Open Forum

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

The floor is yours.

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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Robin Williams, a 32 yr old Johnny Carson Show appearance and it’s still funny.

  2. Bill says:

    Florida headline of the day-

    Boynton police: Call us if you spot Bigfoot

  3. Teve says:

    Bill Kristol
    I’m struck by Trumpworld’s obsession with the whistleblower. Exposing him wouldn’t help Trump’s case a bit. But it’s clear that outing him would be really satisfying psychologically to Trumpsters. One forgets how central to Trumpism are petty vindictiveness and cowardly bullying.

  4. Teve says:

    Maya Shwayder
    I just realized that the word “Dorito” implies the existence of a larger, adulter, possibly more delicious “Doro”

  5. Mikey says:

    @Teve: I can’t disagree with Kristol’s overall impression, but I think it’s pretty obvious why the Trump cult is obsessed with outing the whistleblower: to endanger him/her and to intimidate anyone else who might consider questioning the power of their Dear Leader.

  6. Teve says:

    Andrew Lawrence
    · 9h
    Laura Ingraham blames the GOP losing VA on “demographic changes,” “foreign born population” and an altered “demographic makeup”

    That lady knows her audience.

  7. Kit says:


    why the Trump cult is obsessed with outing the whistleblower: to endanger him/her and to intimidate anyone else who might consider questioning the power of their Dear Leader.

    I suspect the truth is much simpler: obsessing over the identity of the whistleblower allows the Right to control the narrative, at least within their own echo chamber. Once exposed, they can move on to character assassination. And with just a bit of luck, fate will in the meantime throw them a bone with a bit more meat on it. If not, then off to the next obsession.

    Hardy anyone makes death threats, but everyone following politics likes to feel that he’s part of the posse hot on the heels of the truth.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Iran has ‘military advantage over US and allies in Middle East’

    Iran now has an effective military advantage over the US and its allies in the Middle East because of its ability to wage war using third parties such as Shia militias and insurgents, according to a military thinktank.

    In one of the most detailed assessments of Iran’s strategy and doctrine across Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) concludes Iran’s “third party capability” has become Tehran’s weapon of choice.

    The 16-month IISS study called Iran’s Networks of Influence claims these networks are more important to Iranian power than either its ballistic missile program, putative nuclear plans or its conventional military forces.

    Overall, conventional military balance is still in favour of the US and its allies in the region, the report concludes, but the balance of effective force is now in Iran’s favour.

    Despite US sanctions, the report says, Iran has met little international resistance for its strategy, even if it is now facing a fresh challenge from anti-Iranian nationalist protesters within some of the countries in which it wields influence. The findings are likely to strengthen the position of Western diplomats who argue that any new nuclear deal with Iran will have to include not only updated constraints on the country’s nuclear program, but also commitments on its regional behaviour.

    The network, operating differently in most countries, has been designed, resourced and deployed by Tehran as its principal means of countering regional adversaries and international pressure, the IISS says. The policy “has consistently delivered Iran advantage without the cost or risk of direct confrontation with adversaries”.

    The report finds “Iran is fighting and winning wars ‘fought amongst the people’, not wars between states. Iran avoids symmetrical state-on-state conflict, knowing it will be outgunned. Instead, it pursues asymmetrical warfare through non-state partners.”

    I fail to see why Iran should agree to change it’s regional behavior when the US won’t change it’s behavior in the region. Especially when they’re winning.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kit: Hardly anyone makes death threats? Not in my experience.

  10. Kit says:


    Hardly anyone makes death threats? Not in my experience

    I mean as a percentage of the population.

  11. Jen says:

    Regarding death threats: it only takes one committed and off-balance individual to turn a threat into something more, and Trump seems to have loads of supporters just itching to catch his attention.

    I think there are a few things at work with the whistleblower. All of the above-mentioned things (controlling the narrative, the need to discredit through character assassination, and psychologically satisfying to supporters). I think there’s another–Trump asked for the name and it wasn’t immediately delivered. He HATES to be told “no.” So this has just been under his skin for weeks now, that he asked for something and it wasn’t handed over.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Jacinda Ardern’s landmark climate legislation has passed in New Zealand parliament, with historic cross-party support, committing the nation to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and meet its commitments under the Paris climate accords.

