A New Forum for a New Week

Happy Monday.

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. SenyorDave says:

    According to the esteemed Lindsay Graham the DOJ is accessing info from Rudy Giuliani to help conduct an investigation into Hunter Biden’s activities. So the DOJ is now an arm of the Trump campaign. Graham was sounded gleeful when I heard him.

  2. Teve says:


    This Fox Nation ad for “Freedom to Laugh,” a conservative comedy special, is one of the worst things I have ever seen.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    The days are winding down and my window to make a decision as to who to vote for in the NH primary is closing. Early on I eliminated Biden due to his age and phantasmagorical belief that taking us back to 2014 was the answer to our countries needs, Bernie due to age, policy statements and my belief he wouldn’t accomplish anything due to his my way or the highway attitude. Not to forget he’d probably cause a down ticket slaughter. Tulsi was eliminated, cause, well she’s a bit crazy.

    Early on I wanted Warren, but the way she flubbed the DNA testing fiasco and kept digging herself deeper into the hole had me thinking she wasn’t ready for a presidential campaign. Then a few things occurred, she found a way to explain away the Indian ancestry claims in a manner that the average voter could accept, she seemed to have a knack for breaking down complex issues into understandable concepts (Obama could have used that skill), though she is kind of school marmish. Lastly she had PLANS, that appealed greatly to wonk in me. So I climbed back on the Warren bandwagon only to have my fears about her be realized.

    First she’s a sucker for virtue signaling in a way that hold little appeal for the broader group voters. An example being her introduction of a going no where bill to strip Congressional accolades from a pair of frontier era generals. I realize she is still trying to neutralize the Pocahontas attacks and hopes the receive tribal endorsements, but do most voters really care?

    Her advocacy of Medicare for All showed poor judgement and her plan to pay for it, well… I recognize her people made the math work, if, you accepted the premises. But didn’t anyone realize that she’d be savaged when it was released for those same premises? If her mea culpa, that she’d got to M4A in steps, could have diffused the response, if she had initially advocated a two step plan. Finally I came to the conclusion she can’t win.

    Pete has much to admire, but I’ve felt he is too inexperienced, so I had more or less put him aside and focused on Amy.

    There was a lot to like about her, but the result wasn’t adding up to the sum of her advantages. The rumor of a late surge in Iowa had me thinking that perhaps, she’d be the one. Well she may have surged but not enough. Supposedly she’s surging in NH, but me thinks it is too late. Amy for VP

    Besides beating Tiny another consideration has entered my calculus, stopping Bernie. NH tracking polls show Bernie at the top with a surging Pete and a fading Biden. Some polls are showing Pete leading. At the moment job 1 is stopping Bernie. I don’t want to see Corbyn redux and as a young man I worked on the McGovern campaign, and as horrible as Nixon was, I’d take him over Trump. Bernie is a guarantee of 4 more years of Tiny.

    Pete is getting my vote.

    Unless I change my mind in the next 24 hours.

  4. Scott says:

    Another dose of reality. Please take a moment to reflect.

    The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

    Both soldiers died February 8, 2020 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of wounds sustained while engaged in combat operations. The incident is under investigation.

    The deceased are:

    Sgt. 1st Class* Javier Jaguar Gutierrez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas.

    Sgt. 1st Class* Antonio Rey Rodriguez, 28, of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

    Both soldiers were assigned to 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

    For more information regarding Sgt. 1st Class Gutierrez and Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez, media may contact Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, Public Affairs Chief, US Army Special Operations Command, at 910-432-3383 or lo*********@so***.mil.

    * indicates posthumous promotion


    Additional info on hometown boy: 28, married, father of 4.


  5. Mikey says:


    So the DOJ is now an arm of the Trump campaign.

    This has been true since AG Barr’s confirmation.

  6. Kathy says:

    Re-reading 1984 after decades is an interesting experience. I did remember most of it, and quite accurately. But I’m finding some things in Goldstein’s Book which, though I recalled, seem more relevant today.

