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Where you can't be off topic because there IS no topic

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Bill says:
  2. For the fans of The Godfather out there two items of interest that don’t really justify posts of their own:

    First, there’s the old story that most fans should know already about how Lenny Montana, who played Don Vito’s bodyguard Luca Brasi got the part:

    Second, a New York Times profile of Robert Evans, a former Paramount executive who bucked the system in the early 70s and helped Francis Ford Coppola fulfill his vision for The Godfather and The Godfather Part II.

  3. Teve says:

    “The implicit theory of presidential accountability being put forward by Republicans, which is that there should be none, under any circumstances, when a Republican is in office, is actually pretty constitutionally scary.” – Ezra Klein

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:
  5. Scott says:

    I got Willie Nelson’s Pancho and Lefty (written by Townes Van Zandt) in my head for days now. Anyone else has tunes that won’t go away?

  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    Trump as Rodrigo de Borja


    I’ve had Norah Jones’ Sunrise-Sunset rattling around my brain for several days. Pleasant tune so it’s not bothersome.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    Months ago I boldly predicted that Biden would finish 4th in the Iowa caucuses. It was a rash prediction, but this mornings NYT/Siena College poll is showing the vote trending that direction.

    Biden is a dead man walking, Never Trump conservatives and centrist Dems, need to coalesce around an alternative quickly. And that alternative needs to be someone who generates excitement in the base and can raise money.

  8. Kathy says:

    I’m reading a Great Course lecture series called “Law School For everyone” (spoiler alert: it’s not really Law School). Unsurprisingly, it contains a lengthy legal disclaimer after the introduction, but surprisingly has a shorter one before every lecture.

    I hope the fourth part of the course, which deals with torts, will go into detail about disclaimers 🙂

    It has proven rather interesting and enlightening. For one thing, it’s very clear the US legal system, as set up, not only permits but requires judges to make law. Pretty much the limits on the Bill of Rights and the rules in the practice of applying these rights, all come from the courts, mostly the Supreme Court.

    I always suspected that complaints about “activist judges” and “legislating from the bench” means “I really, really, really disagree with that legal decision, really.”

  9. Joe says:

    @Kathy: Legislatures legislate in generalities, partly because that’s all they can agree on and partly because they are lazy and unimaginative and poor drafters. But law in real life works in particulars. Judges, liberal or conservative, activist or originalist, are required to take those general provisions – Constitutional or statutory – and apply them to particular situations. That’s the only way it works.

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: You’re more likely to find disclaimers in contract stuff. For torts, it’s going to be “assumption of the risk”. (Sometimes you’ll find written stuff that people sign to show they agree to “assumption of the risk”, but depending on what the legal quarrelling is about you’ve got contract law issues.)

  11. grumpy realist says:

    Nigel Farage trying to use the threat of The Brexit Party standing in every district to force Boris Johnson on giving up Johnson’s Deal.

    As anyone with half a brain cell knows after watching the last three years, there’s no way the Tory Party will plan to leave the EU on a “no deal”.

    Either Nigel Farage honestly thinks he has more support than recent polls have shown him….or he’s playing kabuki politics because he doesn’t really want the U.K. to leave the EU. Much nicer to sit in a comfy chair as a MEP, get a fat salary, and shout from the sidelines.

  12. Kathy says:


    Yes, but aside from that, the US legal system is a common law system. This means it’s based as much on precedent and legal opinions formalized by judges, as on statutes and constitutions.

  13. Tyrell says:

    Some interesting facts about Grady. Delbert Grady.

    Mr. Grady was played by Phillip Stone, who had worked with Director Stanley Kubrick in other films.

    Delbert Grady was employed at the Overlook Hotel as a waiter and caretaker.

    Mr. Grady was married and had two daughters.

    Delbert Grady got into a discussion and argument with the then current caretaker, a Mr. Jack Torrence, in a restroom at the Overlook Hotel. After this argument, both Grady and Torrence suffered complete mental breakdowns and met with bad endings.