    The climate change response (zero carbon) amendment bill passed on Thursday afternoon with the centre-right opposition National party throwing their support behind it late in the day, despite none of their proposed amendments being accepted. The bill passed 119 votes to one.

    Climate change minister James Shaw said the bill, which commits New Zealand to keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees, provided a framework for the island country of nearly 5 million to adapt too, and prepare for the climate emergency.

    “We’ve led the world before in nuclear disarmament and in votes for women, now we are leading again.” Shaw said.

    “Climate change is the defining long-term issue of our generation that successive governments have failed to address. Today we take a significant step forward in our plan to reduce New Zealand’s emissions.”

    Meanwhile, here in the US of Asses…

  13. CSK says:

    @Teve: Years ago, I asked a conservative acquaintance if he listened to Rush Limbaugh. He replied, “Nah; guys like Limbaugh just say whatever their audience wants to hear.”

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kit: They may be a small percentage of the population, but they are everywhere and they are… vocal, for lack of better terms. They are of a certain type of asshole and as most celebs and newsworthy people can tell you, for the most part full of bark but no bite. The anonymous death threat is pretty much risk free which is why so many impotent cowards resort to them.

  15. Teve says:
  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hand of missing Scottish tourist found in shark off coast of Réunion

    You can add that to the “Headlines I Never Expected to Read” file.

  17. Joe says:

    It is an interesting dynamic that the whistleblower’s name has been reported in some corners and apparently by Don, Jr. Trump et al. still treat it as an unknown. It seems more important to treat it as a secret than to actually confront the named individual. Not sure what to make of that.

  18. sam says:
  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Joe: Given the chance to ask questions:

    Trump rejects whistleblower offer to answer Republican questions

    A day after a lawyer for the whistleblower who raised alarms about Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine said his client is willing to answer written questions submitted by House Republicans, the president tweeted: “Written answers not acceptable!”

    The surprise offer to Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, would allow Republicans to ask questions of the whistleblower who spurred the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, without having to go through the committee chairman, Adam Schiff.

    The whistleblower raised concerns about Trump’s 25 July call with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump pressed Zelenskiy to investigate his political rivals. That call became the catalyst for the impeachment inquiry.

    The offer to Nunes did not please Trump, who wrote in a familiar vein: “The whistleblower gave false information & dealt with corrupt politician Schiff. He must be brought forward to testify. Written answers not acceptable!”

    During the special counsel investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, Trump refused to be interviewed in person and instead submitted written answers to questions from Robert Mueller.

    The attorney Mark Zaid had tweeted that the whistleblower would answer questions directly from Republican members “in writing, under oath & penalty of perjury”, as part of an attempt to stem such efforts by Trump and his GOP allies to unmask the person’s identity. Only queries seeking the person’s identity would not be answered, Zaid said.

  20. Teve says:

    @sam: anti-vaxxers are worse than creationists.

  21. Teve says:
  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Someone is putting billboards up in SC with Lindsay Graham tweets.

    The responsible party: Mad Dog PAC

    ETA hat tip to commentor JPL @ Balloon Juice.

  23. Tyrell says:

    The movie “Dr. Sleep” opens in some places today. It is the second movie of “The Shining”.

    Interesting facts about “The Shining” movie:

    Director Stanley Kubrick strayed far from Stephen King’s novel, much to King’s consternation. But he often asked King questions.
    Actress Shelly Duvall had a breakdown during the filming.
    Kubrick ordered over a hundred takes of some scenes.
    The room number that had the ghost lady was changed in the movie. The hotel owners were afraid that guests would not stay in it.
    The red restroom scene with Jack Torrance and Delbert Grady was not filmed in a Target restroom, even though there is a strong resemblance.
    Kubrick’s family was around during most of the filming. His daughter made a short documentary of the filming.
    The movie was filmed in sequence, which is not the normal procedure.
    The famous “here’s Johnny” line was Nicholson’s idea. Kubrick was not aware of the Johnny Carson connection.
    There are lot’s of theories concerning symbols used in the movie.
    Native Americans, gold and banking, alcoholism, Apollo moon missions. There seems to be no evidence that Kubrick was thinking about any of that.
    The ending has many interpretations. As with many films, it had an alternate ending.
    The film was not nominated for any major awards. But now is considered one of the top movies of all time.
    Apologies if you have already heard all this in the last few weeks.
    Enjoy the movie. (I take my own candy in. I do get the popcorn and drink)

  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    The Banach-Tarski Paradox. For whenever I start to feel clever. It’s almost like I can feel my brain bumping into a brick wall.