    It’s eerie to see that someone, namely Eric Blair, was thinking about inequality back in the late 40s, when the book was written. This comes in chapter III of the fictional book, entitled War is Peace. the tendency is to focus on the continuous war aspects he describes, rather than on the reasons for it.

    The reasons are to maintain inequality and to keep people from making a fuss about it.

    And the reason to maintain inequality is to keep a hierarchical structure in society, with the people at the top exercising all the power, while people in the middle and bottom have none.

    This sounds a bit too similar to today, no? We don’t have continuous war on purpose, true, but other ways have been found to maintain inequality.

    Blair called the political system in his fictional future Oligarchical Collectivism. This is not what we have, but we’re not too far from a kind of Oligarchical Capitalism.

  7. Kathy says:

    On aviation news, over the weekend one David Neeleman announced his startup airline will be called “Breeze Airways,” and will likely begin service near the end of this year, using E-195 jets leased from the Brazilian airline Azul. By 2021 Breeze will receive new A220-300 planes.

    Neeleman is perhaps the most prolific airline entrepreneur of all time. He launched Morris Air in the 80s, which was acquired by Southwest. then he launched WestJet in Canada, Jet Blue in the US, and Azul (see above) in Brazil. Quite a track record.

    The model for Breeze is non-stop flights between medium-sized cities lacking non-stop flights. Thus far, Neeleman has not even provided examples of which cities these may be.

    What caught my eye, though, was an interview in Airways News, where he says Breeze has plans to “help” pilots reach the magic 1,500 hour number. That’s the flight time experience needed for a commercial pilot license (I think, it may be for a type certificate). Why? Because there is a pilot shortage. another thing he mentioned, though suggested by the interviewer, was raiding the current regional airline s(most of which fly on behalf of the Big Three), for experienced commercial pilots, by offering them better prospects.

  8. Teve says:

    The Treasury Department has released all of Hunter Biden’s financial records in response to a request by a Republican-led Senate Committee, after refusing to release Trump’s tax records in response to a House Democratic committee — even though it is specifically required by law that they release someone’s taxes if that committee requests it.

    So the president now gets to use the treasury department to help get reelected. Cool, cool.

  9. Moosebreath says:


    I am sure Senator Collins will be piping up soon to tell everyone how chastised the President was by impeachment, amiright?

  10. Teve says:

    Matt Schlapp says that banning Romney from CPAC was a benevolent move, because Romney probably wouldn’t be physically safe at CPAC.

    Hillary was 100% right about these assholes.

  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    Do you know about JSX? They’re a limited, west coast operation that runs small, all-business Embraer jets out of remote sites at the far end of various airports – Burbank, Oakland, Napa, etc… You show up 30 minutes ahead of time, no metal detectors, no lines, hop on and fly.

  12. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’ve heard of a few airlines flying an all-business jet fleet, be they small regional airliners, or more conventional private jets.

    They sound very nice and very convenient, and very expensive.

  13. CSK says:

    I don’t know if you’ve seen the photo (at http://www.nymag.com and elsewhere) showing a distinct line of demarcation between Trump’s orange make-up and his naturally pasty-pallid facial skin, but it’s worth a look.

  14. Kathy says:


    I don’t know whether you know, but orange makeup is very good at hiding blemishes, particularly dark ones. Only it’s often worn under a more natural-looking shade.

    On a completely unrelated matter, is there a venereal disease that produces ugly, discolored facial markings or scars? Asking for an enemy.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:



  16. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Thank you for sharing your analysis. I really don’t want Sanders to be able to claim a NH primary victory, and yep right now Pete is looking like the only one who can stop that from happening here.

    This race will change dramatically after SC. Buttigieg will come in a distant third or even fourth there, and then Super Tuesday will propel someone else to the forefront. Sanders’ supporters just don’t seem to understand how desperately Republicans WANT to run against him.

  17. Kathy says:

    Might I presume to poll the company for financial advice?

