Columbus Day Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Far from Tesla’s US megafactories and China’s mass production lines, a quiet electric vehicle revolution is under way in an unlikely location.

    Entrepreneurs in the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo have created affordable battery- and solar-powered vehicles adapted from golf carts and inspired by drag racing to overcome the country’s chronic fuel shortages and power outages.
    “It was heavy, it was slow and it was cumbersome. The only interesting thing was that it had an electric battery – and that didn’t last long,” Pradelli says.

    As with drag cars, the first step was to make the cart’s boxy body as lightweight and aerodynamic as possible by removing material. Recycled materials like sheet metal from fridges were used to develop a body with less drag, an anti-roll bar was fitted to make it more manoeuvrable, and most importantly, the sluggish golf cart’s batteries and motors were souped up.

    The electric carts now reach speeds of up to 40km an hour and can travel 60-100km with up to four passengers on a six-hour charge.

    Caribe Carros are the product of the problem-solving ability that Venezuelans have developed to overcome the myriad challenges of everyday life in the Caribbean nation, says José Citron, a renewable energy expert who has partnered with Pradelli to fit solar panels to the vehicles.

    “There was no fuel, drastic power outages were leaving us without electricity for up to six hours a day, and there was a pandemic so we couldn’t go out. All of this together made us creative,” Citron says.

    The pair also drew on the resourcefulness needed to get by in today’s Venezuela, where shortages of everything from eggs and water to cars and motor parts have contributed to the largest refugee crisis in the history of the Americas.

    The chassis is recycled, the motor is scavenged from golf buggies and nearly all the other parts from the dashboard to the speedometer and disc brakes are taken from motorcycles.

    The team of seven are refining a hybrid model with a roof-mounted solar panel that extends the duration of the car’s charge cycle. At speeds of up to 11km/h it can power itself endlessly, as long as the intense Maracaibo sun is out, Pradelli says.

    Eat your heart out, Elon.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    I only have vague recollections of Columbus Day in my grade school, but I don’t remember any discussion of anything beyond the voyages themselves. Recitations of the ships, and the landing places and the dates. I wonder if that was because even grade school textbook writers knew what a POS he was and the damage he did.

    As I got older I vaguely became aware that Columbus was a point of pride in the Italian American community, which had been disparaged and discriminated against for generations. The local Little Italy community here in Baltimore put up a statue of him some time back as a way of saying, “Italy and Italians have done important things!” During the racial protests a couple of years ago the police stood by while it was dragged down, broken and thrown into the harbor.

    I find the moral dynamics a difficult thing to wrap my head around. And the same thing repeats itself again and again, all over the country and the world. The Lost Cause and the Northern Ireland Protestants glorifying and taking pride in the genocidal Oliver Cromwell come to mind.

  3. Lounsbury says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Golf carts are nothing actual electric car makers are competing against. Relevant to state collapse in Venezuela perhaps but nothing Tesla nor any other serious car maker has any concern about (taking the breathless non-engineering journalism at face value, which is unwise for serious evaluation). Has then fuck all for relevance to Musk, Telsa or really anything but Venezuelan state collapse.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Lounsbury: WHOOSH! Missed my point entirely. With out his emerald mine head start, Elon would be nothing more than a used car salesman, where as these guys are creating something with little more than grit and elbow grease. Musk is just a grifter.

  5. MarkedMan says:


    Musk is just a grifter

    Musk is showing increasing signs of mania and perhaps drug use bordering on addiction, but he is not just a grifter. He created the first viable major new car company in North America in more than a century, despite many, many attempts. And he created the first private rocket launch company, going from a billionaires hobby to the backbone of the US launch capability in less than two decades. Musk has a lot of negatives, and we may be witnessing a self destructive spiral, but he is not “just a grifter”.

    Other than that, I give a thumbs up to your reply to Lounsbury.

  6. Jon says:

    @MarkedMan: Elon bought in to Tesla (early), he did not create it.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @Jon: Volumes could be written (and no doubt will be) on whether Tesla would have gone anywhere without Musk. Bear in mind that the terrain is littered with dozens of failed auto company startups over the past century, many with more funding and more auto industry expertise than Tesla had when Musk bought into it.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: From Wiki:

    Tesla was incorporated in July 2003 by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning as Tesla Motors. The company’s name is a tribute to inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla. In February 2004, via a $6.5 million investment, Elon Musk became the largest shareholder of the company. He has served as CEO since 2008. According to Musk, the purpose of Tesla is to help expedite the move to sustainable transport and energy, obtained through electric vehicles and solar power. Tesla began production of its first car model, the Roadster sports car, in 2009. This was followed by the Model S sedan in 2012, the Model X SUV in 2015, the Model 3 sedan in 2017, and the Model Y crossover in 2020. The Model 3 is the all-time best-selling plug-in electric car worldwide, and, in June 2021, became the first electric car to sell 1 million units globally.[9] Tesla’s global sales were 936,222 cars in 2021, an 87% increase over the previous year,[10] and cumulative sales totaled 3 million cars as of August 2022.[11] In October 2021, Tesla’s market capitalization reached $1 trillion, the sixth company to do so in U.S. history.