  25. MarkedMan says:


    as most celebs and newsworthy people can tell you, for the most part full of bark but no bite.

    True, but all too many celebrities can tell you horror stories of people breaking into their homes, showing up at their children’s schools, or harassing people they feel have wronged their idol. And these are people who are obsessed on the positive side. The Republicans are trying to whip up obsession on the negative side.

  26. Scott says:

    Something non-political.

    A couple of years back, my son (a cornerback) had a very severe concussion (a week in the dark, with reduced academics for another couple of weeks). When we went to the doctor, he told us he was treating about 10 other students. About half were girls playing soccer and volleyball. We had an interesting conversation on the prevalence of concussion in high school sports and that the incidence was much higher than reported because kids would hide it because they would be put on athletic and academic protocols.

    If I had to do it all over again, I would steer my kids away from contact sports, especially here in sports crazed Texas. My son had trouble concentrating for about a year and also said he lost his sense of smell for about 2 years.

    It’s just not worth it.

  27. CSK says:

    Very interesting article in today: “Donald Trump Is All Alone,” by Peter Nicholas.
    Apparently even Melania doesn’t talk to him–no real surprise there.

  28. Mikey says:

    @Scott: My 15-year-old son is a big kid–always the tallest in his class, solidly built, pretty much the kid everyone tells he should play football. His response has always been “no thanks, I don’t want repeated concussions.” Thank goodness he understands, even if many adults don’t.

  29. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “One forgets how central to Trumpism are petty vindictiveness and cowardly bullying.”

    One forgets? Really. In this case, I would suggest that the non-standard “I” would be clearer because forgetting what is central to Trumpism would make one unique or nearly so.

    Hard to go back, eh, Billy? Just keep repeating “it’s only Trump, it’s only Trump.”

    ETA: “Hardy anyone makes death threats, but everyone following politics likes to feel that he’s part of the posse hot on the heels of the truth.”

    Which begs the question, why is the truth running from you guys? What are you going to do when you catch it? Send it to Gitmo?

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Joe: Giving the whistleblower a name runs the risk that he will also turn into a person. (Especially if some guy in a Trump-sticker-covered van decides to off that person “as a service to Trump and ‘WE THE PEOPLE.'”)

  31. Mikey says:

    @CSK: He didn’t want to go to Peking Gourmet Inn? That place is incredible.

  32. Tyrell says:

    Reports are flying around that Honda is interested in NASCAR. I would be surprised if they get into that.

  33. CSK says:

    @Mikey: Trump eats only at restaurants on his own properties and from fast food places where the stuff is pre-made and pre-packaged, because he has a pathological fear of being poisoned, and assumes those two are the only safe alternatives.

  34. DrDaveT says:


    the president tweeted: “Written answers not acceptable!”

    Of course. It would be so tedious to have to have someone read them to him…

  35. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: written answers are not acceptable! Anybody can have their high-priced lawyers write good answers that would save them from humiliating themselves and going to jail! Trust me I know!

  36. Franklin says:

    @Scott: I guess I haven’t watched enough volleyball to consider a contact sport. But more seriously, a quick search shows that digging results in a lot of head-to-teammate collisions.

  37. Jen says:


    His eating habits are strange, and guided by his phobia of germs among other things. He and a large group had dinner at one of Manchester’s nicer restaurants on the night before the NH primary in 2016. He, and everyone else at the table, ordered their food “well done”–whether it was steak, chicken, fish, etc. I’m betting that wasn’t because everyone has the same preferences. Weird as heck.

    Somewhat relevant to this: his campaign has been running fundraising contests for contributors to Win a breakfast with the President! Most states require publication of the winner’s name, no surprise, that hasn’t happened. One winner was provided breakfast, but not with the president, potentially leaving the whole thing open to charges that it’s a scam (shocker!).

  38. Scott says:

    He, and everyone else at the table, ordered their food “well done”–whether it was steak, chicken, fish, etc.

    This is always one of those things that puzzle me. Is everybody always so intimidated by this guy? No one would say: No, I’m having it bloody red?

  39. Kathy says:


    It’s like “The Emperor’s New Clothes” for morons.