    Quote: “You’ve always been the caretaker”

  14. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Johnson would take No Deal, Deal, Remain, becoming a Peoples Republic, or unification with the Seleucid Empire, just so long as he could remain PM.

    Other Conservatives are deeply divided on this; of MP’s probably about a 30 would prefer No Deal but will accept Johnson’s.

    But the party base is more Brexity: some surveys indicated about half preferred No Deal to May’s Deal.
    Probably the numbers are better for Johnson, not for any objective reason but because BORIS!
    But I’d still say at least a third would opt for No Deal given the choice.
    And about half seem to consider UKIP/BrexitParty as part of the Conservative base in a broad sense.

    I saw some twitter rumours (didn’t bookmark, sorry) earlier this week suggesting:
    – an electoral pact between Conservatives and BrxP was imminent (potentially v. bad news for Labour)
    – that Lord Ashcroft among other Tory Eurosceptic grandees was advocating buying off Farage with a peerage
    – that others in the Party were resisting because of Farage’s potential toxicity, and some in Johnson’s circle out of personal animosity

    Fortunately Farage’s clumsy and arrogant speech has probably torpedoed any hope of a pact.
    Added to which, Trump has made a number of comments that probably have the Tories groaning in despair and the opposition parties shouting for joy.

    I would like to sincerely(-ish) thank President Trump: he has just made a Conservative pact with Farage virtually impossible. 🙂

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    Fireside Chat
    Donald Trump wants to read the Ukraine call transcript to the country.

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    Bye, bye Beto. We hardly knew ya’…

  17. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    It’s taken him this long to Sharpie the transcript?

  18. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    O’Rourke will hopefully learn from the process and experience.

    He did better than expected vs. Cruz in his Senate run. And had some early buzz this go round. I would love to vote for a guy who used to be in a punk band and wore a dress onstage, but he just isn’t ready yet.

    Bowing out was the right move.

  19. Mister Bluster says:

    O’Rourke will hopefully learn from the process and experience…but he just isn’t ready yet.

    Even if he runs for dogcatcher in Hamilton, Texas twenty years from now “hell yes we’re going to take your AR-15” will haunt him.

  20. de stijl says:


    I suffer from an extreme chronic case of earworm.

    Lately, it’s been one tiny snippet of lyric from Public Enemy’s Rebel Without A Pause:

    Impeach the President/
    Pulling out my ray gun/ …
    Terminator X

    Do not get me wrong; I love that song. Chuck D is the man. But having it randomly careening thru your head 3792 times a day is maddening. This one is a particularly virulent strain because every time I read the news it is reinforced.

    The only way I’ve discovered to combat an entrenched earworm is to partially dislodge it with several more catchy songs so the effect is diffused so I’m doing that now: I have some fallbacks that have worked before.

    A hardcore, entrenched earworm is maddening.

  21. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I once declined a work outing to the ABBA musical. I went to the pre cocktails thing, but not the show.

    ABBA songs are super catchy, even though they’re not in my normal wheelhouse. I would have been low-grade tortured for weeks if not months had I attended.

  22. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    He is cool with that.

    His proposal will not fly today or tomorrow, but I’m glad he was honest in what he said was what he believed.

    He may have damned himself in Texas for the near (or forever) future, but public sentiment is moving towards his position.

    I would have not been that forthright, but he went for it. I cannot fault him.

  23. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    The core of O’Rourke’s package proposal on guns is supported by a majority of Americans. He would have been fine but for the OTT comment.

    I like that a D candidate went OTT. That space has been the sole property of Rs for decades. Reclaim it. Push the Overton window back, I say.

    Put stretch goals into the public thought space. Warren is doing it, and is polling well.

  24. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Have you ever seen the Spongebob episode where they got the musical earworm? I actually had to outlaw that episode in my house.

    My most recent earworm…..

    I’m going to go see them live with some of my mom friends in a few weeks. Finally got the last of my cattle off the damn mountain, and I am going to go have some fun! The kids were super bummed it was a 21+ show. 😉

  25. de stijl says:


    If you’ve never had The Jackson 5’s ABC stuck in your head for months and months and more months you underestimate how brutal an earworm can be.

