered under the rule of the Orange Ass might be kept that way by a future Democratic president. ”

    If Trump and his crew do not suffer punishment, then they can always do it again, no matter what example Biden sets.

  53. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: Re: Australia pulling away from the US. This is something I follow pretty closely. Up until a couple of years ago, Australia WAS pulling away from the US and tilting more towards China. There was enormous internal pressure to be more accommodating to the Chinese, to not respond forcefully to the their claims in the Pacific. Australia is a huge exporter to China (primarily ore) and it is a huge part of their economy. Quite frankly, the Chinese pressure on Australia seemed to be ever so slowly working. What changed the equation, IMO, is Xi overplaying the Chinese hand. They started making the threats overt. They started stating more of their intentions out loud. They were caught essentially attempting to blackmail and/or bribe Australia government officials of Chinese descent. All of this has created a backlash both within the government and in the populace, calling into question whether a middle-way is even possible. And it strengthened those who agreed with the US that if the region doesn’t present a unified and strong opposition to Chinese territorial and economic aggressions, it will be a death by a thousand cuts.

    As soon as I saw the news about the submarine deal, my first thought was about how much Xi has overplayed his international hand by catering to the bellicose nationalists at home. Australia was making a very clear statement: we agree with the US view and are pushing away from the middle of the road path.

    The French part was newsworthy and it will have to be managed and dealt with, but the reaction of the European and US Press has, quite frankly, focussed on the least interesting part of what just happened. The US getting Australia solidly back into the united-front camp is the real new.

  54. sam says:
  55. Scott says:

    Mandates work.

    94%: In Air Force, Vaccine Reluctance Falls Away as Deadline Approaches

    COVID-19 vaccination rates among active-duty airmen and Space Force Guardians have risen swiftly since the Air Force earlier this month set a tight deadline for them to get their shots.

    And the quick increase may suggest that — at least in the Air Force and Space Force — vaccine hesitancy is largely falling away in the face of the military’s vaccination mandate.

    As of Monday afternoon, according to the Department of the Air Force’s latest statistics, 93.9% of active-duty airmen and Guardians had received at least one shot, with 75.1% of those fully vaccinated.

  56. just nutha says:

    @BugManDan: No, that’ll call for standing with our courageous first line defenders of civilization–da po-leese.

  57. sam says:


    China power crisis: thermal coal inventory nears record low as country suffers worst outages in a decade

    They were importing high-quality thermal coal from Australia, but

    China consumes more than 3 billion tonnes of thermal coal annually, but only about 7 per cent of that is imported. Before Beijing unofficially banned all Australian coal
    in October, almost 2 per cent of China’s total consumed thermal coal came from Australia due to its reasonable price and high quality.

    This equated to about 50 million tonnes a year, according to official Australian figures. However, since the ban, China has stepped up purchases of coal from countries such as Mongolia and Indonesia to meet the surging domestic demand.

    The main type of thermal coal that China used to buy from Australia had an energy value of 5,500 kcal/kg. But analysts note that coal from alternative sources may be of lesser quality, and potentially less efficient for energy production, further straining the power supply.

    “Since the Australian coal ban, there has been a shortage of 35 million tonnes of high-quality coal. Currently, 70 per cent of [China’s] imported coal is from Indonesia, with an energy value of 3,800 kcal/kg, and it is difficult to import enough thermal coal with high calorific value and low sulphur,” said a note by Nanhua Futures on Tuesday.

    On Monday, Jilin Governor Han Jun said the northeastern province – which experiences very cold winters – would try to accelerate thermal coal imports from Russia, Indonesia and Mongolia.

    In early 2016, China began cutting its coal-production capacity, and this has resulted in a significant gap between supply and demand.

    Meanwhile, the number of available mines has also decreased as a result of over-mining. Together, these factors have contributed to the current coal crisis, analysts say.

    “In the past few years, all of the easy-to-mine and high-quality coal has been mined out. For example, the coal in Shanxi used to be in shallow layers and easy to mine, and of good quality, but now the resources are quite scarce as the coal is in deeper layers, which is more difficult to mine, and the quality is not that good,” said Yunhe Hou, an associate professor at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Hong Kong.

  58. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: You know, if you move away from the Western-Centric take on the Submarine deal and look at it from the Pacific Rim nations POV, the kerfuffle with France is actually helpful to the US strategy. China has been telling those nations that they should pivot away from the West, that the US is not a “real” Pacific power and therefore is not a dependable ally. Bottom line, “Don’t get crosswise with us, because the US really only cares about the Americas and Europe and will choose them over you, every time.” And along comes the US, very dramatically choosing their Pacific strategy over good relations with a European ally.

