Open Forum

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

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Meet Erika the Red: Viking women were warriors too, say scientists

    Think of a Viking warrior and you probably imagine a fearsome, muscular, bearded man. Well, think again. Using cutting-edge facial recognition technology, British scientists have brought to life the battle-hardened face of a fighter who lived more than 1,000 years ago. And she’s a woman.

    The life-like reconstruction, which challenges long-held assumptions that Viking warrior heroes such as Erik the Red left their women at home, is based on a skeleton found in a Viking graveyard in Solør, Norway, and now preserved in Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History. The remains had already been identified as female, but her burial site had not been considered a warrior grave “simply because the occupant was a woman”, according to archaelogist Ella Al-Shamahi.

    As they worked on reconstructing her face for a 21st-century audience, scientists found that not only was the woman buried amid an impressive collection of deadly weaponry, including arrows, a sword, a spear and an axe, she also had suffered a head injury consistent with a sword wound. Her head, resting in her grave on a shield, was found to have a dent in it serious enough to have damaged the bone.

    Whether the wound was the cause of death is unclear as scientific examination has revealed signs of healing. But Al-Shamahi believes that this is “the first evidence ever found of a Viking woman with a battle injury”.

    “I’m so excited because this is a face that hasn’t been seen in 1,000 years… She’s suddenly become really real,” said the expert in ancient human remains, who is to present a forthcoming National Geographic documentary featuring the reconstruction.The skeleton was always identified as female, but never as a warrior, even though her grave was “utterly packed with weapons”, added Al-Shamahi .


    Al-Shamahi said that she “could have been a military commander”, although some experts still resist the idea that women could have been such warriors.

    Obviously these “experts” need to get out a little more. If they did they might meet some of the women I’ve known over the years.

    Back in my WY days I knew one who was a powder monkey in the mines. She was about 6-3, 6-4. One night in a bar some guy told her that if she could pick him up and carry him out of the bar he’d give her a night to remember. She promptly picked him up, threw him over her shoulder, grabbed a 6 pack, and walked out of the bar. And he was no shrinking violet either, about 5-8, 5-9 tall and almost the same wide.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Kentucky governor embraces the Trump playbook in re-election bid

    Can’t run on your record? Just lie.

    It was a perfectly Trumpian moment for one of America’s most Trumpian governors.

    Kentucky’s attorney general, Andy Beshear, had just accused the Republican governor, Matt Bevin, of lying in a debate last week, saying: “This is just more of the same from a governor who says that someone commits suicide on a casino floor every night.”

    “I’ve never said anything like that in my life,” Bevin shot back at his Democratic challenger for the governor’s seat.

    “It’s all on tape!” responded a flabbergasted Beshear as Bevin continued his denials.

    Of course, there is a tape: the governor’s comments that people kill themselves in casinos – though, not specifically casino floors – were made without proof in July and helped fuel Kentucky’s election news cycle for a few days. But Bevin appears to have taken a lesson from the president on the art of denial.

    With a disapproval rating of 53%, Bevin is currently ranked the second-least popular governor in the country according to Morning Consult – and for much of the year, he was the least popular. But despite that unpopularity – largely driven by his combative personality and repeated attacks on public school teachers – there’s a fairly good chance he’s about to win re-election on 5 November.

    But of course, it’s Kentucky.

  3. Teve says:

    The Real Reason Facebook Won’t Fact-Check Political Ads
    It’s not about free speech.

    you’ll never guess what it’s about! (You’ll totally guess what it’s about)

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Hubble constant: a mystery that keeps getting bigger

    And until very recently, these two different approaches produced estimates that appeared to be consistent with each other, although there were considerable uncertainties associated with both measurements. “Everyone’s best bet was that the difference between the two estimates was just down to chance, and that the two values would converge as more and more measurements were taken,” says Mortlock. In other words, as the two values were tested with greater and greater precision, their differences would disappear.

    Unfortunately for astronomers seeking a simple fix to the problem, this has not happened. “In fact, the opposite has occurred,” says Mortlock. “The discrepancy has become stronger. The estimate of the Hubble constant that had the lower value has got a bit lower over the years and the one that was a bit higher has got even greater.”
    The dissimilarity may not sound great but it is significant. They say there is now less than a one in 100,000 chance that this difference can be accounted for by chance. “This is not just two experiments disagreeing,” says Riess. “We are measuring something fundamentally different. One is a measurement of how fast the universe is expanding today as we see it. The other is a prediction based on the physics of the early universe and on measurements of how fast it ought to be expanding. And these measurements have now been independently corroborated by other groups so that the discrepancy does not depend on any one tool or any one team.

    “And if these values don’t agree, that means there is a very strong likelihood that we’re missing a factor in the cosmological model that connects the two eras.” In short, something appears to be absent from our understanding of the universe and the Hubble constant has become the focus of a hotly contested battle to discover the nature of this invisible influence.
    Not every scientist is over the moon about the prospect that one of these proposals is the answer to their measurement quandary and still hope that in the end it may be possible to reconcile the two values they get for the Hubble constant. This point is stressed by Mortlock. “We already have found that our universe is dominated by dark matter and by dark energy whose effects we can observe but whose basic nature is a mystery. They are two huge question marks that are already hanging over our understanding of the cosmos. Personally, I do not feel the need for a third.”