    It seems I do.

    Anyway, what seems to me to be the essential aspects of long(ish) term savings is compound interest, coupled with a high enough interest rate. To this purpose, it would seem to follow that a bond that pays monthly interests is a better option, unless the rate falls.

    So, long story short, I have these two options:

    1) A short-term bond, called Cete (CErtificado de TEsosreria), which matures at either 28, 91, 182, or 364 days and pays interests monthly. To start off, I invested in a 91-day one at 7.11%. This was in mid-January. To add capital monthly, I’m subscribed for a fixed amount each first of the month for a 28-day bond. This one had a rate of 6.99%. Both reinvest interests and capital back into similar bonds. But, as illustrated, the rates can rise or fall.

    2) A medium-term bond called Udibono (call it Judy for short, and because it sounds cute), which pays 3.21% plus inflation (nominated in UDIs, meaning Unidades de Inversion, aka Investment Units). This one matures in 3 years, and pays interests every six months. With inflation forecast at 4% for this year, that’s a good deal. But compounding the interest is harder.

    So what I thought I’d do is keep going as I am, see 1), but take the interests of both bonds at three months and put them in a Judy. After that, see how the short-term rates move, or don’t move, and add to the long-term Judies from time to time.

    I’m not trying to “beat” the bond market, or to predict the future(*). Just to hedge enough long term.

    What is it about investment that draws your attention in anyway?

    (*)If I could predict the future, I’d predict lottery winners only.

  18. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..What is it about investment that draws your attention in anyway?

    APPL Dec. 19, 2000 $1.00/share…yesterday’s close $320.03
    (No. I never bought Apple stock. I do have 4 of their fine computers.)

    NFLX Mar. 18, 2005 $3.03/share…Feb 3, 2020 close $366.77
    (Never bought Netflix either. I do pay them $4.99/month for 2 DVD’s in the mail.)

    You can flip coins, consult tea leaves or read these guys, FOOL!

  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    Ezra has his Krugman tee-shirt on today and is dispensing harsh realities.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:


    If Bernie weren’t in the race, I’d be torn between Liz and Amy, but given my concerns, I’d go w/Amy. As of this AM Pete is the only one with a shot at beating Bernie so a vote for him does more to potentially hurt Bernie that for a different candidate.

    Sometimes it suck to be aware of the politics and lose the joy of simply falling in love with a candidate.

  21. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Besides beating Tiny another consideration has entered my calculus, stopping Bernie.

    Welcome to the treehouse. Hobbes will issue your badge and passwords.

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    How to double your losses.
    Not long after I started visiting the then new Buffalo Wild Wings in town 11 years ago the stock was hovering at $30/share. No dividend. No buy.
    Wings sold to a private investnent firm sometime in the last two years or so for $150+/share.
    In the meantime the price of traditional chicken wings on the menu that I can’t give up has increased at least 100%.
    Chicken wings are my life.

  23. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy: Of those two options, Judy is safer. The combination of longer term and inflation protection is nice. The only downside would be that you might be missing a better opportunity in the intervening years — but it doesn’t sound like you are too concerned about that.

    If I had a way to get a guaranteed 3.2% plus inflation for three years, I would put a chunk of cash in it immediately.

    (I used to spend a lot of time researching investments and choosing stocks. I long ago decided that I needed to either be much better at it or enjoy it more for it to be worth my time. Robots choose most of my investments now.)

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    The thing is they aren’t that expensive. Burbank to Oakland round trip is ~200 non-refundable, ~350 for a ticket you can change at will for free. Coach on Jet Blue is $438 at the moment, non-refundable

  25. Kathy says:



    If I had a way to get a guaranteed 3.2% plus inflation for three years, I would put a chunk of cash in it immediately.

    I suppose you could buy Judies here through a broker in the US. these days, so I gather, all sorts of bonds are sold all over the world.

    the upside is Mexico’s inflation tends to be higher than America’s. the downside is the peso tends to devalue against the dollar.