    My attempt at inoculation started with The Clash – Give ‘Em Enough Rope (1978). That failed because my favorite song is Safe European Home which invokes Rudy (“rudie can’t fail”). Rudy is too topical, given Giuliani’s involvement.

    I switched to Talking Heads 1977; for me, old school loves banish earworm best. Unfortunately, did not work. Went over to True Stories:

    Papa Legba
    People Like Us
    Hey Now!
    Love For Sale
    Wild Wild Life

    So much goodness!

    Jax, you would like People Like Us. It’s John Goodman singing. The “Country Bachelor” courting Swoozie Curtz via musical performance on TV. It’s quite affecting.

    People like us /
    Who will answer the telephone?

    I haven’t heard Flava Flav in my head for at least 19 minutes and that is my goal.

  26. Teve says:
  27. Teve says:

    Interesting bit from a retired psychologist interviewed by Raw Story:

    There’s a version of projection called “projective identification.” This is the sickest form of projection. In projection, you say, “I’m not the one who hit you. You hit me.” But projective identification is not only that you hit me, but that you as a whole person, your entire being, is evil. I identify you globally; everything about you is bad. Trump does this, for instance, through his name-calling. If you give somebody a name, like “Crooked Hillary,” you’re defining them. That’s a very primitive, although effective, way to projectively identify other people. It’s normal in childhood, by the way. Very young kids do that to each other all the time.

  28. Teve says:

    Jason Campbell
    · 10h
    Fox’s Pastor Robert Jeffress: “The effort to impeach President Trump is really an effort to impeach our own deeply held faith values”

  29. Teve says:


    “The Trump administration is expected to roll back an Obama-era regulation meant to limit the leaching of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury into water supplies from the ash of coal-fired power plants, according to two people familiar with the plans.”

    With a series of new rules expected in the coming days, the Environmental Protection Agency will move to weaken the 2015 regulation that would have strengthened inspection and monitoring at coal plants, lowered acceptable levels of toxic effluent and required plants to install new technology to protect water supplies from contaminated coal ash.”

    “The E.P.A. will relax some of those requirements and exempt a significant number of power plants from any of the requirements, according to the two people familiar with the Trump administration plan, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the new rules.”

  30. Teve says:

    The Agriculture Department projects that farm incomes will reach $88 billion in 2019 but nearly 40% of that — $33 billion — will come from trade aid, disaster assistance, the farm bill and insurance indemnities, according to a new report by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).

    I’ve got a REAL job. 40% of MY income doesn’t come from handouts. Lazy white moochers. Why should I pay taxes to support lazy whites in BFE Kansas who don’t want to take responsibility for supporting themselves?

  31. de stijl says:


    The “best Halloween costume ever” post should have had a warning.

    Immediately induces shocked laughter. Whoever set that pic up is a bad-ass.

    EDIT Actually read the article. Dude is not a bad-ass, but a bad person. Initially thought it was ironic. Sadly, no.

  32. de stijl says:


    You’ve got to remember that these people are simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know …

  33. Teve says:

    @de stijl: I’ve been laughing my [redacted] off. That’s the best Halloween costume of all time. If you investigate its origin you will not be surprised to learn that the creator is a huge POS.

  34. de stijl says:


    My first take was that it was a shockingly funny meta ironic critique of Trumpism.

    But dude was serious. I would love to read the charging documents pinned to the chests of “Obama” and “Hillary”, but the resolution is too low.

    It’s very disturbing, but genuinely made me LOL.

  35. The rules of this forum do not say, “Democrats only, others go away!”

    I am the humble daughter of a beltway boy,
    I was born in Washington, D.C. and my father was an attorney
    for the federal government patent office, high stakes litigation whereby
    the winning party owns the patent and makes a fortune.

    To enable themselves to see all points of view,
    one would sit on one side and argue from that point of view,
    and the other would argue for the other side,
    and then they would stand up and switch sides of the table.