    I’m not saying this was planned out in some 11 dimensional chess kind of way, just that, in the way it played out and especially in the way France reacted to it, it helps negate the Chinese argument.

  59. MarkedMan says:

    @sam: Unfortunately, it’s behind a paywall for me. What does it say about the reason China is boycotting Aussie coal?

  60. JohnSF says:

    Yes, the shift in Australian policy is definite. And, as you say, probably due to Beijing pushing too hard.
    It’s rather a pattern; similarly, Beijing seem unable to restrain itself from pushing any sovereignty claims, no matter how doubtful, as far as they can and expecting others to put up with it.
    Or blatantly using one-sided contracts with corrupt governments to enrich their clients an plunder their hosts.
    A little restraint would go a long way, if Xi and the Party were a bit cleverer about things.
    They seem determined to swagger.

    And it’s an aspect of this, not, the submarines per se, that’s the real reason for the French subs were dropped IMO.
    I’ll get back to that later (maybe today, if possible).

    But to seriously contain China, the US will have to deal with another player who is at least as independent minded as France, and who won’t tolerate the US giving orders: India.
    Which as I noted above is working quite happily with France.

    If the US can’t work with France, it certainly won’t be able to work with India.
    And absent an Indian buy-in, the US might as well give up and go home.

    And it certainly does not want France to adopt neutralism re. China; it isn’t neutral now; it could become so if driven, and Berlin would be happy as sandboy to follow that lead.
    And the two together would almost certainly mean a neutralist EU; and the effective end of the Transatlantic Alliance.

  61. CSK says:

    Do you mean that Democrats would continue to shatter all the norms Trump did? I would think they’d be eager to restore them.

  62. just nutha says:

    @Jen: The research that I was reading in grad school regarding readability was also that 6-10 lines was a “typical” paragraph length for typewritten/printed content so that even 2 compound sentences can become a larger paragraph than can be read comfortably. I’ve done work with scripting paragraphs with essay writing students, and I have to note repeatedly that the 4 “parts” of an expository essay paragraph are 4 paragraphs in a newspaper article.

  63. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah. It is annoying. (And just turn the hose on those hoodlum kids.)

  64. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: “Those who do not learn from history are domed to repeat it.”

    (And yes, I HAVE found that the main message of history is that societies don’t learn from history.)

  65. just nutha says:

    @just nutha: And that those who don’t learn common spelling mistakes are domed to misspelling while trying to remember if it’s “doommed” or “doomed.”

  66. JohnSF says:

    Some basics on Australia and trade with China:
    Prior to the sanctions blowup, China took about half of the total Australian exports; and supplied about a quarter of imports.
    Sanctions by China were due to Australia calling for investigations into the origin of the COVID and restrictions on Huawei.

    In 2019 China was Australia’s second largest coal export destination; 21% at $13.7 bn (not sure if that’s US or Aus dollars); behind Japan 27%, ahead India 16%.
    Australia is by far the world largest coal exporter: 40% total.
    Which might explain why China is having problems finding substitutes.
    Especially for coking coal for steel production.

  67. sam says:


    It doesn’t say, but it’s probably another instance of Chinese dickplomacy.

  68. JohnSF says:

    My intended links to you got dropped out the above comment,
    Chinese sanctions due to Australia calling for investigations into the origin of the COVID and restrictions on Huawei.

  69. Neil J Hudelson says:

    I went on a long weekend camping trip with some friends this past weekend. Got back Tuesday and have spent the last 48 hours recovering. On this trip we had two accomplished chefs from Chicago (one pastry, one sous), a devoted hunter and forager, a bar tender, and a few great home cooks.

    I gained approximately 30 pounds.

    Here was some of our menu, most cooked over coals or a campfire:

    Confit pheasant with a wild berry and demi glace sauce.
    Venison Heart tacos
    Grilled Dove Breasts
    Dove and Pheasant Heart Yakatori
    Wild Mushroom soup
    Hare and Quail terrine.
    Various punches–milk clarified and regular.
    Grilled fish breakfast (don’t know what type was pulled out of the lake).
    Snapping turtle and grits (I think that might have been technically illegal).
    Wild persimmon and five spice sorbet (that was my contribution)
    Papaw cream puffs

    My only regret was that the punches were too good, and I can no longer remember all that I ate.

  70. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: The whole region is nothing but very long term plans requiring equally long term commitment to a strategy, coupled with high stakes negotiations. And you’ve outlined what several of the key elements are in this, especially with respect to how Europe is going to be involved.