  9. Jon says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m not saying Tesla would (or would not) have succeeded without Elon buying in, just pointing out that he didn’t create the company. Part of his schtick is to claim he founded companies (PayPal, Tesla) that he actually just bought in to or merged with. That’s a major part of the grift.

  10. Franklin says:

    The history is fairly clear on the founding of Tesla. The question then might become: did Musk make it his own? By most accounts, yes he did.

  11. Lounsbury says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No whoosh, rather your understanding of Tesla is pathetic and political. Musk is not just a grifter. His push through on Tesla is a real achievement (as peer group failures by vintage and focus show). Musk is an obnoxious asshole, and quite the exaggerator, but he has real track record. (and not “grift” @Jon as he has not merely just bought into he has engaged in deep and real hands on management [as a plus and a minus]; as experienced VC investors know, the early-stage manager that can pull such things off is rather more valuable than the Idea People – and rare it is to find the combination of of the two, very rare indeed – although pairing them up is ideal. Starting up with an idea is not hard, making it work to scale, that is very hard and often requires rather a different person and skill-set).

    As contrast, one can look to Trump who is indeed nothing more than a grifter / pure Marketer as there multiple examples of his taking over operational companies that should have been merely rideable forward, and utterly crashing them. His pretence to being a great manager / executive is fully refuted by his track record. Trump is indeed nothing more than grifting (as a corrupt sub-feature of his circus barker genuis in promotion) as he is incompetent in all other aspects.

    He’s not the genuis he quite pretends to, but as a start-up manager, he has real skill and real achievements (the fact of pretence to starting X, Y or Z company is not relevant except for PR, and general public paper-thin superficial understanding of such things with fetishisation of poorly understand concept of founder-entrepreneur).

    The fact you lot hate him for essentially political reasons is simply boring although predictable.

    (I am quite happy to merely find him tedious and annoying)

  12. Lounsbury says:

    @MarkedMan: makes amply evident in the wiki information that Musk did not merely buy into something already on a path to success. His savoir-faire on building and growing a concept is clear, it is not grift, but real operational skill.

    Does not make him admirable in other areas of life of course.

  13. Scott says:

    Just add some AI capabilities and away we go!.

    Companies behind robot dogs asks countries not to arm the robot dogs, please

    The companies behind some of the most advanced robotic “dogs” are asking militaries not to arm their robots. A half dozen technology firms released an open letter this week calling on countries around the world not to weaponize the robots, and pledged to not create armed versions for sale.

    Right now the machines — from the kind of quadrupedal “dog” design by Boston Dynamics to Agility Robotics’ bipedal one — have already shown extreme levels of mobility, being able to run, walk and do complex movements. And versions of the designs are already getting aftermarket add-ons, such as mounted assault rifles.

  14. CSK says:
  15. Kathy says:

    St. Elon of Musk has delusions of grandeur and no knowledge of his limitations. Remember how he inserted in the drama of schoolkids who were trapped in a cave by flooding? Now he’s advising Taiwan to knuckle under and welcome their Beijing overlords.

    Ok, he said “My recommendation … would be to figure out a special administrative zone for Taiwan that is reasonably palatable, probably won’t make everyone happy. And it’s possible, and I think probably, in fact, that they could have an arrangement that’s more lenient than Hong Kong.”

    He mentions Hong Kong, but he done’st see to realize how thing shave changed there in the past few years. So, effectively he’s suggesting Taiwan submit to the totalitarian Chinese dictatorship.

    Next he’ll claim no one knew about Taiwan.

  16. Scott says:

    @CSK: That’s great and terrifying all at the same time. Wonder what will be accomplished in the next 20-25 years of my lifetime.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: He’s in the “who knew the leopards would eat my face” cohort.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Musk does seem to be suffering from mania and impulse control. He seems to have completely lost his ability to focus.

