Friday’s Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor 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:

    Sinema has extracted her pound of “carried interest” flesh from Schumer and the Senate DEMs.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Albert Woodfox, who is thought to have been held in solitary confinement longer than any individual in US history, having survived 43 years in a 6ft x 9ft cell in one of America’s most brutal prisons, has died aged 75.
    Woodfox was a member of the so-called “Angola Three” – prisoners who were wrongfully convicted of the 1972 murder of a prison guard, Brent Miller, in Louisiana state penitentiary. The prison was built on the site of a former slave plantation and was commonly known as Angola, after the country from which most of the plantation’s enslaved people had been transported.

    Before the murder, Woodfox and his fellow Angola Three member Herman Wallace had set up a chapter of the Black Panther party inside the prison. They used it to protest against the segregation of prisoners and the unpaid cotton picking to which Black prisoners were subjected in chain gangs in the outlying fields.

    He always insisted that his false conviction and consequent treatment were punishment for his Black radicalism. Soon after his conviction in Miller’s death, Woodfox and Wallace were both placed in solitary confinement, where they both remained almost without break for more than 40 years.

    Wallace was released after a concerted legal battle in 2013, even as prison authorities continued to try to get him back inside. He died from cancer two days later. Woodfox was released in 2016 on his 69th birthday.


    “Oh yeah! Yeah!” he says passionately when asked whether he sometimes misses his life in lockdown. “You know, human beings are territorial, they feel more comfortable in areas they are secure. In a cell you have a routine, you pretty much know what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, but in society it’s difficult, it’s looser. So there are moments when, yeah, I wish I was back in the security of a cell.” He pauses, then adds: “I mean, it does that to you.”
    The weirdest sensation is feeling profoundly uncomfortable in a crowd. “I’m not accustomed to people moving around me and it makes me nervous. Being in a cell on my own, I only had to protect myself from attack in front of the cell as I knew there was no one behind me. Now I’m in society, and I have to remind myself that the chances of being attacked are very small and would usually depend on my own actions.”
    “For 43 years the only person who was affected by what I did was me. The most difficult thing for me now is to remember that other people are affected by my actions, whether intentional or unintentional. I’m having to learn a new value system.”
    A few days ago he found himself on a beach in Galveston, Texas, in the company of a friend. He stood marveling at all the beach goers under a cloudless sky, and stared out over the Gulf of Mexico as it stretched far out to the horizon.

    “You could hear the tide and the water coming in,” he says. “It was so strange, walking on the beach and all these people and kids running around.”

    RIP Albert. You’ve more than earned it.

  3. Stormy Dragon says:

    Today in how Republican extremism is really all Democrats fault, those dirty Democrats ruin everything by voting for their own party:

    Looking closely at the patterns in #WA03, pro-conspiracy Joe Kent (R) might actually be a slight favorite over Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R), but it’s going to be tight.Most #WA03 Dems probably don’t realize that by voting for a Dem instead of JHB, they aided Kent.— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) August 5, 2022

    I expect a future OTB post about how unethical it is for Democrats to vote for the Democratic candidates instead of saving “moderate” Republicans

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Moderate” Republicans need all the help they can get. It’s DEMs patriotic duty to save them.

  5. CSK says:
  6. MarkedMan says:

    A couple of days ago there was a headline from Forbes about what a paltry amount was left for the $1.3B lottery winner after taxes. That turned out to be sheer nonsense, a clickbait headline that in no way reflected reality. I’ve been mulling it over since, because everything you needed to realize it was just BS was contained in the accompanying article. It’s left me curious as to what kind of magazine Forbes is. As I’ve mentioned here, I don’t waste my time with sources whose only purpose is to propound nonsense in a “newsy” sort of way, omitting crucial facts, tilting at strawmen, etc. “Reason” comes to mind as a classic example. But while the Forbes headline was a example of the con-man school of journalism, the article itself was pretty straightforward. Is Forbes kind of like the WSJ, whose editorial pages are pure propaganda but the actual news is pretty solid? Or are they mostly just billionaire-stroking journalists for hire?