    I don’t find it in any way useful to start with the assumption that France is angry because the US f*cked everything up. That may be true, but the major media pundits and talking heads don’t even consider alternatives. We are left with an overly simplistic view of what happened. And I’ve got a personal frustration in this: I’m really curious about one possible scenario and haven’t seen any cogent discussion of it. It’s this: the US and Australia recognized everything an alliance with France (and India) would bring to the table. Despite this, the they felt that it was not obtainable, and further, that even attempting negotiations could scuttle the US/Australia/UK part of the alliance. In the end, the US/Australia/UK decided the redirection was more important than an upset France. A tough decision and one with consequences on either side, but a deliberate choice, not a cock-up. Big boy politics. Here’s the interesting question, if this scenario is correct. Why didn’t they feel they could bring France in? What did they believe France would do if it saw that the Aussies wanted to bring the US into it in some way?

    There are a number of answers to that, and several of them harken back to whether France could be trusted as an ally. To whether France has given good reasons to think they would betray that trust. I would love to know what government analysts from any number of nations are saying and thinking behind closed doors. Does, say, Spain think it was a sign that the US will screw a European ally (as France is portraying it), or instead are they thinking, “Boy, the Americans sure showed France they won’t be played the fool!”?

  71. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: Thanks.

  72. Mu Yixiao says:


    I got the serum
    I got stuffed in the tube with all the gizmos
    I got bombarded with the rays

    I did not come out looking like Captain America!


  73. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

  74. Mu Yixiao says:



    This morning, I had an MRI that included a contrasting dye. The dye was injected into my shoulder between the ball and socket (which was fun to watch on the “live X-ray”). Then I spent… well… I’m not exactly sure how long in the MRI tube. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep a couple times.

    Serum, tube, rays. I want my Captain America body!

  75. CSK says:
  76. Jen says:

    @CSK: Captain America’s origin story. Serum transformed him from 98 lb. weakling into Captain America!

    @Mu Yixiao: Did you see this? So funny, I wonder how many calls to the station that triggered, LOL

  77. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Be happy with the one you have, so long as it’s well and working properly.

  78. inhumans99 says:


    The full video shows him rolling the recycling bin down to a near by pond and releasing the gator. I love the guys live and let live attitude towards the gator noting that it was probably hungry and looking for food but due to the gator’s proximity to children he wanted to put it back in water. The guy is an Army Veteran and certainly knows how to keep cool in these situations.

  79. Michael Reynolds says:

    France has never been a trustworthy ally, not since they refused to hand over their Mediterranean fleet in WW2 and left the Brits with no alternative but to sink it. Had France been willing to shoulder what should have been their burden, we would not have had to fly bombers from Nebraska to deal with the Balkan wars. If the French can’t exert themselves to stop a war that was literally half a day’s drive away, then what use are they?

    We are already well into Cold War 2. France can be with us, or they can be their usual independent dick selves. They will, of course, choose B, which means we can disregard their hurt feelings and get on with the more important work at hand.

  80. Mu Yixiao says:


    Be happy with the one you have, so long as it’s well and working properly.

    If it were working properly, I wouldn’t be getting MRIs.

  81. CSK says:

    I must be the only person here lacking an intimate knowledge of Capt. America’s early life.

    Thanks. Great story.

  82. JohnMcC says:

    @Neil J Hudelson: I take it your camping is not of the ‘ultralight’ school?

  83. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: If France wants to lead a collective, they have to show they are willing to put the interests of the collective above their own once in a while. That rarely, if ever, happens. Instead, they seem to use every difficult situation or international crisis as a way to show everyone that they will go their own way, and to make that loudly apparent to all who will listen. It probably plays well domestically, but it is no way to obtain leadership among nations.

  84. Neil J Hudelson says:


    Oh God no. I was a bit more into rugged camping when I was younger, but right now any camping trip is going to be immediately followed up by taking care of two toddlers at home. I need my rest, and I need my comfort.

    This camping trip’s goal was to eat well, drink well, and smoke well, while sleeping under the stars. Done and done.

  85. CSK says:

    This is interesting. Maggie Haberman says that Corey Lewandowski got canned NOT because he molested and threatened Trashelle Odom, but because he boasted that no one gets Trump’s endorsement without Corey’s prior approval.

    This makes perfect sense. Why would Trump care how many women Corey mauled? He himself brags about doing it. But dare to claim that Trump is somehow subservient to Corey? NEVER!!!

  86. Kathy says:


    Not all of them. But while they can get away with it, which is the current GQP standard, then I believe Biden and other Democrats will step over inconvenient norms.