  19. Kathy says:

    According to “Flying Blind,” a book about the MAX disasters and Boeing, the grounding of the 737 MAX, plus compensation given to the families of those killed, plus compensation paid to airlines because their shiny new planes couldn’t fly or even be delivered, plus the effects of the trump pandemic in 2020, cost around $19 billion.

    That is much more than it would have cost to design a new plane from scratch. It bears reminding the idea to re-engine the 737 was to save money.

  20. wr says:

    @Lounsbury: Yes, Lounsbury, please show us the correct way to dislike Elon Musk, as we have clearly been doing it wrong all this time and only you are wise enough to do it right.

  21. Jen says:

    Was offline yesterday…did everyone see this gem from our certifiable former president?

  22. CSK says:

    Certifiable is right.

  23. Lounsbury says:

    @wr: The correct way is not to dislike him for false pretence or misrepresentation.
    He is enough of an asshole to give you perfectly fully factual reasons, any number of them, such as as cited by Kathy is idiotic Ukraine and Taiwan demarches.
    Or you can be an ignorant ideological twat more or less like a MAGA and just use half-truths and misrepresentaiton via ignorant misunderstanding.

  24. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    x 100

  25. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Jeb’s response:
    I am so confused. My dad enjoyed a good Chinese meal and enjoyed the challenge of 7 10 split. What the heck is up with you?

  26. Kathy says:

    And now, avian flu.

    The piece focuses on economic losses, mostly of chicken farmers, which by itself would be bad. But once chickens get infected, they can easily pass the virus along to the farmers as well.

    When the HiN1 pandemic broke out, Mexico had a lot of doses of Tamiflu stockpiled in anticipation of a possible bird flu outbreak. These proved useful in treating patients.

    So that’s the good new if it spreads to us, there are treatments available.

    But no vaccines, as far as I can tell. So masking continues to be a good idea.

  27. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    What the Musk fetishists never discuss is that Tesla was the beneficiary of the same program as Solyndra…which those same fetishists almost universally decried.
    The worlds richest being got there on largely by Government aid.

  28. MarkedMan says:

    How about a little positive news? Researchers seem to be making actual progress on vaccines for several types of cancer. (No subscription needed)

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I hate to say it Kathy, but I fear you have simply become aware of what Public Health officials have been dealing with for the past century or so, i.e. there is one outbreak after another, overlapping, and each one could become something quite serious. And of course, by the time they are aware of any individual outbreak it is because it is already very serious to a small-ish population.

    We have spent the past couple of years learning how the sausage is made and now we can’t stop thinking about it.

  30. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Agreed. This has always been the case. Public health officials have also been tracking a disease in bats similar to Covid called Khosta-2 found in bats living in caves near Sochi, Russia. It’s similar to covid in how it locks onto cells, but none of the current vaccines have any effect whatsoever, because it’s a sarbecovirus, not a coronavirus. Good news is that it’s (so far) only found in bats, no leap to humans yet.

  31. Beth says:


    I have taken acid and had a tree follow me around. It was a friendly tree, it was there to protect and comfort me. I’ve taken acid and stood on the edge of a blackhole’s event horizon while the background radiation of the universe beat in my ears. Both of those experiences were more rational and reality based than whatever the hell that was.

  32. Kathy says:


    I had hoped for years there is some sort of surveillance of viruses which can infect humans. It’s good to know there is.

    Not so good to know we’ll ignore it as a species and take another few million preventable deaths.


    I looked up sarbecovirus, as the term seemed vaguely familiar. It means “SARS betacovirus.” The latter term means Beta Coronavirus. So it would be a kind of coronavirus that can cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

    I doubt any current vaccines would offer protection against infection, but T-cell response from the vaccines ought to offer some protection against severe disease. We’ve seen this from people who recovered from the original SARS virus (SARS-CoV-1 now), as well as from common cold coronaviruses.

    Plus given what we’ve seen from mRNA vaccines, I’d expect in case of an outbreak a vaccine could be developed quickly and set into production without the need for any sort of trials.

  33. CSK says:

    Trump said yesterday in Arizona that the FBI had taken his papers and that they should give them back to him. I thought the FBI had planted them. At least, that’s what he said at first.

  34. MarkedMan says:


    Not so good to know we’ll ignore it as a species and take another few million preventable deaths.

    I lived in New Orleans for a while. After Katrina, I met a lot of people who basically said, “why the hell didn’t they evacuate when they were told the hurricane was coming.” My answer was that when I lived there if I had evacuated every time there was a hurricane warning I would be gone the whole season.