  40. Kathy says:

    I’m taking a break from the torts section of The Great Courses’ “Law School For Everyone,” because I’m just tired of the subject. While I recover, I’m giving a whirl to “The Fall and Rise of China,” also from The Great Courses.

    There are some interesting parallels between 1800s China and 1800s Russia. Notably insularity, stagnation, conservatism, arrogance, and a strong central authority.

  41. CSK says:

    @Scott: Part of it is intimidation. The other part is a weary acknowledgment that it’s less stressful just to go along with him, the way tired parents accede to a screaming toddler.

  42. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I specialize in athletic and recreation facilities.
    Even worse for kids…those outdoor playscapes…the ground is never maintained and is usually hard as concrete.
    The adolescent brain is going through a rapid growth spurt…damages at this time are worse than any other time.
    But HS facilities are notoriously under-funded.

  43. Sleeping Dog says:

    Interesting, Honda has been very active in F1 and Indy car as an engine supplier, but low profile for a long time as a team owner. Regarding their production cars, except for the NSX, they are barely noticed for performance street cars, plus they don’t have an engine for NASCAR’s profile racers

  44. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Which part of that is confusing?

    I don’t like the claim that you can divide an object into an infinite number of infinitesimal points that still have a notion of mass, volume and energy (all infinitely small), because that runs against the standard model of quantum mechanics, so I question whether there are real world applications, but other than that it seems pretty straightforward.

    Take all the whole numbers — there’s a countably infinite number of them. The 1st is 1, the 2nd is 2, the 3rd is 3, and so on. Straightforward, right? We will call there’s Whole[1], Whole[2], …

    Now, let’s use that to create all the even numbers. There are two ways to do this.

    – Even-A is created by taking all the whole numbers, stepping along, and filtering out the odd ones. You would expect that there are half as many as there are whole numbers. After all, stepping to Even-A[1] requires looking at Whole[1], discarding it, and then looking at Whole[2].

    – Even-B is created by taking all the whole numbers and multiplying by two. You would expect that there are as many numbers in Even-B as in all the Whole numbers. Even-B[1] requires just looking at Whole[1].

    But, Even-A is identical to Even-B. The only difference is which process (which runs forever) creates them, and how quickly you can get to the 100th element of each.

    It only becomes a paradox when you assume the calculations take no time.

    All the rest, with creating two spheres, is window dressing. You effectively create two spheres by following the pattern for creating Even-A, but putting the discarded elements into Odd-A, or better yet, Odd-Plus-One-A.

  45. Jen says:

    @Scott: I honestly have no idea, but being a jerk about food orders is apparently a family trait. I read this piece in the NYT when it first ran, and this passage has stuck with me, it’s so strange:

    Mr. Trump grew up with an influential role model for how to deal with women: Fred C. Trump, his powerful and unyielding father.

    The elder Mr. Trump exerted control no matter how big or small the decision, as Ivana Zelnickova learned over dinner one night in the late 1970s. Her boyfriend, Donald Trump, had invited her to join his siblings and parents at Tavern on the Green, the ornate restaurant in Central Park.

    When the waiter came to take orders, Ivana made the mistake of asking for what she wanted. Fred Trump set her straight, she recalled in a previously unpublished interview with Michael D’Antonio, the author of “The Truth About Trump.”

    Fred would order steak. Then Donald would order steak. … Everybody order steak. I told the waiter, “I would like to have fish.” O.K., so I could have the fish. And Fred would say to the waiter: “No, Ivana is not going to have a fish. She is going to have a steak.” I said, “No, I’m going to have my fish.” And Donald would come home and say, “Ivana, why would you have a fish instead of a steak?” I say, “Because I’m not going to be told by somebody to have something which I don’t want.”

    –Ivana Trump, ex-wife

    Mr. Trump defended his father’s conduct. “He would’ve said that out of love,” he said. If his father had overruled her fish order, Mr. Trump said, “he would have said that only on the basis that he thought, ‘That would be better for her.’ ”

    This family has been dysfunctional for decades upon decades.

  46. Kathy says:

    I was going to bring up bridge-jumper bets in relation to the odds of the Senate removing Trump.