  87. JohnSF says:

    We All Live In An Aussie Submarine…

    Why not all the explanations of why Australia dropped the French subs. tell the whole story.

    For instance in the NY Times quotes US officials

    “The submarines were based on a propulsion technology that was so limited in range, and so easy for the Chinese to detect, that it would be obsolete”

    This is, to be blunt, a load of bollocks.
    The Swedish Gotland class, which is on a par with the French Skorpene has given the US Navy some nasty surprises in exercises.

    There’s a lot of guff about “outdated diesel design, old conventional submarines…”
    But the French Barracuda/Attack design is about as far from a conventional boat as you can get without being nuclear.
    They use pump-jet propulsion, not propellers; instead of conventional batteries a mix of normal lead-acid cell, litihium batteries, and fuel cells.
    Propulsion using ethanol and stored oxygen and a method of venting CO2 and other exhaust; enables diesel engines to run underwater, until the oxygen storage is depleted.

    Combination of technologies reputed (v. classified) to enabled 20 days plus continual submerged operation if required.
    The endurance is estimated at 80 days, range 18,000 nm.
    Not up to an SSN, but easily enough for patrols into the Coral Sea and southern South China Sea
    from Fremantle base. Falls between a Collins class and an SSN in terms of effective endurance.

    But why not SSN anyway, if they have an edge?

    Mainly, Australia had decided as a matter of policy NOT to have SSN’s on grounds of required infrastructure, cost etc. Though some nuclear advocates continued to sulk about that.
    And that’s the problem with the change and why it getting a LOT of criticism in Australia, not only from the “neutralist” left, but from three former Prime Ministers!
    The Attack class was due to come into service from around 2032.
    The SSN will be lucky to be in the water before 2042.
    And cost a lot more. And there’s the nuclear support infrastructure question, how the hell the reactors get fitted etc etc.
    See former PM Malcolm Turnbull: who like the switch not at all.
    So why make the switch, and why not tell France what was up?

    That is coming up in the next installment….

  88. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Lose the French you lose the Germans.
    Lose the French and Germans you lose Europe.
    Lose Europe, you lose India.
    Lose Europe and India, you lose.
    Game over.

  89. Mister Bluster says:

    Senate passes 9-week funding patch to thwart shutdown
    The Senate passed a stopgap spending bill Thursday afternoon that would prevent a government shutdown come midnight and punt the funding cliff into early December.
    The measure now lands in the House, which is expected to clear the bill for President Joe Biden’s signature with mere hours to spare before cash stops flowing to federal agencies.

    So I guess I don’t have to worry about my FICA deposit in October.
    November? Ha! Just have to wait and see.
    Thanks United States Congress (I think)

  90. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Often an MRI can have negative results–or, as D. Trump says, “positive” results. Regardless, I hope everything works out for you.

  91. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: Yep, I never thought it had anything to do with technology. If nothing else, that wouldn’t require secret negotiations. If Australia didn’t like the French subs on technological grounds, they wouldn’t have to keep that quiet.

  92. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I never connected all the dots until today (too busy snarking, I guess). Trashelle was the one getting groped or whatever by Corey (seriously, I never connected the whole story until now)? While I see and agree that Corey’s behavior is reprehensible at best and that anything short of beating the crp out of him is probably too generous, I now see his thinking sort of.

    “Her name is Trashelle; what should she expect?” (In fact I probably know about a dozen or so guys who would say that exact thing. And yes, I did travel among morally deficient and depraved men when I was younger. Thanks for asking.)

  93. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    Well, I commented yesterday on how bizarre the name Trashelle is. But see here for what’s apparently the REAL explanation for Corey getting fired. @CSK: .

  94. flat earth luddite says:

    Damn, he’d better leave the garbage collectors a WAYYYY biggly tip this year if that’s the kind of trash he’s leaving at the curb.

  95. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Alas, that does make more sense than the previous explanation given. (Another thing I learned back in the bad old days. “As long as there are no bruises or babies…”)

  96. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @JohnSF: I can’t agree it’s total bollocks, though it’s probably partial. The range and, more importantly, speed limitations of the Gotlands are mitigated in the more congested waters of Northern Europe than the Pacific. For example, the Gotlands can “sprint” up to 20 knots underwater for a brief time, but only a brief time. Their standard underwater speed is 6 knots. Compare to a SSN that can typically do 30 knots underwater, indefinitely. A slow approach and sprint may work fine in the Baltic, but is much less capable in the Pacific.