  7. Jen says:

    U.S. Job Growth Soared in July: Live Updates

    The employment gains, which surpassed expectations, show that the labor market is not slowing despite efforts by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy.

    528,000 jobs added, economists anticipated less than half of that.

    Unemployment down to 3.5%.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Somebody should put a Biden “I did that.” sticker on those numbers.

  9. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: As a PR person, I’ll acknowledge off the bat that my perception of media outlets is viewed through a very specific lens. I think of Forbes as a weird mix of legitimate news and a hot mess of monetization strategies.

    Their content is still considered to be reasonable journalism. But the website is all but unreadable given the advertising. They also set up “expert panels” which are membership (fee-based) invitation panels where people (usually CEOs and the like) are vetted, they pay $$, and then can publish stuff on Forbes’s website. Basically pay to publish. It’s one step away from pure advetorials, but they make money and companies get their stuff out.

    Not sure if I answered your question or not, but my advice on Forbes is to really, really look closely at who is doing the writing. I think it must be at least half of the content on Forbes is in the pay to publish category now.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: Thanks for that perspective. So, bottom line, at least for me: avoid Forbes like the plague.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    With more than 40 home runs, nearly a hundred runs batted in and over a third of the season still to play, Aaron Judge is poised to complete the best season of his mighty career.

    Still, the New York Yankees slugger will have to pick up the pace to match Hack Wilson, one of the greatest and most rambunctious hitters in the history of Major League Baseball and the holder of one of the sport’s most impregnable records.

    Judge joined an exclusive club last month when he walloped more than 40 home runs by the end of July. With a strong end to the summer the outfielder might surpass Wilson’s career-best tally of 56 home runs, set with the Chicago Cubs in 1930 when he was 30 – the same age that Judge is now.

    But it’s impossible to imagine anyone – not Judge, not Pete Alonso, not Jose Ramirez, not a single modern hitter – threatening Wilson’s MLB-record total of 191 runs batted in. That, too, was achieved with the Cubs 92 years ago. August 1930 was a monstrous month for Hack: 113 at-bats, 45 hits, 13 home runs, 53 RBI.

    Wilson ended the year with 146 runs scored and a .356 batting average to accompany those eye-popping 191 RBI. The 56 homers were a National League record that stood for 68 years until surpassed by Mark McGwire in 1998.

    Before this article, I’d never heard of Hack Wilson. He was quite the character. An alcoholic who once stated, “I never took a drink in my life on the day of a game after 11 o’clock in the morning,” and a brawler:

    An early scouting report is said to have described Hack as possessing “homicidal tendencies”. Parker wrote that Wilson once drunkenly trashed a hotel room in Boston and shoved an umpire. He punched one Cincinnati Reds pitcher during a game and knocked out another at a train station later that night. The Chicago Tribune reported that during a game at Wrigley Field in 1928, Wilson lunged into the stands and “choked the hell” out of a heckler. Wilson was fined $100 by the National League and the fan, a milkman, sued Hack and the Cubs for $50,000.

    He died an alcoholics early death at the age of 48, flat broke and broken.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nearly every sea turtle born on the beaches of Florida in the past four years has been female, according to scientists.

    The spike in female baby turtles comes as a result of intense heatwaves triggered by a growing climate crisis that is significantly warming up the sands on some beaches, as CNN reported this week.

    According to the National Ocean Service, if a turtle’s eggs incubate below 27C (82F), the turtle hatchlings will be male. If the eggs incubate above 31C (89F), the hatchlings will be female. Temperatures that waver between the two extremes will result in a mix of male and female baby turtles.

    Researchers also discovered that the warmer the sand, the higher the ratio of female turtles.

    “As the Earth experienced climate change, increased temperatures could result in skewed and even lethal incubation conditions, which would impact turtle species and other reptiles,” the National Ocean Service said.

    This climate change hoax is more than a little over the top. Gotta hand it to those Chinese tho, they’ve thought of everything.

  13. Jax says:

    I put some pictures up so you guys could see how our greenhouse project was progressing.