    I know you don’t want to hear us, but we are surrounded constantly by diseases that can kill us. Each of us has to decide what we are willing to do to prevent that outcome given that steady-state. You go a lot farther than me. I go a lot farther than Beth.

  35. Jay L Gischer says:

    There are plenty of reasons to hate on Musk. For instance, @Kathy gives some up thread. That opinion on Taiwan is, well, typical Elon. He doesn’t really understand the nuances of human interaction and kind of thinks of all human beings as robots.

    In my line of work, and in my life, letting one’s personal feelings influence one’s assessments is basically poison. It’s anathema to what I do, and how I can be effective.

    And my conclusion is that, like him or not, Tesla would not exist today if not for Musk. I would not observe something like 20 percent of my morning commute as EVs without Tesla’s continued existence and that means Musk. He understands how to do engineering, and he can get things moved from idea to reality. And the ideas he’s worked on – as opposed to ones he shoots from the hip about – are ideas that are, on balance, ones I approve and think will enhance the lives of many humans on this planet.

    Yeah, he says really dumb stuff, like, all the time. I ignore that anyway.

    Anyway, I push back strongly against describing him as a ‘grifter’.

  36. Matt says:


    and he created the first private rocket launch company, going from a billionaires hobby to the backbone of the US launch capability in less than two decades.

    With a tremendous amount of help and hand holding by NASA…

  37. Beth says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    It’s entirely possible that he’s a grifter able to leverage his already vast resources to increase his grift, power, and prestige AND be a talented manager/idea to reality guy. It doesn’t need to be a simple either or. I think both is way more applicable to Musk.

  38. MarkedMan says:


    With a tremendous amount of help and hand holding by NASA…

    … which they extended to any company willing to invest the time and resources into creating a serious program. At the end we have SpaceX as the backbone of our manned orbital resupply and crew transfer program, and Blue Origin which occasionally sends rich people up really high for the thrills, and Richard Branson’s company that occasionally issues a press release.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I agree with Lounsbury. There are all kinds of reasons to dislike Musk, and it’s entirely reasonable to question whether he still has what it takes. But ret-conning his accomplishments out of existence is just silly.

  39. Kathy says:


    No and yes.

    SpaceX developed the Falcon 1 rocket on its own. It was more demonstrator than launch vehicle. They had to sue NASA in order to get considered for launch contracts.

    After that, yes, they got tons of NASA money to develop rockets like Falcon 9, the Dragon capsule, etc.

    The same goes for other launch companies, like Boeing and Lockheed, which are not entirely space companies. SpaceX can be fairly said to have done better as regards cost and innovation.

  40. Stormy Dragon says:

    Is there some sort of contest going on where the person who best adulates Elon Musk wins a free Tesla or something?

  41. Scott says:

    The problem people are wrestling with here is dealing with people who have success in one field thinking they have something to say or do in another field. Successful people in one field quite frequently are not successful in another and should not be listened to on other topics.

    This is especially true with celebrities whether they are celebrated for their acting, fame, athletic ability, engineering prowess, what have you. This is why we get Dr Oz, Musk, Walker, etc (Can’t think off the top of my head of any on the more liberal side – Dwayne Johnson?)

    Was just having a back and forth in the comments section of the local newspaper on the political abilities of veterans, Navy Seals, etc., who use those credentials to leverage themselves into mediocre congressmen. We got to learn to ignore them all.

  42. Lounsbury says:

    @MarkedMan: Or one can put another way, Musk has proven talented in actually successfully leveraging public backing into successful business. That is an actual talent as the extensive history of failure in this area as getting concessional financing or even contracts is very far from a guarantee to success or basic sustainability.

    Of course I am sure there are all kinds of bizzaro American libertarian and just plain MAGA ignoramuses who elide or deny the public backing part (or indeed Musk himself although I do not pay attention to him so closely to opine specifically), but neither does the public backing undercut his actual success – were this forgone conclusion there would not be the substantive arguments criticizing such programmes.

    The silly comments otherwise are really nothing more than Lefty version of MAGA frothing.

    @Scott: an ancient human tradition…. We remain chimpanzees.

  43. Kathy says:


    St. Elon is involved in way too many ventures.

    He has succeeded in early forms of internet payments (not PayPal, though, that came later), space launch vehicles, and electric cars. As far as I can tell, he’s not doing very well digging tunnels or building a hyperloop, not to mention giving out advice on stuff he has no knowledge about.

    If he weren’t an African immigrant, he’d run for president in 2024.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Whatever FG is saying about documents is simply intended to be an applause line for the audience. And judging from the Twitter clip, it doesn’t even need to be coherent, it only has to have the word “documents” in it.