    That in turn impacts the “easy to detect” argument. Which is at least partial bollocks. Everything I’ve seen says the diesels are quieter than SSN’s underwater, at least at the 6 knot speed (not sure about the sprints). However, if they are on the surface racing to get to a far away patrol zones in the Pacific, they will be much easier to detect than an SSN traveling even faster and completely underwater.

    Everything is a tradeoff. The Gotlands are outstanding designs and the French subs are too. But what works for European seas and even the part of the Indian Ocean India cares about may not be the best choice for an Australian government that wants to be a player (apparently) across the entire Pacific. I’m not saying that being such a player is the right decision for Australia, but if that is what they have decided as park of AUKUS, then SSN’s have their own strengths the diesel-electric can’t match.

  97. flat earth luddite says:

    @Mu Yixiao: @Mu Yixiao:
    Congrats on passing your MRI!

    My experience for 4 years was 90 day MRIs, 180 days PET scans, and CAT scans whenever they got bored. PET is funny, because you get there hours early, and wait in a dark quiet room. Lab tech comes in wearing a bunny suit, lead gumby overcoat, mask, hood, gloves, etc… holding a thermos bottle sized lead container out of which they pull the syringe with radioactive (I presume) dyes which they inject and then… you wait another eon until they wheel you into the tube. While I was happy with the results (killing my cancer), my greatest continuing disappointment was that I never bulked up and turned green. No Hulk? NO SMASH???? WANT HULK! WANT SMASH!!!

    Couldn’t have ever been Capt. America. Too short, too fat, too snarky. You, on the other hand, shoulda been able to pull it off.

  98. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    Do recall that when Corey was having an affair with Hope Hicks, Trump said to her (in the presence of his oldest sons) that she was “the best piece of tail” Corey would ever have.

  99. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Indeed. And he was mystified about how she didn’t seem to understand what a compliment he’d paid her, too, IIRC. Such classy people. 😐

  100. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Neil J Hudelson: Snapping turtle and grits (I think that might have been technically illegal).

    Doubt it. As far as I know, snappers are fair game everywhere they exist. And they sure are tasty.

  101. just nutha says:

    @flat earth luddite: Radio markers must be much different from the kinds of dyes that I’ve had used during CAT scans. They injected the dye in while the machine was whirring and a buzz and a click later they said “okay, we’re done.” But yeah, my previous dye jobs had been inject, wait 30 minutes, get the pix.

  102. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    It’s hard to learn something that has been forgotten.

    I’ve read some histories of WWI, and all treat the flu pandemic as something that happened after the war, not as 1) partly a consequence of the war, and 2) a factor in the last stages of the fight in the Western Front.

    After WWI measures were taken to avoid a similar war in the future. These did not work for various reasons, but they were implemented (League of Nations, Pact of Paris, punitive reparations meant to keep Germany down, etc.*). No similar measures were taken to protect against the next pandemic, even though more people died of H1N1 than WWI.

    Did you know that after the 1918 pandemic there were three other global flu outbreaks in the XX Century that killed over 3 million people between them?

    But what do we remember? That Ford was hurt politically for trying to get ahead of a swine flu pandemic. And even that doesn’t loom large in the historical record vs, say Ford’s pardon of Nixon.

    The next pandemic may or may not be worse than the COVID pandemic, but it will surely be met by a human blank slate.

  103. JohnSF says:

    I’d like to be under the sea, in an SSBNs garden in the shade…

    So, why weren’t the French told, and (perhaps more important) WHO didn’t tell them.
    Who was trying to ameliorate the argument and who was trying to inflame it.

    Why should Australia, and more particularly this Australian PM, decide that the French subs deal must go, when a lot of other Australians think it is a disaster for their defence policy?

    See former (conservative) PM Turnbull I cited in last comment.
    Also former PM Keating:

    “It takes a monster level of incompetence to forfeit military control of one’s own state, but this is what Scott Morrison and his government have managed to do.”

    And former PM Rudd: “… a foreign policy and national security debacle.”

    Rudd called for a parliamentary probe into the decision, stressing that Australian taxpayers needed to know precisely how the decision unfolded and how much it will cost them.

    I would not care to bet a fortune on this deal not getting cancelled after a change of government.

    And who didn’t tell who:
    I have seen in several places reports that Morrison first had the possibility raised “informally” with US Defence Dept contacts in 2020, with David Winter acting as advisor and liason.
    The project was accelerated this year, and Morrison used the UK as a “go between” (why?).