    I’ve never grown corn before. It really likes it in the greenhouse, and pollinating it is SO FUN!!! Maybe I’m just easily entertained. 😛

  14. Kathy says:

    Odd dream of the week:

    I was in a room full of people whom I know were actors about to go on stage. As they began to leave the room, I said “break a leg.”

    They stopped dead in their tracks, and every single one turned to look at me as though I were insane.

    After a second, I understood the problem, and said “Sorry, wrong timeline. May you all die horrible, painful deaths.”

    They all relaxed, smiled, and left the room.

  15. CSK says:

    All three Trump-endorsed lunatics–Kari Lake, Blake Masters, and Mark Finchem (an Oath Keeper and militia member)–won their Arizona primaries.

  16. CSK says:

    Make that four: Abe Hamadeh for Arizona Atty. General.

  17. Jen says:

    @CSK: Well, in some surprising news, the 90-year-old former sheriff Joe Arpaio lost his race to become the mayor of the small AZ town in which he lives.

    Hope springs eternal, and the third time is apparently not the charm (in this case at least).

  18. CSK says:

    I wonder if it was his age or his politics?

  19. Jen says:

    @CSK: Both, really, and the fact that the current mayor is pretty much liked. Why switch to a 90 y.o. has-been, whose entire reason for running boils down to “I don’t know what to do with myself if I don’t run for office.”

  20. Jen says:

    Follow up on the IRS forum from the other day. If we could fund them sufficiently to go after nonsense like what Jones has done with his companies, that’d be nice.

    This thread from the punitive damage part of his trial today is head-spinning. How does anyone keep all of these separate companies, most of which have no employees and are solely designed to hide money, straight?

  21. CSK says:

    As he himself said, he could always go fishing.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: You grow girl!

  23. Kathy says:

    Remember I keep saying that early information, even when wrong, seems to get stuck in people’s minds, and many don’t update as new info comes in?

    Well, I had a momentary flash of pandemic optimism, As I was explaining it to a coworker, he told me “the good thing is corona type viruses don’t change much over time.”

    I was just floored. After we added Delta, Omicron, variant, booster, and breakthrough infection to our everyday vocabulary, this guy still thinks the wrong, early speculation that coronaviruses don’t mutate quickly is still valid?

    Nevertheless, things seem to be progressing well. There have been Omicron sub-variants, but no new, extra-infectious variants to replace Omicron. The sub-variants variously wax and wane, without any dominating the others. Plus breakthrough infections seem to be less serious (ie few hospitalizations and deaths).

    Things are still bad, New cases are in the thousands and tens of thousands, if not higher, and there are hundreds of deaths per day. So we’re still very much in a deadly pandemic and should take all necessary precautions.

    But if trends continue, and we get the bivalent Omicron boosters in the fall/winter, it begins to seem possible for the pandemic phase of the trump disease to end sometime in 2023. It’s also possible we’ll keep dealing with an endemic form of COVID. I expect this to be non-seasonal, unlike flu, with annual or semi-annual boosters a large minority won’t take.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    More good electoral news:

    Memphis prosecutor who charged Black woman over voting error loses re-election bid

    Gotta love this final paragraph:

    It was not the first time Weirich had come under fire for failing to disclose evidence to a defendant – a 2017 study found her office had more instances of misconduct than any prosecutor in the state from 2010 to 2015. In 2017, she also accepted a private reprimand from the Tennessee board of professional responsibility for casting aspersions on a defendant’s decision not to testify during a murder trial.

    She’s a real peach.

  25. Erik says:

    @Stormy Dragon: as a Washington voter (although not in the #03) I contemplated either voting for the more extreme R to give the D a better opponent (as discussed yesterday) or the more reasonable R to avoid the possibility of an extremist actually winning. But with the top 2 system in place I worried that other people me might do the same thing and that both R’s would go through to the general (my district is very competitive) so ultimately I voted for my actual preference, the D. So a win for top 2 systems, or something

  26. CSK says:

    Marjorie Taylor Greene says there’s video proof that Ashli Babbitt was trying to prevent people from entering the Speaker’s Lobby on Jan. 6.