  45. Michael Cain says:


    With a tremendous amount of help and hand holding by NASA…

    I prefer to say that there were synergies. NASA brought some of their expertise to bear. Most of the money was advance payment for launch services that were subsequently delivered. SpaceX brought a test-to-destruction iterative design approach that NASA would never have been allowed to try on their own. The combination produced a platform that is in the process of completely dominating the commercial launch business.

  46. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Christina Bobb declines to be Trump’s fall guy/gal:

  47. CSK says:


  48. Beth says:


    That picture makes him look like the molly just kicked in and he’s ready for the headliner to go on.

  49. Mister Bluster says:

    After Outcry Over Racist Remarks, Nury Martinez Resigns As President Of The LA City Council
    I heard about some of this on the radio. I did not read all of this linked story. I do not know what she said. I don’t want to. I already know that there are stinking bigots everywhere. I hear them all the time. It’s gotten so that the more evidence I see and hear of this the more depressing it gets.

  50. CSK says:

    Probably it did.

  51. Kurtz says:


    ignorant ideological twat

    What’s your address? I’ll gift you a mirror.

  52. MarkedMan says:


    The problem people are wrestling with here

    I hope you are not including me in that. I am well aware that people who are driven and successful in one area may be absolute POS, and may also incorrectly assume one or two successes makes them experts in everything. Musk falls into that category. And, as I’ve said several times above, I think it likely that for whatever reason, he is no longer able to perform at a high level. I’m not “adulating” him at all, but neither do I need to justify my dislike of him by pretending he has never accomplished anything.

  53. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: I read it. Typical racist BS. I think she assumed twitter-armor because she is a minority herself. Also, I hope she has no children of her own. One of her comments was about her perception of the misbehavior a white council rep’s young black kid. She complained he was raising the kid “white” because he wasn’t hitting him. She joked about how she should have offered to take him out back and give him a beat down.

  54. Stormy Dragon says:


    As far as I can tell, he’s not doing very well digging tunnels or building a hyperloop

    Hyperloop and The Boring Company weren’t meant to succeed, they exist purely to undermine high-speed rail, which Musk sees as a threat to EV sales

  55. dazedandconfused says:


    Columbus did not set out with genocide in mind. In fact he never had that as a goal. He was under a lot of pressure to make a profit. The terms of his agreement with he crown of Spain were clear, and took months of negotiation to work out. He had no reason to suspect he was carrying diseases which would wipe out populations. The Portuguese had been going to the far east for quite some time without any indication of that.

    The Italian Americans were looking for a hero. Not a big list for them to sort through.

    The serendipity of that first voyage is mind blowing. Chris did incredibly bad math and science to determine that China was only about 2-3 thousand miles west of Europe. Yet…nearly dead on the distance Chris had fooled himself into believing where China should be…that lucky-dumb bastard hit land!

  56. CSK says:

    Martinez has a husband and a daughter, Isabelle.

  57. Kathy says:


    The main difference, is that a pandemic usually hits one or seven other places before it reaches you. Remember COVID took on China and Europe before growing widespread in the Americas. We knew how bad it could get and how quickly.

    Now, though lockdowns did achieve great success in some places, they also cause major disruptions. Next time, we’d perhaps do bets to mask, distance, and close restaurants, bars, theaters, churches, etc. and to limit gatherings.

    But we know how people take to masks, or rather don’t take to masks, even without political tribalism.

  58. Lounsbury says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Your absurd deluded Lefty verison of MAGAstyle conspiracy theory fantasies really are quite something. One can not undermine something by not succeding. There is absolutely no logic for Musk to be undermining American completely non-existance momentum in high speed rail. Of course, the bungling idiocy of California does that all by itself on a prospective basis, although of course if one were to develop a proper TGV programme one should do it elsewhere with proper densities to support. Of course America is so fundamentally incompetent in this area that the French fucked off from California to Morocco and got one built already (and having taken it a few times, a very nice job indeed).

    Musk’s hyperloop foolishness is perfectly explained by his techno-fan-boiism, and love at taking moonshot projects. It has precisely fuck-all to do with underming the entirely non-existent American high-speed rail.

  59. gVOR08 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Saw a bit on TV, forget where, about electric vehicles in India. They’re making pretty slick, modern, two and three wheelers, scooters and rickshaws, with quick change battery packs and an infrastructure of battery exchange stations. Makes more sense than a 9,000 lb electric Humvee.