    Incumbent elected Congresspeople, House and Senate,
    who are running for President, should not vote for Impeachment
    of the current incumbent President who is also simultaneously
    running for re-election because that might be considered
    soliciting an “in kind” campaign contribution, something of value,
    to their own campaign; and by voting inside the U.S. Congress
    building for an “in-kind” campaign contribution to themselves,
    the current incumbent members of U.S. Congress who are
    simultaneously running for President 2020
    appear to possibly be in violation of federal law,
    or might definitely be in violation of federal law
    when and if there is an actual Impeachment vote,
    rather than just an inquiry.

    Anyone can file a complaint with the Federal Election
    Commission if they are concerned that a law is being
    violated or is about to be violated soon.

    Title 52
    [USC02] 52 USC 30101: Definitions – United States Code
    (8)(A) The term “contribution” includes- (i) any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or

    anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office

    Title 18
    18 U.S. Code § 607 – Place of solicitation | U.S. Code | US Law
    U.S. Code § 607. … A person who violates this section shall be fined not more
    than $5,000, imprisoned not more … L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(K),

    Due to the rudeness of Democrats who lower themselves
    in forums like this to name-calling,
    as they are unwilling to make intelligent responses,
    I would encourage all people who are disgusted with
    the 3 year on-going apparently UnConstitutional
    Impeachment process to call the Federal Election
    Commission and request two free law books,
    Title 52 and Code of Federal Regulations concerning
    Election Laws, and read them, and file every single
    complaint they can possibly think of against Democrats.
    If you don’t like what is going on, do something about it!

  36. Teve says:

    Open Enrollment for ACA policies is happening Right Now. You should get some of that, because it offers some mental health coverage, which might be beneficial to you since you’re a raving lunatic.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: Interesting music choice. Not to my taste at all–to me it sounds like “every pseudo bluegrass song ever written: the composite cut,” but they’re very skillful. I like the whole cello-on-a-shoulder-strap thing, too. But the overall effect seems derivative to me. Hope you enjoy the show!

    On the other hand, I grew up listening to classic country music (Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Faron Young, and such) and worked 15 years in a place where it played over the loud speaker at night for 12 hours, so I’ve had my fill. Promised I’d never listen to that genre again and have kept it pretty well.

    ETA New topic: @Teve:

    Fox’s Pastor Robert Jeffress: “The effort to impeach President Trump is really an effort to impeach our own deeply held faith values”

    I can go with this. It is, as one of the liturgies puts it, “indeed right, proper, and salutary” to so impeach. These faith values need impeachment. Desperately.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: The saddest part about this is that large quantities of that aid are going to contractors for Con Agra, Cargill, and Unilever and holders of agricultural land investments such as TIAA-CREF. I wouldn’t be as annoying if it were going to, you know, independent farmers.

  39. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, I think
    @Ms. Cris Ericson:
    is making a pretty good first attempt at modern Country/Blues lyrics.

    To enable themselves to see all points of view,
    one would sit on one side and argue from that point of view,
    and the other would argue for the other side,
    and then they would stand up and switch sides of the table.

    A bit more personal poetics or perhaps some surrealist imagery, a rhyming chorus, and a good arranger, could have a niche hit on our hands here.

  40. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: I have been immune to ear worms since learning to play the banjo. Or, maybe it’s just that I got really used to having whatever song I am learning in my head and it no longer bothers me.

    Froggie went a-courtin’ and he did ride (uh-huh)…

  41. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I think the cello is my favorite part! They have another song called Broken Cowboy that’s stuck in my head today.

    I’m quite looking forward to the show.

  42. de stijl says:

    My inoculation plan worked too well.

    Safe European Home is now running rampant through my head.

    I have to pull out the big guns now.

    I flipping hate earworms.

  43. Matt says:

    @de stijl: A bad person indeed..

    TLDR : The dude responsible for that picture hit and killed a latina woman in 2016 with a borrowed car..