  27. Beth says:


    I always tell my clients that you never want to hire a crook as an accountant. They get weird or lazy or they don’t reign you in when you want to do something stupid and then the tax man lops you wallet off. I tell them you want to find an artist. Someone who’s calm and handles complexity well, but makes it all look simple and boring so that when the IRS look at it they go, meh.

    The stupidly rich stay rich not just because they pull ungodly sums of money out of the rest of us, but they also have enough resources to have a couple of really good artists that are cheaper than the IRS. My guess is that Jones has someone, somewhere, that knows how all of this stuff works and flows and he somehow managed to keep him hidden.

    Or he’s a straight up moron who did a bunch of wacky crap and now the IRS is finally going to take a look at it.

  28. Beth says:


    Part of me wants all these loonies in AZ to win. Maybe not Masters cause that would screw up the Senate. But let the state office holders win and then drive the whole state into a ditch. I think part of the problem with the Republican crazies is that they are so insulated from the crap they spread. Dump it on their lawns and blow up their economies and don’t bail them out. Shove their noses in it.

  29. CSK says:

    I’d like to believe/hope that these loons will lose, badly…but I don’t know.

  30. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @CSK: There’s also loads of video proof out there that Marjorie Taylor Greene is a buffoon and a liar, so…eh?

    @MarkedMan: Headline writers are not journalists. Their job is to generate eyeballs on content (web, paper, etc), and the sad fact is that being outrageous works. I know it’s overly simplistic, but I blame them nearly as much as I do the Carlson’s of the world for the stoked anger and rampant misinformation plaguing us today. Authors coming up with their own headlines, by itself, would significantly help our political environment.

    Of course, the real issue is how few of our citizens look beyond the superficial or the headline to form their opinions. I would bet everything I own that more people think taxes took almost 2/3rd of the prize than understand what really happened, and headlines like that are why. Result? Government sucks! Taxation is theft! The rich already pay more than their fair share-look what they took from the lottery winner!

  31. CSK says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:
    Oh, I know that Marge is a lying buffoon who’s feeding the fantasies of her base, but I still wish she’d STFU.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I live in WA #03. Outside Clark County, I suspect that there aren’t enough Democrats to split off any votes to bolster JHB. Eric makes a good observation about the “Top 2” system also. But I’m surprised that Joe Kent is the likely upset candidate. I was sure that Heidi St. James would outperform him. But the streaming waves have been remarkably free of WA #03 ad content this season–just Heidi attacking JHB and JHB attacking Joe and running on her record.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: If it helps you any, Forbes has a correspondent/reporter who covers the professional wrestling “business” beat. Clickbait may be the only stock in trade that they have anymore.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: Indeed! Every so often, it’s important to elect Republicans so voters can see how bad things can get. (Then again, I live in a sort of benignly function dystopia to begin with).

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: Considering who he hired for his legal team, my money is on “he’s a straight up moron who did a bunch of wacky crap and now the IRS is finally going to take a look at it.”

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: Well, considering that both Senators are DEMs, well one of them pretends to be a DEM, I’m not gonna wish a trifecta of morons on the good people of Arizona. Now, if I can find a way to inflict a trifecta of morons on only the bad people of Arizona….

  37. wr says:

    @CSK: “Marjorie Taylor Greene says there’s video proof that Ashli Babbitt was trying to prevent people from entering the Speaker’s Lobby on Jan. 6.”

    Ah, that explains why she was halfway through the hole in the glass when she was shot. She was blocking it so that no one could get through!

  38. CSK says:

    I think that’s precisely what Marge is arguing.

  39. Kathy says:

    As a heads up, something really bad is developing at the HBO Max streaming service.

    It begins with the merger of Time Warned with Discovery, which feels more of an acquisition of the former by the latter. the new CEO wants to cut costs (these days, that’s the clarion call of a bloodbath).

    First they cancelled a direct to streaming Batgirl movie, which was in post-production and had even done test screenings. apparently cancelling it this late makes for a hefty tax write-off. Next they’ve announced the cancellation of Titans (meh), Doom Patrol (on my list), and Harley Quinn (incredibly violent and gross, but rather good*).