    A bridge jumper bet is a bet on the outcome of an event that’s very likely to happen. In other words, it pays very little. For example, the bet that there won’t be a safety in any given football game has very good odds; safeties are rare. If you want to make such a bet, you have to lay down a lot of money to receive Avery small payment. For example, ii may pay 1 dollar for every 100 you bet. Meaning if you lay down $100 and win, the sports book will pay you $101.00.

    It’s called a bridge-jumper bet, because if you lose, you’ll feel like jumping off a bridge. A friend of mine likes laying down thousands on such bets, and on occasion he loses (though he has yet to jump off a bridge).

    So, the bet that Trump won’t be removed ought to pay maybe $0.10 for every $1,000 or so.

    A more interesting bet is whether a majority of the Senate will vote to remove. That’s far more likely to happen, though so far I think there are only three probable votes for removal on the GOP side: Romney, Collins, and Murkowsky. If anything, it’s also a bit likely a few Democrats in red states might vote to acquit, say Jones in Alabama.

  47. An Interested Party says:
  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: I stopped the YouTube video shortly after I saw that his demonstration with the dollar was a slight-of-hand trick. The math of it is way beyond my ability to keep up and is probably based on the numerical equivalent of slight of hand (which any accountant at a movie production company can tell you about 😛 )

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Yes, as I said. “for the most part full of bark but no bite.”

    Jeebus. What the fuck.

  50. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No offense intended

  51. Kathy says:

    Taking a slight break, what do you all think of this idea:

    In the mid-far future, say around the 2120s, an AI attempts to take over the world (yes, Pinky: I know), and we have a Terminator-style AI apocalypse. After years of war, say around the 2140s, the AI takes a human soldier prisoner and takes her back in time to the late 1980s, in order to prevent the war from ever starting. I want to make it clear both the AI and the soldier travel back in time.

    Too much like a Terminator plot? Or just different enough I won’t get sued?(*)

    I don’t really want to get into developing it right now. I’ve too much to work on as is.

    (*) That’s also taken from Pinky and The Brain.

  52. Teve says:

    It only becomes a paradox when you assume the calculations take no time.

    there’s a creationist lunatic named Joe G who argues that all math using infinities is wrong because you can’t count to infinity.

    He is a numbnut. 1 + ½ + ¼ + ⅛… = 2, regardless of how much time one has.

  53. Teve says:

    @Kathy: Harlan Ellison’s corpse’s lawyer is on the phone. He’s very angry.

  54. Gustopher says:

    Oh, good, Bloomberg is going to be filing for the Democratic Primary.

    Current debate rules would keep him out (he doesn’t raise money for his campaigns). I suppose he could task someone to raise some money for him, and then promise to donate it all to homeless shelters for lactose intolerant kittens or something.

    I’m pleased he’s thinking Democratic Primary rather than running as an independent, and I wish him the best of luck.

  55. Teve says:

    If Michael Bloomberg is in fact entering the Democratic primary, I hope he fails spectacularly.

  56. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: The math is fine. The application to the real world is dodgy.

    (Ok, I’m not sure you can represent all the points on a circle or in a sphere as a countably infinite progression, and I’m not sure of the consequences of the jump from countably infinite to uncountable infinite, but Wikipedia says the math is right…)

    @Teve: I believe it was Barbie who said “math is hard”, and I don’t think she was dealing with infinities or limits. It’s easier than quantum mechanics or relativity, but hard.

  57. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: I like Bloomberg. I don’t like all of his policies, but I like him. He’s amusingly out of touch, but well meaning.

    His synagogue is kind of famous for being a “um, sure, god exists, I guess, if you really need him to…” synagogue. I like that. When I moved to NYC in college I found my people — lapsed Jews. And he’s basically one of them. Good people, those lapsed Jews.

    I don’t know if the Democrats want a liberal or a moderate, and I have no idea what the country as a whole wants. I am honestly worried that my preferred candidate has a decent chance of getting the nomination because I know I am outside the mainstream.

    And I’m comfortable with him. He’s like a grown up Pete Buttigieg.

    I’m not going to vote for him in the primary, but if he does well, I’d be fine with him.

  58. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: if it gets the nomination I’ll vote for him. In the meantime I hope his favorite plane is a 737 Max.

  59. Kathy says:


    the lawyer or the corpse?

  60. An Interested Party says:

    Pity the poor billionaire

  61. Kathy says:

    Excerpts from the much anticipated book by Anonymous is out.