    I guess if this was so simple, Wall St. would just be an odd street in Manhattan.

  26. Michael Reynolds says:

    People are selling Bloomberg short. I said it when he first announced (to much scorn.) I have him at #3 in the national race.

    IA, NH, SC and NV have very few delegates between them, and those delegates will be split at least three ways. So going into Super Tuesday we’re likely to have a fatally weakened Biden, Buttigieg as the choice of older intellectuals and Bernie as a guy guaranteed to ensure we don’t take the Senate and may well lose the House.

    And there, waiting for this cavalcade of the inadequate: Bloomberg and his billions and his experience. There was a piece in the Daily Beast to the effect that black voters – rather more strategic than many white voters – may be looking to Bloomberg.

    I don’t share the knee-jerk Dem reaction to billionaires. If I’m drowning I don’t need to perform a wallet biopsy on anyone throwing me a life jacket.

  27. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Is that sustainable? I know there is no such thing as a standard air fare, not really.

    Still, Does jet Blue fly Burbank to Oakland, or LAX to SFO? there’s also the matter of frequencies. If you lose your flight, what options do you have? Frequencies are important for business travel because 1) if you miss your flight or if it’s cancelled, you may still make it on the next flight; and 2) you can pick the most convenient arrival time (at least sometimes).

    That’s why business travelers avoid low cost carriers, and are willing to pay extra for the legacy airlines.

  28. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I haven’t seen it reported, but as the military fly bigger, more expansive, but fewer planes, they probably feed fewer pilots into the commercial system. A bit of trivia is that many years ago the Federal Reserve provided a lot of hours for new pilots. They had a lot of fly by night, literally, contractors moving cancelled paper checks around the country overnite. IIRC, combined they’d have been the second largest Air Force in the world.

  29. de stijl says:

    I have a strong attraction to reality competition shows.

    I like The Rap Game, Forged In Fire, and Project Runway. Oh, and The Great British Bake Off.

    I don’t know why I like them, I know fuck-all about what they are doing.

    I like The Rap Game because no one gets voted off just ranked. Deetranda is my girl.

    Project Runway suffers in its current state because no Tim Gunn. Tim Gunn is the motherfuckin boss. I would pay good money to stream Tim Gunn and Tom Colicchio driving around in a RV looking at stuff and kvetching.

    Forged In Fire. Doug Freakin Marcaida. This, Sir, will kill. He is so cool. He is so fucking dorky. He amuses me to no end.

  30. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    I like The Rap Game, Forged In Fire, and Project Runway. Oh, and The Great British Bake Off.

    Forged in Fire and The Great British Bake-Off are the two great tastes that go great together. (Boar carcasses are so much more satisfying than ballistics dummies.) Now I want a baking competition in which the bakers first forge their own pots and pans, modeled after historical cookware described by David Baker. (Battle of the goatees with Paul Hollywood.)

    I’m also inordinately fond of Penn and Teller: Fool Us.

  31. de stijl says:


    I briefly interacted with Teller.

    I was having a smoke. I was not paying attention, I was in my own head, and dude with a Dayton’s bag walked by so I gave him the nod and said “Hey” just to be polite. He said “Hey” back.

    He was walking away when my brain figured out that was Teller and just spurted out “You’re supposed to be mute”, he turned around and gave me the Shh sign.

    That was pretty fucking cool.

  32. Mike in Arlington says:
  33. de stijl says:

    There is a judge on forged in fire who goes full kilt now and again.

    The beefy American guy.

    I like that confidence and just go for it mentality.

    Man is a boss. Don’t explain shit. Just do.

  34. Kathy says:


    In his book, “Cockpit Confidential,” Patrick Smith details the steps to get to be a commercial pilot. His blog, Ask The Pilot, has more information. Briefly, you need any college degree, a pilot’s license, and a minimum number of flight hours in experience (it’s 1,500 now, I think it was lower some years back).