  5. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: as a former physics person, this is awesome. You can’t do any awesome new science when all the data agrees with what you already think, which is been too often the case now in both particle physics and cosmology.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I agree. A world without mystery is a very boring place indeed.

  7. Teve says:

    Ricardo Montero
    The President is here and the boos are deafening. #UFC244

    apparently Trump thought if he went to a UFC fight those would be his people? because they were NOT his people.

    Best comment on Twitter: “I guess only liberal elitists go to cage matches.”

  8. Teve says:

    Tom Colicchio
    If you start off by saying I’m not? You are
    Quote Tweet

    Bishop Paul S Morton
    · Nov 2
    Dems I pray U will use wisdom in voting. Being too liberal will not win. I am not Homophobic. But it is definitely not the time 4 POTUS 2b a man with his husband up there by his side. There are those of us who love everybody But we believe in the Biblical Definition of Marriage

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Maybe if it had been in Alabama he’d have gotten a warmer reception.

  10. de stijl says:

    Why is the identity of the initial whistleblower so important to Rs?

    All of the assertions have been proven true by subsequent testimony by first hand witnesses. (Remember two weeks ago with the hearsay argument?)

    Apparently, some site has identified the initial whistleblower.

    I do not understand the focus and effort. Impeaching the first person to report these shenanigans does not make the shenanigans dissappear.

    Do not get it.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: They engage in character assassination because both the facts and the law are against them.

  12. Teve says:

    You know, we live in a country where if you want to go bomb somebody, there’s remarkably little discussion about how much it might cost, even though the costs almost inevitably end up being orders of magnitude larger than anybody projected at the outcome. But when you have a discussion about whether or not we can assist people who are suffering, then suddenly we come very, you know, cost-conscious.”

    -andy bacevich

  13. Teve says:

    @de stijl: same reason Republicans despise Greta Thunberg. She’s too young to have something in her background they can smear her with to their idiot followers. Their followers are so dumb they accept character assassination as rebuttal. Al Gore is fat and flies in planes therefore global warming isn’t real.

  14. Kathy says:

    Terminator Dark Fate: Meh.

    My one big gripe is there are humanoid killing machines in the future, one of which gets sent back in time, called Terminators. Physics is the same for everyone, nomenclature is not.

    I may post spoiler-ridden thoughts about the movie later.

  15. Teve says:


    My one big gripe is there are humanoid killing machines in the future, one of which gets sent back in time, called Terminators.

    I’m not clear on what the gripe is there.

  16. Teve says:

    Holy shit Donald Trump just gave Paula White an official government job in outreach.

    for those who don’t know, Paula White is a christian con artist who does things like tell her followers that if they send her all their paychecks from January, God will bless them for the entire year!

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:


    for those who don’t know, Paula White is going to Hell.

    I decided to shorten that for the tl;dr crowd.

  18. de stijl says:

    I have a decent lifehack.

    When clipping fingernails and toenails stick your hand or foot into a shopping bag.

    The “flyers” stay in the bag.

  19. CSK says:

    @Teve: Heartwarming, isn’t it? There’s nothing quite like waking up to the sound of Trump being booed.

  20. Teve says:

    Apparently Trump is claiming there were 303,000 new jobs created last month? Wut? I would link but it’s USA today, which sucks.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    Why is the identity of the initial whistleblower so important to Rs?

    Simple answer is that it will discourage future whistle blowers if this individual is harassed by the Tiny mob. But you’ll ask, won’t repugs benefit in the future from whistle blowing in a Dem admin?

    The answer to that is, besides being shameless, repugs can’t think of a future beyond next week and recall the past beyond the day before yesterday. Kind of like your dog, you feed him and 15 minutes later, he’s bugging you about his next meal.

  22. de stijl says:


    Why do evangelicals support a person like Trump? It’s bonkers crazy. He is the antithesis of everything they purport to hold dear as supposedly core beliefs.


  23. CSK says:

    @de stijl: Because, in their view, Trump is tough and he’ll fight for them. The so-called nice guys won’t fight the godless libtards.

  24. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Stupid manipulative dog!

    (h/t old school Homer Simpson)

  25. Teve says:

    @de stijl: same reason Ronald “those monkeys” Reagan started his campaign at the Neshoba County Fair. Racism.

  26. mattbernius says:

    I had seen people talking about her and all I knew about her is that she is part of the “Prosperity Gospel” con. This morning I got around to reading her Wiki page. Wowzers…

    Granted I come from a Protestant background, but I just don’t get how any Christian can support this type of person. On the other hand everything about her seem very on brand for PoTUS.

  27. de stijl says:


    Typical Trump Org. economics. Lie about everything. Hype earnings for the books lenders see. Sink revenues for the tax man books. It’s automatic behavior.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: They have but one core belief: Hate everyone who isn’t a Christian just like me.

  29. de stijl says:

    Carry over from the previous Open Thread:

    still with the persistent, chronic earworm

    The Clash’s Safe European Home

    The only way I’ve found to disrupt and disarm an earworm is to just overwhelm the brain with like 18 equally catchy songs.

    Double edged sword, though. I caught this earworm trying to silence an earlier one.