    The link is behind the Post’s paywall, but this time using an incognito window worked for me. No doubt it will be all over the news tomorrow, and we’ll get a thread here, too.

    I’m past caring. Anyone who doesn’t know by now Trump is grossly unfit for office, an ass-kisser of all dictators, and interested only in receiving adulation and flattery from his deplorables and enablers, won’t ever admit it.

    Also, you’d expect someone in Anonymous’ position, who claims to be utterly appalled by what passes for the Trump administration, to have done more than write a book that will undoubtedly sell well and make them some money. Things like, you know, blowing a whistle.

  62. Gustopher says:

    Every year, I mail in my ballot at the last possible minute just to ensure it isn’t counted in the first ballot drops. Get it postmarked Tuesday afternoon before the polls close, and let is slowly work it’s way to the election board.

    And every year, Seattle has some kind of election where the liberal candidate or position gets a big swing in the days after the election, and conservatives have a sad.

    Sawant threatening Orion in Seattle City Council race with substantial Thursday vote count

    The socialist incumbent is still trailing Egan Orion, but her share is now 48.6%, up from 45.6% Tuesday. If Sawant were to take a share of the remaining ballots similar to what she took of the votes added Thursday, she would pass him

    She isn’t my council person, so I’m not one of those uncounted votes, but I try to do my part.

    Also, someone has been painting swastikas on our local turtles. Im not a fan of this.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Wikipedia tells me that Bloomberg was born in 1942, making him 77 and the oldest candidate of the bunch. Yikes! (But as least I know why it isn’t unreasonable to you that a 70-year-old would have a screening procedure to put themselves in line for ~$500,000+ in colon cancer treatments. 🙂 )

  64. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Why the venom? I have trouble understanding why he rates more negative than “meh”.

    Am I missing something?

    He’s basically a liberal Republican, from an era when that was a thing.

    Do you just prefer it when the seven Jews who rule the world (Soros, Spielberg, Goldie Hawn and Harrison Ford (each half Jewish, so they share a position), Bloomberg, the Rothschild giraffe (the species is represented by a regent), Gertrude Stein’s matrilineal heir, and Spiderman (he uses a hyphen to hide his Jewish heritage, but we know)) operate from the shadows?

    (Joking, of course. I just like coming up with ridiculous lists of the 7 Jews Who Rule The World… the world would be in better shape if that 7 ruled)

    But, seriously, why the venom? I could see it for Howard Schwartz running as an independent, but Bloomberg as a Democrat?

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “Also, you’d expect someone in Anonymous’ position, who claims to be utterly appalled by what passes for the Trump administration, to have done more than write a book that will undoubtedly sell well and make them some money. Things like, you know, blowing a whistle.”

    Okay, but where’s the money in that? The way you talk, you’d think that people go into government to serve the public.

  66. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: it’s not a screening procedure to put yourself in line for colon cancer treatments, it’s a pruning to prevent you from getting colon cancer!

    (A pruning which can also show if you have colon cancer, but the main benefit is the pruning, if you start pruning before you have colon cancer)

    I don’t know if it makes sense for people in their 70s, but I would trust their doctors and the medical community at large.

  67. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: An aide to Devin Nunes has apparently been spreading the whistleblower’s name around.

    I think they should both be up on charges.

  68. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: for the record, I think a 70 year old with cancer should be told “well, you had a good run. By the way, here’s a list of states with medically assisted suicide, should you choose that. You’ll want to set up residence now, before the pain gets too bad.”

    Preventive care to avoid an expensive treatment and a terrible death… that I’m in favor of.

  69. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I can understand Anonymous’ desire to remain anonymous. After all, if I were enabling a terrible presidency that I thought was a danger to American interests, I would hope no one connected me to that.

    The left wing really needs to find a welfare circuit for these people similar to the Wingnut Welfare Curcuit. Tell all, cash in, become the conservative commentator on MSNBC, coast to irrelevance…

  70. Tyrell says:

    @Sleeping Dog: When Toyota joined NASCAR, they did not yet have a V8. The officials let them do some fancy engineering.

  71. Teve says:

    Seen on the internet: “Trump is George W bush with compound interest.”

  72. Scott says:

    @Jen: Part of that is Old World customs but pathologically applied. I remember going to dinner with a friend and her parents in the 70s. Parents were 1st generation Greeks (think My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Father ordered for the wife. It was tradition based on patriarchy (woman shouldn’t talk to strangers). Of course, smart and respectful husbands ordered what their wives wanted. On the other hand, the parents didn’t think their daughter should go to college. She did anyway and ended up with a PhD. Parents, of course, were extremely proud.