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: If she were better at this, she’d realize that who wrote the draft is nowhere near as important as who signs the letter. 🙁 Is she going to claim that she didn’t read it next? Maybe that she didn’t realize that she needed to verify that the claims in it are true?

  61. Stormy Dragon says:


    Your absurd deluded Lefty verison of MAGAstyle conspiracy theory fantasies really are quite something.

    Yes, as revealed by noted lefty conspiracy theorist *checks notes* Elon Musk to his authorized biographer Ashlee Vance in “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future”

  62. Kathy says:

    I made two mistakes with the milanesas. One, I forgot to get tomato sauce. Two, they need more cheese; one slice of Manchego proved insufficient.

    The mashed potatoes, though, came out very well.

    First I sauteed half a chopped red onion, adding minced garlic, and snow peas a bit later. Then I splashed the whole mess with sherry (I had it, but no white wine). after it was reduced, I added 125 grams, a whole packet, of sweet cream, one tbsp yellow mustard, 1 tbsp grain mustard, some black pepper, paprika, and nutmeg*. I then mixed in the pre-made mashed potatoes and folded everything together.

    Next time I may add some bacon bits.

    *Did you know you can get high on nutmeg?

  63. Lounsbury says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Yes, it is Lefty conspiracy theory, your blithering post as that text cited actually says Musk undertook it out of hatred for the bungled idiocy that is the California. The Twitter idiocy comment on that is pure Left version of MAGAesque half-understood extrapolation to conspiracy mongering.

    The quoted book rather confirms ratehr his penchant for techno-fanboism and moonshots.

    Musk of course as quoted re California’s bungled mess is quite right (as indeed my dear SNCF friends have said and then proved with Morocco’s Tangier-Casablanca laid along side the old urban lines).

    So indeed, your own quote confirms, Left version of MaGA conspiracy mongering and blithering on personalised hatreds.

  64. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Bobb apparently insisted that Evan Corcoran, who wrote the letter, add the phrase “to the best of my knowledge” before she would sign it. That got her off the hook.

  65. Stormy Dragon says:


    Cool, have fun tongue bathing a guy who will never notice you, fan boy. =)

  66. MarkedMan says:

    @dazedandconfused: Colombus lived at a time when it was legitimate to kill people and take their wealth/land and enslave those you didn’t kill. That wasn’t limited to Europeans – it was literally the way of the whole world. (Look up the Cherokee some time.) But the fact that it wasn’t considered immoral to kill and rape and pillage doesn’t let him off the hook.

    As for the disease, that’s a bum rap. Diseases use people as hosts and as a transportation service. They don’t care about the ethic group of those hosts. Blaming a 15th century sea captain for not understanding disease vectors seems ridiculous to me. You could just as easily (and insensibly) blame the aboriginal Americans for not taking proper isolation precautions when they encountered these foreigners.

  67. Michael Reynolds says:

    1- Musk has accomplished a great deal.
    2- Musk is a flaming asshole.

    Both are true statements.

  68. Lounsbury says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Ah really an anti-gay slur insult? How very Wokey of you. Of course merely pointing out Musk is not your inverted-MAGAesque conspiracy fantasy villian but an asshole tech-fanboi entrepreneur is hardly cheering him nor complimentingor fellating him. But does show your intellectual kinship with Maga, ableit inverted. (I should correct I noticed a cut off phrase: Musk undertook it out of hatred for the bungled idiocy that is the California. should read ‘that is the California high-speed train project.’ I have to be clear no particularly strong opinions about California as such, however the California train project is an insult to high-speed train projects (which is why the skilled French builders pulled out of the incompetent bungled mess, and indeed why the quoted book page on Musk’s low opinion of the same, his opinion was and is in that area not wrong – the bungling idiots have self-undermined rail development sans any need for conspiracy mongering about Koch or other cherised Left villians in a fashion really identical to the manner which MAGA trots out Soros)).

    @Michael Reynolds: and one can add he also wildly over-estimates himself relative to all things not technology business.

    Which reminds me
    The NYT arty on the California cock up

  69. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Oh, I see you’ve driven our friend into quite the frenzy. There is no worse* look than touting your vastly superior intellect and oozing contempt at someone else’s feeble powers of reasoning, only to have them bring receipts. Kudos.

    *Okay, there is at least one worse look. That would be upping the volume on your contempt when the receipts are presented, waving your hands wildly around while spewing venom, all the while attempting to hip-check the goal posts to an entirely new location…

  70. MarkedMan says:

    @MarkedMan: I should ‘fess up here and admit that when I read Stormy’s original comment I was also skeptical. I just thank god my natural reaction to being skeptical isn’t to try to run someone down as a crazed loon. #facesaved

  71. Mimai says:


    You should open a vegan restaurant in Hereford, TX.