    After the US was informed of Australia’s intention to cancel, and the idea of a “broad deal” replacing it (I suspect this was the UK input) Morrison assured Washington that Australia would contact France and handle the end of the contact, assuring Washington that this was all provided for in the terms of the original agreement.

    Morrison then did NOT contact France.
    In fact on the day of the AUKUS announcement Australia sent a letter to the French government saying all was well with the contract. No wonder they were a wee bit upset!

    So, Morrison had lied to both France and the USA (and almost certainly IMO Johnson knew what was going on, and also aimed to deceive by inaction).
    Which would explain both the sheer fury of France, the initial bafflement of Washington, and the stonewalling about the whole affair by Morrison, who has been determinedly trying to avoid questions about the whole business.

    Now: why should Morrison act this way.
    – Australia has good reason to fear the economic consequences of a US/China confrontation; as mentioned, they are massively dependent on China for markets and for imports. ANZUS Treaty is defensive; but if Australia is tied overtly to a confrontation, it has a much better claim to some alleviation of economic damage.
    – Morrison is known for his decisive/impetous/rash/”bloody headcase” (according to preference) style
    – He is also closely politically linked to News International which has been dead against the French deal from the start
    – Morrison is a Liberal (that is, a conservative) who has consistently backed the coal industry which is 15% of total exports. There has a considerable worry in conservative circles that upcoming climate talks might pressure Australia to cap and then reduce output.
    Be nice to have Biden and Johnson both owing you a favour, eh?

  104. JohnSF says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:
    Yes that’s part of the row in Australia.
    A lot are saying deep-water long range SSNs twent plus years from now might be nice to have.
    But what Australia needs, ASAP, are SSKs capable of interdiction missions in the shallower waters of the Greater East Indies Archipelago.

    And the Shortfin Barracuda/Attack design is very different to the Gotland: it’s near as big as an SSN because the design is based on an SSN, the original Barracuda/Suffren.
    That, and it’s innovative powertrain, are what give it the capability for verging on SSN patrol endurance (albeit not range).

  105. Barry says:

    @Neil J Hudelson: “Snapping turtle and grits (I think that might have been technically illegal).”

    Grits are legal, even up North, if you have cheese on them.

  106. Mister Bluster says:

    Grits and gravy at Cracker Barrel.

  107. flat earth luddite says:


    Grits are legal, even up North, if you have cheese on them.

    They may be legal, but given a choice, I’d prefer poutine. With extra bacon crumbles, please. And hey, don’t skimp on the gravy, eh?

    Which may explain my bronzed, macho-god body physique.

  108. Mu Yixiao says:


    Often an MRI can have negative results

    Which, in this case, would be “Well. It turns out you do not, in fact, have a shoulder.” 🙂

    I have (I discovered last year) a mis-shapen socket in my shoulder. Apparently my warranty ran out this spring because in June something went “ping” and now I’m dealing with excruciating pain when I move it in certain directions–which seem to randomly change.

    When the doc was injecting the anesthetic (and then shoving the big needle in) he asked if I was okay. “Well… I’ve been describing the pain as ‘someone shoving an ice pick into my shoulder socket’, so this is nothing.” And it really was nothing. He was an expert with that anesthetic needle. The part that hurt the worst was the last 5 minutes in the MRI where I had to hold my arm over my head–which causes the bones to grind on the nerves in there.

    The imaging today was to find out just what’s going on in there (X-rays aren’t enough) so we can figure out what the next step is. The weird thing is: If they fix this, that’ll be the only joint that doesn’t hurt. 🙂

  109. JohnSF says:

    Just realised, I missed the bit about who was trying to inflame the argument, and my cynical guess as to why.
    When the row erupted, the US entered damage control mode, trying to ameliorate French anger, and ending with the Biden phone call which offered France a couple of quite valuable concessions, from Paris p.o.v. – “complementarity” in European defence, and logistic assistance in the Sahel, plus direct talks at the end of October, and “reaffirms the strategic importance of French and European engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, including in the framework of the European Union’s recently published strategy for the Indo-Pacific.”


    Who, on the other hand, was reputed to be furious that France had notwithdran the ambassador, and instead was treating him with cold disdain?
    Who thereupon blustered in a TV interview about French “overreaction” and (in deliberately insulting “franglais” demanded that Macron “donnez-moi un break” and “prenez un grip”?
    Why, our own esteemed PM Boris Johnson.
    IMO trying to provoke Macron.

    Why initially, why again?

    Because the UK is inching closer to a confrontation with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol, in order to satiate the desires for a breach of the ultra-Brexiters in the Tory party and press.
    If he could get on the US side of a US/France row, he likely thinks that would give him cover against American displeasure re. the NIP and possible impact on the Good Friday Agreement. And maybe the UK/USA trade deal he so desires as a symbol of brexity triumph for the headbangers.