    There are rumors the new management will favor unscripted shows over actual TV and movies. That sucks. I despise the whole genre. It’s mindless, prurient crap.

    I assume this ends any hope for a season 5 of Young Justice, and maybe season 2 of Avenue 5.

    It was good while it lasted. they also can’t ruin it overnight, so binge while you can.

    *I’ve seen season one and the first two eps of season 2. So far it’s kind of like a super villain version of Rick and Morty, with more action and less science fiction. Meaning largely likeable but amoral or immoral main characters, and part of the ongoing joke is showing them do ordinary things of everyday life.

    I don’t think Kaley Cuoco was the best choice for Harley, but she’s not bad at all.

  40. Kathy says:


    I wonder whether false memories are so easy to create, that, say, hearing there’s a video of something can make one remember watching it, even if such a video doesn’t exist?

    My one clear instance of forming a false memory happened in a very short time with just one stimulus. And I did it all myself.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I don’t know why DC, home of Superman and the like, seem so intent on trying to be edgy and dark. The Harley Quinn show is probably the only recent offering where that actually works and I would put it as way less dark than things like Man Of Steel (what if Superman just stood there and watched his father die?). The Harley show has more heart and warmth than nearly any DC project. And the best use of Bane ever. And the genuine WB memo that cut a scene of Batman performing oral sex on Catwoman, because “heroes don’t do that,” which was a few fun days on Twitter for everyone reacting to it.

    Doom Patrol is also good, but it comes from a corner of the DCU that is overlapping with Vertigo. The darkness was always there in the original, it’s not a dark take on anything, it’s just dark.

    As to what is going on with HBO Max and Discovery… eh. Not sure how much to believe. I expect a 5 degree change in direction overall, with people being very dramatic right now to be dramatic.

    Also, test screenings on Batgirl were allegedly really bad, to the point where people said it could hurt the brand, but they released Batman v. Superman, so who knows what damaging the brand means. (It should have been a legal drama)

    Meanwhile, Marvel is about to release what looks like Allie McBeal with She-Hulk. (Based on a comics run that was basically a fun and ridiculous courtroom comedy)

  42. Stormy Dragon says:


    Friggin David Zaslav. He’s literally been ruining my favorite channels on TV for 30 years now. And I’m seriously not exaggerating.

    Sci-fi Channel, Bravo, the Olympics, the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, the HUB….

    Everytime I find something nice on TV, he shows up and turns it into garbage.

  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I wonder whether false memories are so easy to create,

    Absolutely. Ask any 4 people who witnessed an event and they will tell you 4 different stories. The more stressful the event, the more wild the variances.

  44. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: yes. Absolutely yes.

    Remembering something isn’t just a read operation on your brain — it’s read, fit the events into a narrative that makes sense to you (given everything else you know/“know”), write that all back into the brain.

    Something doesn’t make sense? You will either drop it, justify it, or be utterly baffled and it’s a mystery.

    It’s not false memories that are hard to create, it’s true memories. They kind of don’t exist — most of the time it’s true enough that you don’t notice it.

    Humans are storytellers. To ourselves as much as anyone else.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:


    In footage obtained by the New Statesman, Sunak said: “I managed to start changing the funding formulas to make sure areas like this are getting the funding they deserved.

    “We inherited a bunch of formulas from Labour that shoved all the funding into deprived urban areas and that needed to be undone. I started the work of undoing that.”

    Tunbridge Wells has a Tory majority of 14,645 and has been held by the party since the constituency was created in 1974.

    An analysis by the Guardian in February found that, under Boris Johnson’s “levelling up” agenda, some of the wealthiest parts of England, including areas represented by government ministers, were allocated 10 times more money per capita than the poorest.
    Labour’s Lisa Nandy, the shadow levelling up secretary, said: “This is scandalous. Rishi Sunak is openly boasting that he fixed the rules to funnel taxpayers’ money to rich Tory shires.

    “This is our money. It should be spent fairly and where it’s most needed – not used as a bribe to Tory members. Talk about showing your true colours.”