  72. Lounsbury says:

    @MarkedMan: There are no moved goal posts mate, except on the Left side.

    The facts remain as they were
    Musk is a tech fanboi who will take a run at any moon-shot
    The book citation evokes Musks contempt for the California project (which fully merited and merits such contempt for ludicrously bad planning) .

    There’s no fucking receipt.

  73. Stormy Dragon says:


    Chris did incredibly bad math and science to determine that China was only about 2-3 thousand miles west of Europe.

    Which is especially bad when you’re aware that Eratosthenes figured out the circumference of the earth within 3% of the actual value in 240 BC and that Columbus had actually read Eratosthenes book (“On the measure of the Earth”) about how to do it!

  74. Liberal Capitalist says:

    As this is the “Columbus Day Forum”, can we please (even as my frekin’ Credit Union has done) switch to the alternate “Indigenous People’s Day” ?

    We should not hold those responsible for genocide in high regard…. right?

    Seriously. It’s like having Hitler Day every October.

  75. wr says:

    @Lounsbury: “Or you can be an ignorant ideological twat more or less like a MAGA and just use half-truths and misrepresentaiton via ignorant misunderstanding.”

    Thank you so much, you who are wise above all others except in matters of irony. Could you now please explain the proper way to dislike The DaVinci Code? I fear I have been doing it wrong all these years.

  76. wr says:

    @Lounsbury: “Yes, it is Lefty conspiracy theory, your blithering post as that text cited actually says Musk undertook it out of hatred for the bungled idiocy that is the California. The Twitter idiocy comment on that is pure Left version of MAGAesque half-understood extrapolation to conspiracy mongering.”

    Your vocabulary seems to be shrinking with every new post. Either you are sputtering in outrage about how your obvious inferiors refuse to bow down before your opinions, or your code has gotten corrupted and the bot needs an update. Either way, if you want people to read what you think you have to say, you might consider changing up your sentences every now and again.

  77. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Appreciating the marvel of the Molinas from 60 feet away

    All 3 were special, but Yadi was something else.

  78. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Musk has done a thing or 2, and I don’t deny him that, but mostly he has been a self promoter.

  79. dazedandconfused says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The royal court had math people who told them Chris was wrong. The deal was finally made anyway for two reasons: One, they would only promise percentages and titles, which cost them nothing if it worked. Two, the recently captured town could be ordered to fit out the expedition as atonement, and that too cost the Crown nothing.

    I suspect there might be another reason: A chance to get this pesky guy out of their hair.

  80. JohnMc says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I think Columbus’ real contribution was realizing that the Atlantic Ocean circulates. He had a sense of the time it took and extrapolated how far the other side was. And I have seen guesses that Portuguese & Spanish fishermen had pushed far enough to discover the Grand Banks. They were drying their catch on Cape Cod and are a likely source of the epidemics that depopulated the America’s.

  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Lounsbury: You know, all my life I have had to listen to rich fucks claiming to have “built” this that or the other when not a single one of them ever built so much as a set of saw horses. All while I and a few hundred (or thousand) other iron workers, carpenters, electricians, pipefitters, glaziers, mason’s, laborers, etc etc actually did build stuff (not to mention architects* and structural engineers). All those rich fucks were little more than pass thrus for money (facilitators if you like, which ain’t nothing but let’s face it, all their money ain’t worth shit without somebody willing to take it).

    I have worked on all kinds of projects over the years, from 20+ story towers to kitchen cabinet jobs. One job I did (believe it or not all by myself) was actually featured in the St Louis Post Disgrace (the owners of the house gratefully left me out of the article, saying only that “a friend” did the work) So yeah, been there… Done that.

    My “career” has left me a broken down 64 yo old man with arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis and itises they don’t even have names for in damned near every joint in my body. Pain is my constant companion.

    But you and your fellow travelers want me to worship at their wealthy door steps? Fvck that sh!t.

    FTR: I didn’t even bother to read your reply as it is so predictable, why would I bother raising my blood pressure when it has very little bearing on most of our reality.

  82. Gustopher says:


    Colombus lived at a time when it was legitimate to kill people and take their wealth/land and enslave those you didn’t kill.

    He was imprisoned and reviled in his time when the extent of his savagery was known.

    Columbus Day should keep its name, but feature burning him in effigy. Then everyone will be happy.

  83. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: I’d buy one.