    Military pilots have an edge, true, because they get training, flight time, and some a college degree, on the military’s dime.

    The bottom line is that it requires a large initial investment, student loans, and a lot of time. besides, most pilots will start off flying cargo, or at regional airlines.

    The problem, as I’ve read about here and there in aviation blogs, is that the move from regional to mainline carriers is harder now. So faced with low prospects, fewer people get into commercial aviation. Last year one of the major airlines in the US, announced plans to guarantee pilots a mainline job if they few for their regional affiliates. I forget which it was. But this was like BIG news.

    Also, air travel has been growing like crazy. So lots of pilots wind up flying in Asia or the middle East, where the money also seems better.

  35. Jen says:

    @Mike in Arlington: Biden will get a boost in SC, which the media will treat as a “real”* state, and then he’ll go on to have solid numbers on Super Tuesday.

    Biden, like the Black Knight, is not dead yet. Iowa? ‘Tis but a flesh wound.

    (*I am both understanding of the criticisms of NH’s lack of diversity, and deeply sick of hearing how we shouldn’t be first because we aren’t reflective of the country. That could be true of almost any state, depending on how you choose to define what is typical. Urban vs. rural, numbers of rich and poor, higher ed vs. GEDs, etc. )

  36. de stijl says:

    I do the nod chin up. I’m walking. You are walking other direction. I briefly meet your eyes, chin up, and either “Hey” or “Yo”.

    Some guys do the bob. Head down motion. That’s fancy.

    Both are perfectly acceptable.

    A smart undergrad could do a project on how men unknown to each other greet one another on the street. There are a lot of variables.

  37. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I got Teller’s autograph in Vegas back in 2008, after his show at the Rio. Both he and Penn hang out by the exit and sign autographs, pose for selfies, and answer a few questions.

    I asked Teller a really stupid question about Babylon 5 (they guest-starred as comedy duo Rebo and Zooty in one ep). I forget what it was. he said something like “I wasn’t involved with that.”

    BTW he’s spoken in other shows. Not on B5, but he did when they were on The Simpsons (looooong ago), and more recently when he guest-starred as Amy’s dad in The Big Bang Theory.

  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    My one famous relative is Teller. His mother is sister to my grandmother. Met him once. We didn’t like each other much.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Is this the “Biden gaffe” people have been looking for?


  40. de stijl says:


    I met Joan Jett once. I fucking love her.

    She was directly behind me in line at a coffee shop. I noticed when I turned around.

    My opening line was “You’re Joan Jett.” It just popped out. So embarrassing. She was gracious, thankfully.

    Wow, she is striking woman to see. She is flat-out gorgeous.

    Decades ago, I poured beer during a show where she headlined. So many beers. I ended up in a puddle of beer and mud, scurrying to and fro.

    Joan Jett is amazing.

  41. Jen says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Oh, good grief.

    It’s probably not a fatal gaffe, but good grief, so much wrong with that. First, calling a voter (at one of your events! possibly a supporter!) a liar is a bad look. Second, did he really think a 21 year-old college student would get a John Wayne movie reference?!???

    Sh!t like this makes me think he’s trying to lose, and lose badly.

  42. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Interesting. I knew he and Penn didn’t interact socially but figured that since the latter was a giant of a man who never seemed to have learned that shouts and angry only works for people on the smaller side, I figured the fault lay there. But maybe it’s Teller who’s the a-hole. Or both.

  43. de stijl says:


    B5 buddies. Represent!

  44. de stijl says:


    Penn is an interesting person.

    More Libertarian than me. His choice.

    He’s kinda a dick, but an interesting one.

  45. de stijl says:


    Have you read Down And Out In Paris And London?

    It is not a polemic. It describes being super poor. What you do to eat and heat.

  46. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Joan Jett is one of my favorites, beyond her well-known hits.

  47. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    When you are in a situation when you don’t have access to a working oven or range, having a hot meal is a really big deal. Cold sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner gets old so fast.