  73. Teve says:

    Binyamin Appelbaum
    When Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975, the top income tax rate was 70 percent. Taxes on corporate income and capital gains were a lot higher too. Yet now Gates is among the affluent Americans warning that higher tax rates would stifle innovation.

  74. Teve says:

    Trump’s gotta pay $2 million for swindling charity money he raised “for veterans”.

    Party of Family Values 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛

  75. grumpy realist says:

    Interesting article showing how Nigel Farage (and others) have totally done a bait-and-switch on their strategy for Brexit.

    As has been pointed out, most of the Brexit kerfluffle hasn’t been done because they in fact want to get out of the E.U.–it’s all for political power and they’ll continue to blame everyone else for their Utopian dream-land not manifesting–even though they haven’t done a single bit of realistic planning for it. Very few official Brexiters want to admit that the process of the U.K. untangling itself from the E.U. will take a long time and be very complicated. Much easier to just blame “Remoaners”, the E.U., judges, people in London, immigrants, etc. etc. and so forth.

  76. Jen says:

    @Scott: I’m familiar with that–what irked me was the correction “no, she’ll have the steak.”

    It’s one thing to go to a fancy restaurant where the waiter hands the woman a menu without the prices on it (largely gone now), or where the man orders for the woman (doesn’t happen often now, but I’m old enough that I remember this from when my family went to fancy restaurants and my dad would ask us what we wanted, and then would place the order for us).

    It’s the CONTROL issues that rankle me with the Trumps. It’s excessive and very, very weird.

  77. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Gym Jordan is being accused by a professional referee of ignoring the abuse of 177 students, by Dr. Richard Strauss, under his watch.
    This is the second person to say that they told Gym Jordan, directly, about the abuse.
    So first Gym Jordan stood up for a pedophile…now he is standing up for Trump.
    Stay classy, Republicans.

  78. Stormy Dragon says:


    for the record, I think a 70 year old with cancer should be told “well, you had a good run.

    If it’s treatable cancer, why should a 70 year old not be allowed to get treatment?

  79. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    And let’s give a specific example. Stage 1 or 2 Thyroid cancer has a five year survival rate of 98% with treatment. What is the basis for denying a 70 year old access to thyroid cancer treatment purely because they’re 70?

  80. Mister Bluster says:

    If it’s treatable cancer, why should a 70 year old not be allowed to get treatment?
    Arbitrary Term Limits.
    My mom was 87 when she was diagnosed with some malady (I forget what) that required intestinal surgery. My sister (an RN) and I consulted with the doctor.
    I asked the surgeon about survivability at her age.
    “If the procedure is successful we could get another year out of her.”
    That was good enough and in fact the operation went well. She lived the next 14 months at home and spent only her final 10 or 12 hours in the hospital before she died.
    I’m glad we had that time together.

  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: @Mister Bluster: What’s interesting to me is that this discussion started with a comment from me noting that if we as a nation go to the sort of program that Conservatives are fulminating aboutd–care paid for entirely by de gubmint–that we should start asking questions about the relative merits of treating everyone for everything in every circumstance. I noted, that I will choose not to get a second colonoscopy at 70 because I won’t care what kind of polyps I have at that age. None of my position should have been taken to mean that no one, anywhere, for any condition should be given treatment after some certain age, and yet I seemed to cause a maelstrom of extenuating circumstances stories and lectures about preventative care and the virtues of it. Interesting.

    I still think we should ask the questions. And I suspect that in 99% of the cases, both Stormy’s stage one thyroid cancer and Mister Bluster’s colon resection are going to get treatment. And ignint cracker’s real or imagined colon polyps should be left undiagnosed if that’s what he prefers at age 70 because the consolidation in his lungs is proceeding apace and colon cancer might be quicker. Contrary to what the futurists tell us, nobody’s getting out of here alive.

    But ask the damn questions! Should want tax dollars to be spent wisely!

  82. DrDaveT says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Should want tax dollars to be spent wisely!

    Indeed. Nobody wants to talk about the opportunity costs.