  84. dazedandconfused says:


    Nope, it was consider amoral to rape and pillage then too. The massive profits led to rationalizions, just the same as today. Who asks about the condition of workers who make cell phones and tee shirts in the third world? A few, and nearly all of them will not abstain from either.

  85. Gustopher says:

    Sigh, it’s a fucking Lounsbury day. I’ll grant that he’s less awful than Columbus and less accomplished than Musk.

  86. Franklin says:


    YEs! I learned that recently from a friend who ended up in the emergency room. She felt pretty damn f***ked up for awhile, but it didn’t kill her 🙂

  87. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Every day is Lounsbury day, because if he weighs in, he just can’t stfu.

    I apologize for tweaking the troll.

  88. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Lounsbury: And yet, Stormy’s assertion about Musk’s motive for those projects stands unrefuted. But go ahead and keep playing “only tech bros and rightie RE traders are allowed to make comments.” It’s entertaining at least. (Not very, you understand, but we’ll give you an “E” for “effort.”)

  89. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: How are you feeling?

  90. MarkedMan says:

    @Mimai: ?

  91. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The problem with Tesla is that Musk wildly overpromised, they ran into the standard problems of autonomous vehicles, and now they’re tiptoeing back off a lot of the technology because they’re discovering it doesn’t work they way they originally thought it would.

    Musk made quite a hoopla about Not Filing For Patents and Allowing Other Car Developers To Use Their Developed Technology. The fact was–by the time Musk appeared on the scene a lot of the relevant patent space had already had claims made to it by other manufacturers such as LG, Honda, GM, Hyundai, and Mercedes….

    … reminds me very much of Aesop’s fable “The Fox and the Grapes”.

  92. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: Really? I hadn’t known that. And was it the Spanish that did it? Because their campaign against the Aztecs was as savage as the Aztec’s campaign against their own people (or pretty much anyone else they encountered.)

  93. MarkedMan says:


    Nope, it was consider amoral to rape and pillage then too

    … your own people, you mean. In European culture the Right of Conquest was officially recognized until well into the 20th century. And slavery is still practiced in certain Arab regions. And where are all the the people who lived in the Ashanti region of Ghana before they conquered the Gold Coast? (Hint: very poor, very much on the fringes, and a tiny minority in the cities and towns that were once theirs.) I’d bet that just about any ethnic group a) whose history is known, and b) came out on top, has genocide and horror in their background. This ridiculous idea that Europeans brought evil into the world is both ludicrous and denigrating to other ethnic groups. Europeans are nothing special, in goodness or in evil. Collectively, humans may ahave created an ethos that respects the value of individuals, but that is man made, not “natural”.

  94. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..All 3 were special, but Yadi was something else.

    Then there were the four Alou brothers: Felipe, Matty, Jesus and Boog Powell.

    Boog Powell???

    Yeah. He changed his name.
    He didn’t want to be know as Boog Alou…

    Boogaloo Down Broadway-Fantastic Johnny C-1967

  95. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: flu-like illness is an unrelenting medium unpleasant experience that I am clearly emotionally ill-equipped to handle.

    Hopefully, the flu-like illness is in fact the flu, as I would be on day 5 of 5-7 days of symptoms.

  96. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: yes, jailed by the Spanish, after reports of brutality.

    After six months, he was ordered released by the king and sent on another voyage.

    From that you can consider it to be either: trumped up charges, misdemeanor genocide, or he shouldn’t have been released.

    But, it’s very clear that the idea of excessive brutality being bad was very prevalent, even among the Spaniards at the time. The incoming gold and riches might have washed away some of these sensibilities in coming decades.

    Your argument is similar to the age old defense of the Southern slaveholders who couldn’t possibly have known that holding people in slavery was wrong. Lots of contemporary sources in each case pointing out the wrong. But money talks louder.

  97. dazedandconfused says:


    Do not confuse legality with morality. In Chris’s case the Crown was very pissed off with his treatment of the natives and had him arrested and dragged back in chains. During the ensuing conquests the clergy was tasked with “protecting the Indians”, not that it wasn’t a joke from the legalistic perspective, or anything.

  98. Matt says:

    @Kathy: Well being there NASA solved SpaceX’s exploding rockets for them and a whole host of other issues in the background. Even basic things that would be considered rocketry 101 was fixed by NASA engineers (procedures, documentation, tank baffles etc etc). The stuff that went on behind the scenes was hair raising at times. The Falcon 1 was literally on the verge of exploding when it didn’t actually explode until NASA stepped in and did basic fixes.

    But yes the infrastructure and engineers provided by NASA for launches is generally extended to other companies.