    Having a chair to sit up off the floor is a really big deal. Being warm is a really big deal.

  48. Bill says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    My one famous relative is Teller.

    The most famous person I am related to is somebody nicknamed Cat Man.

  49. Bill says:

    My Florida State House Representative is missing. Can you help find him-


  50. de stijl says:


    This shall not go unremarked.

    You put thought and skill into a totally unsolicited comment about new developments in aviation.

    I noticed.

  51. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    It’s kind of you to say. It was a bit disjointed, and hurried, as are most of my posts at work.

    But, really, it is nothing. You can get me going on my hobby at any time. My hobby, I’ve realized recently, is learning about things that interest me. This mostly means science, history, aviation, space travel, science fiction, politics, and lately finance.

  52. de stijl says:


    Curiosity is the best trait.

    Dig in. Share.

  53. Kurtz says:


    Do you have evidence that it is Ukraine that is dragging Biden’s campaign down? Do you have evidence that early frontrunners typically cruise to the nomination? Do you have any idea what the left’s arguments are or do you filter them through your own lens?

    On the first question specifically, even if you can find a poll that cites Ukraine as the primary reason for Biden’s struggles, it only supports your position if the question directly asks if the respondent believes that Biden’s actions in Ukraine were corrupt.

    The reason for that is simple–after the Comey letter in ’16, there is a credible reason to worry about Biden’s chances in the general without believing he is corrupt–the baggage of an unsubstantiated scandal is a reason to pick someone else. Even if the bags are empty, it is too large a risk that they will tip the scales enough for him to lose.

    You are not as smart as you think you are. Either sharpen your arguments or go to the Hill to fight with people on your intelligence level. Around here, you’re like Gary.

  54. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Kurtz: he doesn’t. Check the links I posted above.

  55. @Kurtz: What I find funny about Guarneri’s argument (at least as best as I can decipher it) is that it proves that Trump was soliciting something of value from the Ukrainians and that the impeachment was justified and that Trump should have been removed for trying to leverage his office for personal gain.

    After all, if some innuendo has led to Joe’s collapse, then what would have announcements from Ukraine have done?

  56. @Kathy: Zoot zoot!

  57. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Ok. If you had the propellant/fuel-oxidizer to accelerate constantly at 1 g (32 feet per second per second), you could land on the Moon within four hours. You could reach Pluto in a month and a half.

    The odd thing is you’d spend half the trip speeding up and the other half slowing down. It seems so counter-intuitive, but with limited fuel/propellant (ha!), it’s the most efficient way to traverse space. besides, you’d be at normal Earth surface gravity the whole trip.

    I don’t think it’s possible. Perhaps with a fusion drive and a ramscoop to gather hydrogen from interplanetary space, but that’s chancy. Perhaps one of the mythical “reactionless drives” so common in science fiction.

    An ion drive, and at least one has been tested, could deliver constant thrust and acceleration for months, but only a small fraction of g.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Well yeah, but that’s just because there’s nothing funny about conservatives.

  59. de stijl says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I am impressed that a host checks out the open thread and contributes. Seriously impressed. Color me impressed.

    In more important news, my across the street neighbors got new lights to bracket their front door.

    Lights that cycle thru the color wheel. Occasionally blink.

    It’s discordant and should not be. I want to fire bomb them. I won’t, but I def want to. They can’t see it because they are inside their house. I can see, and it is an abomination.

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: When I looked at a trip that I would be likely to be interested in taking (Portland, OR, to Seattle), the “hop on” (no frills/cancellation/bonus miles) fare was not any more than taking Amtrak up. And Boeing Field is a much more convenient landing spot than SeaTac. This would be workable for me if only the Amtrak Station wasn’t walking distance from my apartment and PDX wasn’t 50+ miles away. But the point still is that the fares don’t look like boutique service fares (unless you want that, of course–the “first class” fare was just over 5 times the hop on.)