    @Mister Bluster is glad he had that extra year with his mother, and I’m sure we can all relate to that. However, if (hypothetically) the costs of providing her that extra year could instead have provided 50 additional QALYs somewhere else in the healthcare system, it would be hard to justify spending public funds to buy mom’s less-than-one additional QALY. If all healthcare is government-provided, that’s the conversation you must have.

  83. Stormy Dragon says:


    However, if (hypothetically) the costs of providing her that extra year could instead have provided 50 additional QALYs somewhere else in the healthcare system, it would be hard to justify spending public funds to buy mom’s less-than-one additional QALY

    Allocations are never going to be based on raw QALY effects. e.g. diabetes kills more than 30 times as many people in the US than HIV, yet the NIH spends three times as much on HIV research as it does on diabetes research.

    Any politician who suggested that most of the HIV research budget should be redirected to diabetes research because of the QALY differences would be pilloried in the press as a monster.

  84. Mister Bluster says:

    Mister Bluster’s colon resection…
    How did you know?
    A month or two before my mom died I was diagnosed with diverticulitis complicated by an abscess in my abdominal cavity. On a scale of 1 to 10 the pain that alerted me to this condition was about 1000!
    I was employed with Verizon Communications at the time (not Verizon Wireless). The health insurance benefits they provided then (2008), for which I paid nothing, covered 100% of my surgery and 100% of my seven day hospital stay. They also paid me sick pay the equivalent of 40 hours a week for each of the seven weeks I was recuperating.
    As for mom I guess we would have had to factor in whatever contribution Medicare was making to the cost of her antipsychotic fluphenazine (Prolixin) that was very successful in managing her 50 year bout with chronic schizophrenia.

  85. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I was thinking more of the later stomach cancer that has an abysmal 5 year survival rates.

    The questions of how much quality of life, and at what cost should be considered.

    Bankrupting America to eke our a few more months for every old person is not the answer, But all too often we try to maximize the quantity of life rather than quality, regardless of cost.

  86. DrDaveT says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Allocations are never going to be based on raw QALY effects.

    I didn’t mean to imply that they would — just that efficiency matters when you have finite resources. Given how much America hates to be taxed, spending that tax money ineffectually isn’t sustainable.

    e.g. diabetes kills more than 30 times as many people in the US than HIV, yet the NIH spends three times as much on HIV research as it does on diabetes research. Any politician who suggested that most of the HIV research budget should be redirected to diabetes research because of the QALY differences would be pilloried in the press as a monster.

    Here you have shifted from treatment to research, which is somewhat different. That said, politicians should not be allowed anywhere near these decisions — they require experts and ongoing adjustment as technology changes. If politicians need to be involved, you get something like the current Veterans Disability schedule, which mostly still reflects both medical technology and workforce economics from before WW2. Nevertheless, it can’t be changed because no politician is going to touch a bill that looks like it’s taking money away from veterans…

  87. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I apologize. You stepped on my last feeling. It may not be much, but it’s the only one I got.

  88. Mister Bluster says:

    I think I reported this a long while back at a far left wing website, but I don’t think they paid any attention.


  89. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    But all too often we try to maximize the quantity of life rather than quality, regardless of cost.

    But that’s easy to understand, just like with toddlers and “parent quality vs. quantity time” quantity time is quality time when the person getting the extra time is someone you love. And no, we don’t care what it costs, either. When my dad finally passed away, it was because the doctors and my brother stopped my mom from ordering a complete blood transfusion because their insurance would have paid for it. And I guarandamntee you that the quality of his life was abysmal by that time, but the quality of my mom’s life was going to be greatly diminished by his passing. That’s what she was thinking about.

    To the best that I could tell from the correspondence I got from both my mom and my brother, my dad died on my birthday. I thanked God for remembering my birthday the next day. I was relieved that my dad’s suffering was finally over. I’m grateful also that my mom was able to pass peacefully. I talked to her on what was apparently the last lucid day she had. A few days after our talk I got a call that she was in a coma and she died a few days later.

  90. An Interested Party says:

    Remember when Nikki Haley was supposedly the reasonable Republican? Not so much…

  91. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I may just be cold-hearted. I used to adopt cats with the feline leukemia virus because I wanted a cat, but I didn’t want a long term commitment.

    I learned two lessons — everything I love dies, and I’ll love the next cat just as much.

    I’m not sure which of those lessons turns out to be creepier.