    I suspect the White House is now fully aware of his clever little game, as he got sent away with flea in his ear on both counts.
    Also, for a variety of reasons, if the RAN does get an off-the-shelf SSN design, it’ll be the Virginia, not the Astute (mainly due to weapons control systems compatibility).
    So bang go any hopes of major contracts; which won’t turn up for decades anyway. (Which the lazy fat fool probably never bothered to check)

  110. JohnSF says:

    And one final – I promise 🙂 – irony on submarines.
    The Barracuda/Attack contracts were not all in the hands of Naval Group, the French element.
    They got a third (of which a fair chunk was to be spent on operations and subcontracts in Australia; which is where some arguments started over location vs cost): design, power and propulsion, life support, control systems, optics, special systems, hull coating, etc.

    And the other two thirds, I hear you ask?
    One third to ASC Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of British Aerospace, for primary hull and interior structure, secondary systems, fixtures and fittings.
    And one third to Lockheed Martin: sensors, weapons systems, weapons control, communications etc.


  111. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    @flat earth luddite:
    Now, I ask a question that’s been hovering in the back of my mind for years: what on earth (or of earth?) are grits?

  112. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: I think our different perspectives on this comes down to the the fact that we rate certain things in the incident at very different levels of importance. For example:
    – I think the most important fact in the whole brouhaha is that five years ago the Australians were opting to go the French way with their Chinese relationship and now they have very publicly made it clear that is over, and they have moved into the American camp.
    – I view that as a very big win for the American State Department
    – I think the subs themselves are almost immaterial, and the relative merits of the technology has nothing to do with the decision
    – I think the French gnashing of teeth has a great deal to do with the fact that they were hopping around the Pacific making a big deal about how the Australians agreed with their vision. And, if past behavior is any indication, they were also making a big deal about how the Australians WEREN’T choosing the American side. How it demonstrated the superiority and sophistication of the French strategy, yada, yada, yada. They essentially elevated the importance of the Australians only to suddenly find their own arguments were suddenly spun 180 degrees and were being used against them.
    – I think the French badly misplayed their hand here, and that the brunt of this rests with them, not with the US/Australia/UK
    – We don’t know how much effort was put into getting the French on board, strategy wise. All we know is that whatever effort was made, it wasn’t successful. And I suspect, but don’t know, that if the French had moved away from their middle path strategy and tried to integrate with the US, we would been happy to let the French deal go forward.
    – I think it is not lost on any diplomats anywhere in the world that the US et al didn’t trust the French enough to give them even an hours warning. And again, I think that is on France and not on us.

    Finally, I think France’s position was badly hurt by the Chinese actions against Australia. Remember, France is telling Australia and everyone else on the Pacific Rim that the Chinese can be managed, that there is no need to appear overly threatening. And, 5-10 years ago, that could have been a convincing argument. But fast forward to today. Australia’s economy is in jeopardy because their politicians made comments about democracy and human rights and China responded by bringing the economic hammer down. What help was following France’s strategy? And what can France do to alleviate that economic hardship? France’s position is suddenly put into a completely different light. To Australia, the French were wrong, and their strategy now seems weak. And, as far as I know, France has not changed their approach in any way given this new China. That is a mistake. If they can’t make changes based on actual events, how much thought has actually gone into this strategy?

    So bottom line, my impression is that this is a major win for the US State Department, it continues the Obama and late-Bush pivot to the Pacific, and to the extent that France is reeling they have only themselves to blame. But, of course, I could be wrong because we know so little about what went on behind closed doors. We don’t know how the countries in the Pacific and in Europe interpret the incident. And our media, even the print power houses, has proven itself completely inadequate in finding any of the important stuff out.

  113. CSK says:

    Ground up corn. Tasteless unless you load them up with cheese or gravy.

  114. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: The first time I traveled to the American South, I was excited to see grits on the menu at a diner. I had seen them mentioned in many a story and article, with them being described in the most glowing terms, but I had no idea what they were. Were they meat? Vegetable? Sweet? Salty? So I ordered some.

    Grits are mush. Porridge. Oatmeal. And, like all those things, are only as good as the other food put in them or on them.

  115. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: I never forget the line from My Cousin Vinny, “No self-respecting Southerner uses instant grits.”

  116. wr says:

    @JohnSF: “Now, I ask a question that’s been hovering in the back of my mind for years: what on earth (or of earth?) are grits?”