  61. de stijl says:


    You are assuming live astronauts on board. Replace humans with cameras and sensors and the equation get simpler. Slingshot that sucker around the solar system for years. No one cares about time anymore.

    What’s your take on Interstellar? I would watch any Christpher Nolan movie. Memento was the first DVD I ever bought.

    Jessica Chastain was great. The girl who played younger version was super great. Astonishingly so. McConaughey did fine. A feral take. Bill Irwin as the voice of TARS was really noteworthy.

    Mackenzie Foy is the actress that played Murph as a kid. That girl is a phenomenon.

    I had no clue that Ellen Burstyn was old Murph until probably third watch through.

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: If it helps any, I didn’t get the John Wayne reference, and I’m 67! Then again, I’ve never been a John Wayne fan. I think I’ve seen one of his movies, from about 1936 or so, and he was in a supporting role, not the star.

  63. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I do like travelling on trains.

    Europeans do not realize their treasure. If you going Munich to Berlin it is easily my best choice.

    Here, where the distances are longer, trains make less sense. If you’re in the I95 corridor it works. The infrastructure is there. And they run trains often enough.

    I did a trip from Thunder Bay to Vancouver via Banff in a sleeper. That was so fun. Canada has a nice rail system.

    If I want go to Minneapolis now, I have to route through Chicago. There is no reason not to drive or fly.

  64. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Does Netflix still do that? Send you DVDs in the mail, I mean.

    That is old school cool.

    I get you. I am sort of uncomfortable with the concept of ownership in a strictly streaming construct.

    When my laptop died, it took me weeks to recover. All the passwords I wrote down somewhere years ago were not auto remembered anymore. Friggin Gmail was the worst. I eventually gave up and created a new account.

    I recommend thinking about a password storage service. It can save you so much time if a device dies and you are trying to reconstruct your life.

    This account was created with a different IP adress. Please re-enter your password.


  65. An Interested Party says:

    Health care is still a very potent issue that Democrats would be wise to emphasize…

  66. Mister Bluster says:

    February is Black History Month

    “The civil rights movement wasn’t easy for anybody.”
    ― Sammy Davis Jr.

  67. Teve says:

    Prosecutors are telling the judge that 7 to 9 years in prison should be good for Roger Stone. And it occurred to me, maybe we should want to re-elect Trump. He’s gotten more Republicans put in jail than anybody. 😀

  68. Tyrell says:

    The television viewership for last night’s Academy Awards was the lowest ever, down twenty percent from last year. There is a message in there somewhere. Few people could tell you which picture won best picture.
    My top give best pictures:
    “Lawrence of Arabia”
    “Ben Hur”
    “Gone With the Wind”
    “In the Heat of the Night”
    What does the Academy have against comedies?

  69. Jax says:

    @de stijl: I wish we had trains that came through my town that carried passengers and not coal. Our closest “depot”, per se, is about 80 miles away….and if there was a passenger train that would take me somewhere for a quick weekend, I would do it.

    That said, I have a friend who works on the railroad, and his entire facebook feed is some of the most amazing art he’s seen painted on trains. There are truly some unknown geniuses out there who deserve showered with millions and art shows in the finest galleries, and somehow they ended up painting on trains.

    I understand the freedom of it, but damn….talent like that….

  70. de stijl says:


    I have a bone to pick with you.

    You hyped World Party to me last week.

    I now have an earworm of Put The Message In The Box.

    Specifically the breakdown bit where they do

    The world says give a little bit /
    A little bit of your love to me

    running in my head on repeat forever.

    It’s not a bad bone to pick. It is a freakishly great song. *Now stuck in my brain on repeat.*

    I once declined an invite to The ABBA touring show, whatever it is called. The songs are too damn catchy. One will get stuck and I will be insane for the next week or so. Went to the pre-party, toasted everybody off to an enjoyable night.

    I have thought about the Frankie Valli show. Sorry, I forgot to say And The Four Seasons. That would be dangerous, the likelihood of catching an earworm is very high.

  71. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    You are assuming live astronauts on board.