    Is my life going to be a series of catchy songs stuck in my head forever? Frankly, that sucks pretty hard.

  30. de stijl says:


    But Trump isn’t even in shouting distance of any balanced understanding of Christianity.

    He’s the Nero of modern American now.

    Christians supporting and voting for a person like Trump is insane.

    It’s almost like they aren’t Christian at all. (WINK!)

    Now attempting a winky emoji:

    EDIT: winky emoji didn’t take. Imagine it, though.

    Here’s the text version ; )

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl:

    It’s almost like they aren’t Christian at all.

    DINGDINGDING!!! We have a winner.

    You know that book they loudly proclaim to be the inerrant word of God? You know, the one that says, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”….

    Wait a minute, that’s not the book. It’s the one that says, “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

    No no… That’s not it either. It’s the one that says, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord: but they that deal truly are his delight.”

    Dammitt, that’s wrong too. I guess that as an atheist I just don’t know what book it is that is the inerrant word of the one true god.

  32. de stijl says:

    There is a bit in Safe European Home where Strummer breaks up the word lovely as lov-a-lee. Brilliant.

    That and Mick Jones’s Greek chorus commentary and critique of the song as it unfolds. Again, brilliant.

    I need to get this song out of my head.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: Oh yeah, To get a wink emoji type ; than – than ) no spaces. Now that I’ve said that, let’s see if it still works for me here, 😉

    Yep, still works here.

  34. de stijl says:


    Gosh! It’s almost like they are behaving like a political bloc.

    I’m shocked! This is my utterly shocked face.

    Actually I am a wee bit shocked at the dissonance of a person like Trump as the person they worship.

  35. de stijl says:



    EDIT thanks! I missed the dash in the middle.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: I read recently (wish I could remember where) that earworms are all of a certain length (like one or 2 bars) and the way to get one out of your head is to listen to one or 2 bars of a different song. I have no idea if it actually works or not.

  37. Teve says:

    Jeanine Pirro
    · 13h
    The democrats are tearing this country apart. They are wusses, wimps and weasels. They don’t have the chutzpah to face Donald Trump in November, I don’t blame them. Because he’ll blow those wusses, wimps and weasels right out of the swampy water they call home. #OpeningStatement

    that’s not what chutzpah means, moron.

  38. de stijl says:


    Alliteration + the rule of three.

    Down points on repeating the www bit. Rookie move.

    Make your killer point and get out.

    Btw, in her head, Pirro pronounced the C in chutzpah.

  39. de stijl says:


    You’re sort of implying that Jesus is a wuss and a libtard and that the New Testament is now moot.

  40. Teve says:

    Conversation I just had with a smart young friend this morning here in BFE North Florida, in a county that went 70% for Trump:

    Him: I saw a zombieland 2 last night.
    Me: how was it?
    Him: it was good! But it was weird to be the only one laughing at half the jokes in the movie.
    Me: why were the other people not laughing at half the jokes?
    Him: I don’t think they were getting the references.

    Apparently in Columbia County Florida, Zombieland 2 is too sophisticated and elitist. 😀 😀 😀

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Heh. Getting ready to get busy this AM I decided to slide over to Pavlovitz’s place and see what got stuck in his craw this week. He starts This isn’t Christianity with a picture of Paula White and various other conmen laying hands on trump and quotes:

    “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” — Jesus (Matthew 5:5-6)

    after which he tears apart whatever it is they are practicing.

    It’s a favorite verse of mine, so much so I cite it on the back of my truck.

    For the record, Pavlovitz is a practicing Christian, as in one who tries to follow the actual teachings of Jesus, or as I an atheist would say, the words that have been put into the mouth of the one we call Jesus. Some of which are good words, words an atheist can live by.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I can hardly wait for it. The first one was too much fun.

  43. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: yeah, some people have complained that it would just be repetitive, and a rehash, but I want the exact same thing as the first one, just more of it 😀 😛 😀

  44. Teve says:

    Tom Goodwin
    Nobody seems to win these days.

    Typically the marketplace layer (Uber,Grubhub, Handy,Amazon etc) is burning vast piles of VC cash,while the workers delivering are paid tiny amounts.

    All we’re doing is spoiling customers into unreasonable expectations while killing the planet
    Quote Tweet

    Scott Galloway
    · 15h
    Uber & Lyft’s wage claim: $15.60
    Actual wage equivalent: $5.64 via @UCBLaborCenter @kjacobs9

  45. Kathy says:


    That requires a


    Spoilers to Terminator Dark Fate follow:

    You’ve been warned.

    In the original movie, we learn the terminators look human so they can infiltrate and destroy human groups Skynet is fighting. Fair enough. In this movie, Skynet is a memory in Sarah Connor’s and Carl’s minds only, and therefore Legion, the new AI, wouldn’t use the same terminology or humanoid shape for its soldiers (which BTW also applies to the HK’s mentioned and seen near the end).

    So, sure, Legion and Skynet use the same time travel method. Physics is the same for everyone. But Legion and Skynet also both use humanoid robots called terminators? Sorry, nomenclature is not the same for everyone.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:


    that it would just be repetitive,

    They bring back Bill Murray????!!!! Please oh please oh please……

  47. de stijl says:


    These SJWs and their radical beliefs about equality and fair play, that women can be competent and possess agency, retroactively ruined my love and appreciation of the original Ghost Busters.