    I could give you the easy answer — they’re like polenta — but you would be far better off if you simply watched My Cousin Vinnie, which not only contains much information about grits, but presents it all in a very entertaining package.

  117. wr says:

    @Kylopod: “I never forget the line from My Cousin Vinny, “No self-respecting Southerner uses instant grits.””

    “Did you say you’re a fast cook? That’s it?! Are we to believe that boiling waters soaks into a grit faster in your kitchen than on any place on the face of the earth?! Well perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist on your stove! Were these magic grits? I mean, did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans?!”

  118. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Nonsense! You can put salt and butter on them and they’ll taste like salty butter. 😉

    And in the news, FG’s support among the GQP is tanking. Normally, this would be good news, but in this case… Republican support for former President Donald Trump has quickly declined, leaving him in a virtual tie with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, according to a new poll of 2024 GOP presidential candidates.

    Giant Asteroid 2024! Now more than ever!

  119. JohnMcC says:

    A soldier in Gen Sherman’s army as it marched to the sea was living on large amounts of (looted/liberated) grits. In a letter he described them to his Ohio family this way, ‘imagine lying on your back in a full moon and having moonbeams fill your mouth’. That’s how much taste there is to ‘Georgia ice cream’.

    Now in a spicy cassarole with shrimp….

  120. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Trump will find some way to trash DeSantis.

  121. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Grits may be mush, but they are NOT porridge. Porridge has SUBSTANCE, grits just lie in a smear on the plate. If one used less water and cooked them longer, grits MIGHT turn into POLENTA, but I doubt it. (And the interwebs confirm that doubt–https://difference.guru/difference-between-grits-and-cornmeal/. It appears that the issue is that cornmeal is made from dried corn where as grits are made from some part of fresh corn kernels, but I may not have that right. I’ve always thought that grits were similar to wheat germ cereal, but apparently, that’s not the case in that grits don’t have any of the germ in them.)

  122. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Root for casualties? Injury, Injury, Rah rah rah!

  123. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnMcC: Why ruin perfectly good shrimp by cooking them with grits when you can make jambalaya–and actual food product?

  124. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Bolton’s PAC? Maybe it’s right, but Bolton kind of really hates the Orange Ass, because he was intent on ending one war and wouldn’t let him invade Venezuela.

    As to grits, I recall trying them one time at a buffet in Vegas, maybe around 2008-10. I don’t recall where it was, but for some reason I remember they were near soups (it must have been the Rio). I don’t have any memory of how it tasted.

  125. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: “Tasteless unless you load them up with cheese or gravy.” The only time I’ve ever eaten grits was the day Ken Hutcherson–linebacker for the Seahawks back in the day–made them for our Friday morning men’s breakfast at the church he and I attended back before he established his own church. Somebody (it may have been me, I really don’t remember) made a comment about grits and gravy, and he replied that eating gravy or cheese on grits was an abomination created by Northern white folks and that we were going to eat them the authentic Southern way with just salt, pepper, and butter on them (he even bought butter for them as we normally served margarine). I’ve never had the occasion or the desire to eat them again. (And I don’t get poutine, either, but it is light years ahead of grits.)

  126. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: “I don’t have any memory of how it tasted.”

    Yes! Exactly right. Quintessentially forgettable flavor!

  127. gVOR08 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: They taste like wallpaper paste. They basically are wallpaper paste.

  128. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I had grits once when i was 9 or 10 and had zero desire to repeat the experience. And I was the kind of kid who loved oysters on the half shell, Roquefort cheese, and Kalamata olives.

  129. Jax says:

    I love me some grits. Highly salted, peppered, and buttered, flop some over-easy eggs over it and break the bacon up on top……it’s like being back in my Granny’s kitchen when I was a kid.

    That was back before I became allergic to eggs. (Serious sad-face)

  130. @Jax: Yep, butter salt and pepper are my preferred way to eat them (but some good cheese grits can be great).

    I can understand why some people might not like them, but it sounds like a lot of people have had them prepared badly (not that they are all that hard to prepare).

  131. @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Why ruin perfectly good shrimp by cooking them with grits

    Shrimp and grits can be extremely tasty. (And you don’t cook the shrimp with the grits).

    If one can understand rice as part of a broader dish, even though rice by itself is pretty boring, then it isn’t that big a leap to see how grits might serve such a function.

  132. Next time one is at a good restaurant on the gulf coast, give the shrimp and grits a try.

  133. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I had my first and last dose of grits at a restaurant in Georgia. Never again.

  134. @CSK: Taste is an individual thing, so fair, of course.