    Sunak’s Conservative colleagues were divided over the footage. The Foreign Office minister Zac Goldsmith said: “This is one of the weirdest – and dumbest – things I’ve ever heard from a politician.”

    Jake Berry, the chair of the Northern Research Group of Tory MPs, said that in public Sunak “claims he wants to level up the north, but here, he boasts about trying to funnel vital investment away from deprived areas”.

    “He says one thing and does another – from putting up taxes to trying to block funding for our armed forces and now levelling up,” Berry, a Liz Truss supporter, said.

    This might be the mother of all Kinsley Gaffes. It’s right up there with Romney’s 47%.

  46. Stormy Dragon says:


    Indeed, the more often you call a particular memory, the less accurate it is because every time you do, your brain makes up a new mental “replay” of it and details from the replay gets added to the memory:

    This is part of why eyewitness identifications of strangers are so notoriously bad, because being presented with a particular suspect will gradually cause the witness’s memory to shift to include the suspect.

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Humans are storytellers. To ourselves as much as anyone else.

    Oh yeah. I love to tell a good story. Every now and again I will even juice up some of the details just to make it better. I try to be conscious of that fact in the telling of the stories over the years but tbh, after 30 years who knows? I suspect the *conscious enhancement* of a story is not a problem (tho it certainly could be) so much as it is the unconscious enhancements. We will tell ourselves little lies so as to make our more embarrassing moments a little more bearable. Generally that is fairly harmless but every now and again it comes at someone else’s expense.

    ** most if not all of my enhancements come at my own expense. IIRC, people here and elsewhere have questioned my propensity for self deprecating humor. The fact is I like to make people laugh, and telling a story in such a way where they are laughing at me… Well, I don’t make other people the butt of a joke. It was done to me often enough growing up and I never liked it and will never do it to another.

    Well, maybe Alex Jones and MTG and Josh Hawley, and Lindsey Graham, and Lauren Boebert, and…

  48. JohnSF says:

    He really, truly did say the quiet bit out loud!

    On the one hand, yess, burn smug Tory, burn 🙂
    On the other hand, Liz Truss now stone cold certainty for our next PM 🙁
    On the gripping hand: “Come swiftly sweet, meteor of Doom!”
    On the alternative noodly appendage – Labour 2024: Vote early, vote often!

  49. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    This is how I see it:

    We’ve been living a golden age of streaming. Not only are there tons of new offerings, but a great dela of it is of better quality than what we were used to, both as regards storytelling and visuals. Add the convenience of receiving this massive torrent at home, the ability to pause and pick up at will, the portability while traveling, etc.

    So looking back on it, perhaps streamers were chasing market share, and the dip in Netflix subscriptions may have caused alarm. after all, streamers get revenue from subscriptions (it might be a bit more complicated for Amazon’s Prime Video*).

    Maybe market share is as full as it’s going to get, therefore it may be time to downgrade the product to begin making more money. after all, where else are people going to get their video entertainment? Cable? DVD rentals?

    Cancelling shows may not be the only measure taken. Netflix is cracking down on password sharing, and announced an ad-supported service. Those are actions others can easily take as well.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: This is part of why eyewitness identifications of strangers are so notoriously bad,

    Yep. Back in the ’80s I witnessed a hit and run at Kingshighway and Arsenal where a little old woman got hit by a big macho 4×4 truck knocking her flying and breaking her wrist at the very least. The mf’er looked me dead in the eye with the absolute fear of somebody who knows he screwed up, before he tore off down Khwy with another truck trying to catch up to him to get his license plate. I couldn’t get it but I supported her wrist while other’s blocked traffic until the ambulance came.

    I remember talking to the cops and saying what I said above about him looking me dead in the eye, and they never asked me if I could identify him. At the time, I just thought hit and runs of old ladies crossing the road who weren’t injured all that badly weren’t very high on their agenda.

    Even now, all these years later I can still see his face as clear as day. And if you believe that, well, I know how malleable memory is.

  51. Kathy says:


    IMO, that’s not quite the same thing.