    Yes, of course. Eventually we’ll go and colonize the Solar System, if we can figure out a shield for radiation.

    I hate to disappoint you, I’ve never seen Interstellar.

  72. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..Does Netflix still do that?

    Fooled You! 2.7 million as of April 2019.

  73. de stijl says:


    Kim Stanley Robinson in The Mars Trilogy used water as a radiation shield. I don’t have the educational background to gauge that as effective. I assume so, because Robinson tried very hard to get the science right. I like the Sax arc and Nadia.

    Interstellar is worth a watch. Depending on your stomach for McConaghey. It’s a Nolan film, so that means something. The sound work and music is stunning. There is a young actress who will blow you away. The denouement is a stretch. A lot of people have issues with the last act especially.

  74. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Thank you!

    I never would have guessed that. That is very interesting.

    I am not judging, you be you, but you are aware of streaming services, yes?

  75. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: Many years ago, I worked at a large company with open mail bins on every floor. My friend would fish out the Netflix envelopes, take them home, rip the DVDs, reseal them and then drop them into a mailbox on his way to work the next day. He had an amazing library of terrible movies.

  76. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: If you fear earworms, never learn an instrument. it starts simply enough, with whatever you are learning stuck in your head, but the way you listen changes too, so lots of things get stuck.

    I’m now cursed to walk through life recognizing songs in Muzak now, and inflict this upon others. “Is that an operatic version of Bridge Over Troubled Water?”

    I’ve made peace with the constant earworms.

  77. Gustopher says:


    What does the Academy have against comedies?

    Are you sure “Lawrence of Arabia” isn’t a comedy? Sure, it’s a dry comedy, but it takes place in a desert!

  78. de stijl says:


    I know two instruments. Well, one and a half. Maybe one and a quarter. Enough keyboard to fool a drunk, stoned crowd when it was required.

    Plus we weren’t very good. It was DIY punk bullshit with the only decent stuff we had was derivative and cribbed from songs we liked.

    We got marginally better, but still sorta sucked. It was fun, though.

    The worst earworm I ever had was intensely disruptive. For almost a month.

    I’m not even going to say what it was. A really catchy pop song from The Jackson 5. It was brutal.

    Nowadays, if I catch an earworm, I just try to overwhelm it with different catchy songs. Sometimes that backfires and I end up with a new one. It’s a dodgy system, but I don’t a better alternative.

  79. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..you are aware of streaming services

    My initial Netflix subscription was 5 (?) DVD’s a month for $9.99 (?)/month. Streaming was added for no extra charge when it began. I used it to watch Law and Order reruns. A few years ago I restructured my entertainment budget since my fixed income (Social Security and a small pension) is fixed, my part time job cut back on jobs available and basic expenses have increased. Not to mention the price of chicken wings.
    My current Netflix, 2 DVD’s a month, no streaming/$4.99 is not even available to new subscribers.

  80. Tyrell says:

    @An Interested Party: The candidates seem to ignore or have forgot about the Affordable Health Plan. It is still going and doing well. Some changes were made so that more people can afford it.
    Sanders wants to make everyone go on Medicare. Everyone that is except him members of the Senate and House. So he would have people lose their employee plan, which is superior to Medicare and a major job benefit. And people would no longer be allowed to purchase health insurance in the private market? How crazy is that? Medicare is okay, but there is a lot it does not pay for. And some doctors don’t take it. There are some good supplements that can be purchased. Everyone on Medicare would result in shortages of doctors, long waits for appointments, and less services. Gone would be the days of dropping in without an appointment for a sore throat or sprain.

  81. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    I’m not even going to say what it was. A really catchy pop song from The Jackson 5.

    Dammit, that was enough. I need to go listen to some Scarlatti or something to get it out of my head now.

  82. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    I haven’t read that one, either. But, sure, water would work as a radiation shield. The problem is the mass of water you need would be huge, and so would be the fuel or propellant necessary to carry it.