    Damn them!

  48. de stijl says:


    Looked up “BFE”.

    I now have new knowledge.

  49. Teve says:

    Thanks for the spoiler warning, I haven’t seen the movie so I had to skip your comment.

    My own strategy for talking about spoilers is to put them in rot13. if there’s somebody out there who has used rot13 so much that they can read in it, my apologies. 🙂

    Oehpr Jvyyvf jnf qrnq gur jubyr gvzr.

  50. CSK says:

    @de stijl: And maybe, to them, the New Testament is moot.

  51. Kathy says:

    SPOILER-ridden thoughts on Terminator Dark Fate


    You’ve been warned.

    The best part of the movie was the trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, even though it hints at yet another Terrible Bad Guy Redemption Finale. The worst part was the cappuccino I ordered, which tasted like warm, perfectly frothed milk, which might, or might not, have come within a few inches of actual coffee.

    The BIG SPOILER comes near the middle, when we learn the Connors, their Terminator, and Miles Dyson, succeeded in the second movie, and prevented Skynet from ever being developed. So this latest “terminator,” the Rev-9, was sent back in time by a different AI, one called Legion, originally designed for cyber warfare.

    This tells us two things: 1) the notion of fate (or deathly destiny) which goes back to at least the Ancient Greeks, is alive and kicking in Hollywood. You have your prophecy, so you have your future, and you can’t change it. 2) Terminator 3, the Rise of the Machines, and Terminator Genisys never happened (yay!); but neither did The Sarah Connor Chronicles 🙁 And there’s no way to tell whether Terminator Salvation did or did not take place in the fictional Sarah Connor/Terminator universe.

    I move that if we’re doomed to create an AI that will tear down human civilization, and then attempt to eradicate us completely, we should give it a really cool name. Skynet, for example, sounds ethereal, powerful, almost majestic. Legion, not so much.

    The question of whether AI can be harmful, or catastrophic, to us humans is a serious one. This movie does not raise the issue in any specific way. That’s because the Terminator movies are not Science Fiction action movies, but rather action/cool weapons movies with a Science Fiction set-up.

    The Rev-9, now, was a very interesting concept. First movie we had a solid metal terminator with organic coverings. In the second, we got a liquid metal (which presumably solidifies in between being liquid) terminator. In the third, we got an attempt at combining the two, never being very clear. In this one, we get a solid metal skeleton with a liquid metal (presumably solidifiable as well) covering that can detach and function independently of the skeleton. It’w two (2), TWO terminators for the price of one.

    I suppose we’ll get a sequel where Dani and Sarah, along with more and different beings form the future, fight to prevent Legion from being developed. And then yet another sequel where a third AI takes over and tries to erase humanity off the face of the universe.

    I wouldn’t do that. Me, I’d do a sequel where the good gals try to keep Legion from being developed but fail about one third into the movie, and Dani dies in the attempt, so no one will save humanity. Then we get the Legion take over and requisite AI Apocalypse in the second third. And finally the rise of some other person to lead the human resistance.

    Why? Well, if fate decrees an AI Apocalypse, it also decrees the rise of a human savior, be it John Connor, Dani Ramos, or Someone Else.

    Finally, a word from XKCD on the matter.

  52. Teve says:

    Anne Wheaton
    I’ve noticed a very interesting pattern if I respond to the pres or any high follower person associated with him: my mentions get flooded with attacks on me for exactly 8 hours. It’s as if they’re working an 8 hour shift and then suddenly, silence.

    Very interesting, indeed.
    10:34 AM · Nov 3, 2019·Twitter for iPhone

    Chris Withers
    Replying to
    Bots? Are the attacks definitely from real human accounts?

    Anne Wheaton
    I don’t know. What I have discovered though is if I respond to one, they all glom onto me and that one response. If I say nothing to any of them, they leave my mentions completely after 8 hours.

    tons of “political speech” generated by highly-resourced algorithms run by unknown foreign players is definitely going to be Awesome for democracy.

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Now if said bishop will kindly explain how accepting the Biblical definition of marriage (in a country where I would guess even 90% of Evangelicals don’t read the Bible regularly let alone the population at large) has to do with formulating foreign, economic, and military policy, we’ll be set

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Well yeah, but if we waste our treasury helping people we’ll never have enough money to bomb anyone. Fair’s fair. Lines must be drawn!

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I always add a hyphen between the colon/semi and the paren. 😉 🙂 (Two spaces before the next key stroke, too.)

    ETA: (expanded view) ; – ) : – )

  56. wr says:

    @Kathy: If nomenclature was the only problem with Dark Fate it would have been a fine movie. But to me it just felt so tired. The need to keep repeating beats from previous movies in the franchise means that a big chunk of the movie is reruns. And empty reruns at that. Terminator 2 is one of the best-structured script of any action film, it’s driven by a strong theme — “If a machine can learn the meaning of life, maybe we can, too…” and powered by real character conflict.

    This one seems to have no theme, and one of the central ideas — that John Connor would learn to be a leader by coming to understand that not having to fight is the only way to win — has been replaced by the notion that everything will be okay if only happy, nice girls learn to kick ass.

    There were a couple of nice Cameron-ish ideas in there in the back half — mostly having to do with Schwarzenegger’s character — but they were buried in an avalanche of repeated story beats and endless action scenes.

  57. wr says:

    @Kathy: “This tells us two things: 1) the notion of fate (or deathly destiny) which goes back to at least the Ancient Greeks, is alive and kicking in Hollywood. You have your prophecy, so you have your future, and you can’t change it.”

    Which, by the way, completely undercuts the secondary major theme of T2 which is that there is no fate other than what we make ourselves. Yes, the little chica does say something like that here, but since the new Terminator gives her concrete proof that this is false it doesn’t carry a lot of weight.

  58. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Teve: That last, from Anne Wheaton, is super interesting.

    Between that and that depressing article about Facebook and political ads, my conclusion is that one should ignore strangers, and assume they are bots or foreign agents, unless you can prove differently. Or maybe I should say, it confirmed my conclusion, which I have already acted upon.

    We need an updated version of the Turing Test, wherein one becomes convinced that not only is a “personality” not a computer, it’s also not a sock puppet run by a corporate/foreign agency. We need a name for that.

  59. Teve says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Between that and that depressing article about Facebook and political ads, my conclusion is that one should ignore strangers, and assume they are bots or foreign agents, unless you can prove differently.

    Yep. I block all trolls on social media on first offense.

  60. de stijl says:


    It’s cool to know that Russian bot farms do not institute mandatory overtime during crunch time.

    Domestic tech companies could learn from this.

  61. de stijl says:


    Wait, what? Tom Colicchio. That Tom Colicchio?

    Actually, I have dream pitch for Bravo: Tom Collichio and Tim Gunn get in a crappy RV, travel around this great nation, and talk to interesting people.

    It’s the Odd Couple meets Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

    It should feature tons of low key bickering on the road between let’s say Mobile to Memphis.

    Bravo, get this done.

  62. mattbernius says:

    I recommend this essay from the WSJ grappling (pun intended) with how to document Trump and the UFC.

  63. Michael Reynolds says:

    Evangelicals go for Trump because they’ve been trained from birth to swallow any lie that comes from a loud, bouffant-haired white man. They believe the world is 6,000 years old, FFS, why would they hesitate to swallow Trump’s 13,000 lies?

    Reality is a harsh mistress. Lies are so much more comforting: it’s not your fault, it’s all part of a divine plan, all those people having more fun than you will burn in hell, you’re going to live forever. . . Once you unshackle yourself from reality why not go all the way into fantasy land? What’s left to challenge your fantasy once you give yourself permission to dismiss truth as irrelevant?

    To be fair people on the Left have their own fantasies: miracle foods, cleanses, anti-vax, everything-for-everyone politics, but their nonsense isn’t about hate and violence. Credulity on the Left results in bad food. Credulity on the Right results in church shootings and threats of civil war.

  64. DrDaveT says:


    In short, something appears to be absent from our understanding of the universe

    This is my shocked face: 8^O

  65. DrDaveT says:

    @Bishop Paul S. Morton:

    There are those of us who love everybody But we believe in the Biblical Definition of Marriage

    Which Biblical definition would that be, Paul? The one that permits a certain number of wives and concubines? The one that says a man who has sex with a virgin must marry her and never divorce? The one (Exodus 22:16) that permits marriage by rape, so long as you pay the bride price? The one (Deuteronomy Chapter 25) that says that the brother of a man who dies without a son must marry the widow? The version where wives cannot initiate divorce proceedings, or the version where they can? They’re all equally ‘biblical’…

  66. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: The one Newt and Rush and Donald read. 😛

    ETA: and Rudy.

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: There’s one from the book that you’re using that will explain everything adequately:

    Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

  68. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks for the pointer to Pavlovitz’s blog. Much appreciated.

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    The worst part was the cappuccino I ordered, which tasted like warm, perfectly frothed milk, which might, or might not, have come within a few inches of actual coffee.

    Are you sure you didn’t get a macchiato by mistake? You should have asked them to do it over.

  70. Teve says:

    How much money is the US federal government spending to deal with climate change? I wonder what the total is.

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Don’t know Tom Colicchio from Tom Collins, but Tim Gunn has always seemed at least passingly interesting to me. (Maybe it’s the “famous Second Banana” phenomenon, IDK.) Yeah, I might even tune in to Bravo to watch… oops, never mind, don’t have cable anymore.

  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I would guess somewhere between a buck three-eighty and a buck three-eighty-five. Maybe as much as a buck three-ninety, but I doubt it.

  73. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I would guess somewhere between a buck three-eighty and a buck three-eighty-five. Maybe as much as a buck three-ninety, but I doubt it.

    Actually, the Department of Defense is spending Real Money ™ on planning for the consequences of climate change, and their definition of Real Money tends to dwarf everyone else’s. It has been interesting to watch the cognitive dissonance that results during Republican administrations.

  74. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Short version: I am sure I ordered a cappuccino.

    Long version: I usually have a triple, meaning three shots of espresso. In all likelihood, the movie theater uses Nespresso machines (they advertise it as being Nespresso), which at best would use two shots, most likely one.

  75. Kathy says:


    Which, by the way, completely undercuts the secondary major theme of T2 which is that there is no fate other than what we make ourselves.


    Which was my big beef with Terminator 3. It is here, too, even if dressed up as “See? It’s a completely different AI doing the exact same things Skynet did. It’s all completely different.”

    But it got me thinking, so I can’t fully dismiss the movie. It gave me a few ideas, too. What if we take the basic Terminator set-up, where an AI sends back a cybernetic assassin to kill the future leader of the resistance, and said resistance sends a soldier (or a co opted Terminator) so protect said leader of said future resistance, only this time the AI is the good guy?

    There are two ways this could work, or two that I can see:

    1) The AI nearly wipes out humanity because of the damage we’re doing to the planet.

    2) AIs take over the world, but rule humanely and insure all humans have enough resources to carry on reasonable lives. But some people are really sore at this and want the machines gone. Why? Pi ck a reason: they made people of our religion and infidels equal; they’ve made rich and poor equal; they’ve made whites and people of color equal; they permit abortion and same-sex marriage, etc.

  76. de stijl says:

    Now Dream Operator (Kay Culver version) is bouncing around in my head non-stop.

    Been waiting so long
    Now I am your dream


  77. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Better than mine. Another Dead South song. Lyric’s go something like “I just want liquor and diiiiirty whoooores….and I….don’t care….no moooooorrrrreeeeee!” (rousing instruments, everybody stomping to finish)

    (Face smack emoji, which doesn’t translate here AT ALL!!!)

  78. de stijl says:

    TIL Joy Division stole the drum beat in She’s Lost Control from The Ronettes Be My Baby.

    That is so cool!

  79. Teve says:

    Jon Favreau
    This entire impeachment process is just gonna be all of us knocking down the most offensively stupid arguments from Trump supporters every minute of every day, isn’t it?

    Charles Johnson
    Cults can be highly industrious.

  80. de stijl says:

    I independently love both The Ronettes and Joy Division.

    Never would have guessed there was any sort of cross-over until today. That there is makes me really happy.

    Today was a good day.

  81. de stijl says:


    It’s confusing whenever I see the name Jon Favreau. Is it the actor / director guy or the political guy? One of them should start using their middle name to differentiate.

    The actor / director Jon Favreau made a bunch of The Avengers movies and cameos. Remember Rudy? Dude was the dude who said “He’s so tiny” from the stands when Rudy finally took to the field towards the end.

    Political Jon Favreau was a Obama speechwriter. Entirely different dude.

  82. Teve says:

    @de stijl: I was watching one of the Iron Man movies and thinking to myself ‘is that the dude from swingers? He got fat’.

  83. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Looove, love will tear us apart, agaain….

    My best friend Becky and I used to listen to this on our lunch breaks in 1989. It reminds me of her, and it is a good thing. She died when we were 33. Her daughter is everything she would’ve wanted her to be, if she could’ve watched her grow up.

  84. de stijl says:


    You’re so money.

    And you don’t even realize it.

  85. de stijl says:


    Love Will Tear Us Apart Again is transcendent. Especially now that we know what was going on in his life at that time. Tragic.

    All of Closer and Unknown Pleasures.

    The world is a slightly better place because Ian Curtis was briefly here.

  86. de stijl says:


    That Pavlovitz link was powerful.

  87. de stijl says:

    Stumbled upon some early Talking Heads ephemera on youtube.

    Search Talking Heads – CBS Studios Demos 1975

    Very cool.

  88. Teve says:

    The Hill

    Education Secretary Betsy DeVos: “Government has never made anything better or cheaper, more effective or more efficient. And nowhere is that more true than in education.”

    Mark Copelovitch

    The government is not a business, universal public education is one of the greatest achievements in American history, our public universities are the envy of the world, and this is pathetic nonsense from an Education Secretary.

  89. wr says:

    @Kathy: I’m sure that sometime in my reading life I must have come across a novel about a revolutionary force fighting a benevolent dictatorship believing that “freedom,” even with misery, is better than the “slavery” of contentedness without agency. Can’t come up with anything right now, but if it does indeed exist it must have been written by an American.

    Heinlein’s horrible Farnham’s Freehold is as close as I can come, but he loads the dice pretty heavily against that dictatorship. (As I recall, males have to be castrated before they’re admitted into society — this was the moment that Heinlein’s brain probably should have been tested for plaque build-up…)

  90. Kathy says:


    That’s a rather common theme. Asimov wrote on of his Multivac short stories about it (I can’t recall the title), and arguably that was the theme in Clarke’s novel “The City and the Stars.” Or how about “Brave New World”? An oppressive, repressive dictatorship based on making people content.

  91. Kathy says:

    I made risotto yesterday for the first time. I think my shoulder wants to sue.

    Every recipe I looked up says to add broth in small portions until it’s all absorbed, and to stir constantly. Adding small portion is ok, but is there any real material difference in the outcome if one does not stir constantly? I assume the problem is the rice at the bottom and edges of the pan, would stick and burn.

    Even before I was done, I was thinking “I won’t cook this ever again.” But it came out pretty good, mixed with mushrooms sauteed with onions and garlic in a sherry reduction, and I then thought perhaps next time I can mix in some barley, and perhaps not chop the mushrooms but just slice them, and maybe skip the sherry reduction, and I just see myself trying again two weeks from now…

  92. DrDaveT says:

    The Brookings Institution is hosting a webcast panel on “Impeachment, Foreign Interference, and Election Security in 2020” today, from 3:30 PM to 5 PM Eastern. No detailed agenda has been posted.

  93. DrDaveT says:


    Actually, the Department of Defense is spending Real Money ™ on planning for the consequences of climate change

    Just to put some numbers with that… from 2016 to 2018 DoD spent about $30 million per year on climate change planning and mitigation under the “Strategic Environmental Research and Development” program. Other climate-related funding is scattered here and there, such as ~$1 million per year for research into alternative “low global warming potential” substances for use in fire suppression systems, refrigeration, etc.

  94. de stijl says:


    Risotto is one those things where you have to properly do it.

    That said, I tend to buy it rather than make it, myself. Restaurants serve a purpose.

    It’s sorta a pain in the tush.

    Counterpoint: do a curry. Same up-front work, but you can ignore it once everything is in the pot. Do some standard rice, and ladle on top.

    Less work, more yum.

  95. DrDaveT says:


    I’m sure that sometime in my reading life I must have come across a novel about a revolutionary force fighting a benevolent dictatorship believing that “freedom,” even with misery, is better than the “slavery” of contentedness without agency. Can’t come up with anything right now, but if it does indeed exist it must have been written by an American.

    The classic version of this is the series of Humanoid stories by Jack Williamson in the 1940’s, collected into a couple of omnibus novels called The Humanoids and The Humanoid Touch. The original key story (1947) was “With Folded Hands”, in which the humanoid robots created to do the dangerous and tedious work are so caring and protective of humans that they won’t let them do anything even remotely dangerous, treating them all like kindergartners until they go crazy with boredom.

    Vonnegut’s Player Piano is a different take on the same thing, in which the (quite well off) welfare class eventually revolts against the technologists who automated them into irrelevance.

    (And yeah, Farnham’s Freehold is a real stinker — three or four cool ideas buried in a swamp of libertarian silliness, misogyny, jingoism, weird sideways racism, and kink.)

  96. DrDaveT says:


    Adding small portion is ok, but is there any real material difference in the outcome if one does not stir constantly?

    Short answer: no, just don’t let it scorch.

    Stirring makes it creamier, but you can make perfectly good risotto adding the stock 1/2 cup or more at a time and stirring occasionally. My friend the professionally-trained chef makes it in the microwave — add stock, zap it up to boiling, stir it a bit to soak in, lather rinse repeat.

    I do find that the initial step of sauteeing the arborio rice in the oil or butter before you start to add stock does seem to help.

    My favorite trick is to add dried whole morels at the very beginning, and let them rehydrate as you cook the risotto. Much cheaper (and more available) than fresh morels, and the flavor is killer. If you don’t like the texture, pick them out when you serve.

  97. de stijl says:

    Was watching a HGTV home make over show and the dude in the buyers couple was Big Boi. Chubbier and beardier, but basically Big Boi just more suburban

    Myself, I prefer Andre. Andre writes better songs. Hey, Ya is my song of the century hands down, but Big Boi can spit so fast and so technical.

    Stankonia was nigh perfect.

  98. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    Myself, I prefer Andre. Andre writes better songs.

    I am taking perverse delight in the fact that we both love love love music, and yet I have only even heard of one of the bands you’ve named so far (Joy Division), and none of the songs. Music is my new metaphor for America.

  99. wr says:

    @Kathy: You don’t have to stir constantly. Just don’t go away and watch a half hour of TV between stirs…

  100. Kathy says:


    Short answer: no, just don’t let it scorch.

    I may just go with that next time.

    I also found out for some reason I have trouble stirring with my left hand. I manage, but I have to pay attention.

  101. DrDaveT says:


    I may just go with that next time.

    I use a non-stick saucepan, too, which is cheating but it helps enormously.

  102. Kathy says:


    Wait. There are other kinds of pans? 😉

  103. inhumans99 says:

    I think this has not been mentioned in this thread, but if you go to politico you can see the first of what will be several stories as the behind closed doors transcripts are released, this deserves its own post on this great site. Also, Richard Spencer audio was leaked (and you will never believe who leaked the audio) and that also deserves its own post.

    Hopefully, one or both of the above stories will show up on this site soon.

  104. DrDaveT says:


    Wait. There are other kinds of pans?

    I hear ya, but it turns out that you really can’t brown-and-deglaze properly in a nonstick pan. So I own some Le Creuset enameled iron boat anchors that I use when I need to do that.

  105. Kathy says:


    I will say I await the arrival of a non-stick pan that nothing sticks to, regardless of cooking temperature. Even the fancy ceramic covered pans so popular today can’t handle melted cheese.

  106. Kathy says:

    Next open forum, time permitting, I want to bring up a small detail seen in the latest episode of The Good Place. It concerns Brent, the douchebag rich guy the Bad Place foisted on our intrepid heroes.

  107. Teve says:

    Tom Nichols:

    I am immobilized with a heating pad on my back, so you’re all getting my Sunday night blast of ill-temper about Trump’s latest attacks on Vindman and others. Bottom line: We are not required to think well of people who are still defending this. /1
    This should be, in any sane country, a bipartisan moment. The President is now committing multiple impeachable offenses every day by demanding laws be broken at his command. Republicans – especially – should have cut Trump loose long ago as a matter of duty. /2
    Yes, some support for Trump is “polarization.” But it’s also something darker: It’s a party of opportunists manipulating an ignorant mass of propaganda-addled people. The GOP and its media enablers are as hollow and cynical a group as has ever existed in American politics. /3
    “Polarization” implies that people give a shit about policies and ideas. I will fight all day long with @CharlesPPierce or @jentaub on the left, or @JayCaruso on the right, because we disagree about policies and visions for America. That’s not this. This is something else. /4
    This is what happens when a group of people whose lives are ordinary and full of normal problems spend too much time connected to an internet and a cable box that tells them their lives could be awesome but for the people in the Emerald City. An old story, with new technology. /5
    What’s also new is that the GOP – once called the party of ideas even by Sen. Moynihan in my lifetime – has now decided that being in power is more important than fidelity to ideas or to the Constitution itself. There is no legal or constitutional red line they respect. /6
    Mass communication technology exploited by unprincipled and cynical leaders in wink-wink cahoots with foreign powers, demagogues getting rich by scaring rubes and old people, a sociopath with a cult following. This is something we once would have joined together to stop. /7
    Nixon was heading for impeachment for a *fraction* of what Trump has done. Republicans know this. They once prided themselves on being the messengers to the White House that the line had been crossed. No longer. /8
    But back to the main point: Our fellow citizens who affirmatively support this behavior do not deserve our understanding or our patient arguments. They are beyond this. They deserve our unyielding – and peaceful – disapproval. There is no obligation to be “understanding.” /9
    Their support for Trumpism should not produce shouting matches or ruined family dinners. It should produce resolute changing of the subject. Outside of family, it should lead to shunning of friends who insist on arguing over why Trump is right to smear combat veterans. /10
    At some point, friendship and comity require shared values. Americans have broken friendships over early Communism, McCarthy, civil rights, Nixon, Vietnam. This was not a tragedy. It was the social opprobrium that is a sign of moral health rather than relativistic anomie. /11
    This is another of those times. The President has become a raving paranoid on national television, name calling members of Congress, smearing military officers, promising secret revenge, demanding others in the govt break the law, deriding our intel and LE professionals. /12
    There is no “but socialism” or “but abortion” hiccup that is acceptable. None. Republicans did not say “if we impeach Nixon the commies will roll over us and there will be abortions in the streets.” They did their duty before the Constitution. The country eventually agreed. /13
    I have no interest in debating anyone on why Trump’s crimes are not impeachable. We all know better. Sens. Portman and Collins and Romney and yes, even McConnell, all know better. This is not a good-faith disagreement, and it never was. /14
    The bright spot here is that this is not “Civil War 2.0” or a fascist movement. That would require commitment and bravery from the Trumpist inner circle. They are led by a cowardly man and they are cowards themselves. The rank and file are groupies, not activists. /15
    There is no mass movement party here, no hard central corps of true believers who will advance the cause, because there is no “cause.” Trumpism is about people who watch too much TV, who have shown, over three years, they have no real idea what to do with power anyway. /16
    But the damage to the legitimacy and the long-term health of our institutions is now, in some cases, deep and irreversible. This will harm everyone long after this idiocy is over, except for the right wing grifters who will take their payday and skip town. /17
    If you are still enthusiastically supporting Trump, your politics are morally flawed, or you are lying to yourself. More likely, you know what you’re doing, and you’re supporting him for the pure opportunism of using an increasingly sick man for your own parochial interests. /18
    Either way, the rest of us are not obligated to respect those views, no more than we had to respect the supporters of Joe McCarthy, Father Coughlin, Huey Long, George Lincoln Rockwell, or any of the other hideous Americans who attracted a mass following. Enough is enough. /19x

  108. de stijl says:


    Today I discovered an alternate version of The Ting Ting’s That’s Not My Name.

    I’ve only listened / watched it a few times, but I think I prefer it to the original. Harder sound. But the rave up at the end is less pronounced. I have to listen more and let it sink in.

    Great day, all in all.

    Music isn’t a metaphor. It is life.

  109. de stijl says:

    How could one choose between The Pixies version of Head On and the original Jesus and Mary Chain version?

    Both are life altering. No bad choice there.

    I feel most genuinely alive and truly me when I am listening to music that I love.

  110. de stijl says:

    Someone wrote Slave To Love. It was born in their head. They created that.

    That is astonishing.

    Bryan Ferry sang it well, but some weirdo brave genius created that first.

  111. wr says:

    @de stijl: “Bryan Ferry sang it well, but some weirdo brave genius created that first.”

    Um, yeah. Some weirdo brave genius named Bryan Ferry.

  112. de stijl says:


    I would have bet on Brian Eno.

  113. de stijl says:

    I always thought that was a Roxy Music song. Didn’t realize it was solo Ferry. Cool!

  114. wr says:

    @de stijl: “I would have bet on Brian Eno.”

    Eno left Roxy after their second album in 1973. Slave to Love was released in 1985.