    Sure, as memories get reconstructed later (what some think of as recall), details may be added and/or subtracted or changed. But when you interview people right after something happened, before there’s time to do much editing, you also get different versions of the same event.

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: Just the other day I saw where Liz Truss was getting entangled in some controversy or other and I thought, “She’s in trouble.” Was that just a tempest in a teapot and she’s back on top of the race again?

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    That sucks. I despise the whole genre. It’s mindless, prurient crap.

    True enough, but I hear that they are cheap to produce and lots of people watch them so the ROI is really high–which, of course, is Job One.

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: But when you interview people right after something happened, before there’s time to do much editing, you also get different versions of the same event.

    Yes, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Cops expect that. In fact, if people’s stories line up too well, they know it’s been engineered, coordinated, and rehearsed. My point is just that people can witness the exact same event and have wildly different memories of it.

    Why? Because the human mind is not a tape recorder but just like nature, it *abhors a vacuum*. The mind will fill in the blanks with whatever seems the most logical sequence. Over time, that becomes truth.

    **On my sleepless “nights” underground, I became fascinated with how my brain dealt with absolute darkness. I used to lay there in my bag looking up at the ceiling and I could see innumerable geometric patterns up there.

  55. dazedandconfused says:

    Brings to mind the famous “invisible gorilla” experiments. About half the people who took it would swear no gorilla was on the video.

    This is not uncommon in crime scenes, as in a state of fear and excitement most people experience something akin to tunnel vision and hearing and don’t know it. They may well swear by their memories, being vivid, all the more.

  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My son called and this got posted before I was ready. Wanted to add that I could hold my hand in front of my face and SEE it…. in complete darkness. The brain abhors a vacuum.

  57. JohnSF says:

    Oh, Truss is an idiot.

    Not exactly stupid, but liable to latch on to whatever half-baked idea catches her attention, especially if her helps her ambitions.
    Served by pandering to the proclivities of the current Conservative base, who are stupid, or at best firmly set in their damn silly opinions, and resentful of anyone who tells them they’re mistook.

    So, Truss looks foolish whenever she tries to put up a coherent policy position.

    But the Conservative party membership don’t care, because her incoherence is theirs, for the simple reason: she’s just repeating back what they want to hear re. unfunded tax cuts, nasty woke remainers undermining Brexit, damn immigrant freeloaders, all we need is to follow the example of Boris! (a.k.a. “The Triumph of the Willy”)

    Sunak may be a sneaky sod, but at least he’s smart enough to recognise an unsustainable fiscal position when he sees one.
    (Though he’s foolishly Conservative enough to rule out the obvious alternative policy: using taxation to quell excess demand aspect of inflation, using the proceeds thereof to deal with cost causes re. gas prices, social hardship, and strategic economic investment.)

    But telling Tories their tax cut dreams are folly, or that trade war with the EU is not a great plan, or that the woke are not stealing all the dubloons, is not going to win him many votes with a UKIP-ified Conservative Party membership.

    The more Sunak looks sensible, the more the base resent him.
    (As I say, the local funding bit is just the quiet part out loud; anyone who pays attention can see where the discretionary funding actually gets spent. Hint: ain’t in Labour or SNP or Plaid strongholds.)

  58. JohnSF says:

    Brief summary of thermodynamics and it’s long term relationship to biology:
    The vacuum abhors a mind.

  59. Beth says:


    Why? Because the human mind is not a tape recorder but just like nature, it *abhors a vacuum*. The mind will fill in the blanks with whatever seems the most logical sequence. Over time, that becomes truth.

    Not entirely true. Given the right amount of trauma at the right time and the mind will intentionally blank everything. The mind will try and protect the rest of the body by just not recording anything and dumping what it can. It would much rather have a vacuum than something terrible.

  60. Beth says:


    Why does so much of US and UK politics look like two drunk idiots seeing who can hold the lit stick of dynamite longest before they throw it.

  61. JohnSF says:

    Where’s Daffy Duck when you need him?

    Excuse me sir, while I open another bottle!
    Would you mind holding this gelignite while I find the corksrcew?
    Much obliged!

  62. Stormy Dragon says: