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


  1. Bill says:

    In depth news reporting of the Epstein bungling prosecution-

    To the first prosecutors, Epstein’s victims were prostitutes

  2. Teve says:

    Adrian Wojnarowski Retweeted
    Tim MacMahon
    Luka Doncic joined LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to score 40+ in triple-doubles as 20-year-olds. Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas and Oscar Robertson are the only players to put up such lines at age 21. The kid is consistently in historically elite company.

  3. Teve says:

    Wired: Bernie Sanders and the truth about Amazon, food stamps, and tax breaks

    (I’m not a Bernie stan, but he’s right about a lot of things, he’s just unelectable, unlike WARREN 2020)

  4. Kit says:

    @Teve: That was a good article. The non-disclosure agreements make me as mad as any of the other outrages.

    Both Bernie and Warren would do the country a huge service simply by making the average citizen aware of what’s going on.

  5. Teve says:

    Ro Khanna
    The former McDonald’s CEO is receiving almost $42 million as an exit package after having a relationship with an employee.

    The average McDonald’s crew member earns $9 per hour or $18,720 per year.

    This is why workers are fighting for $15 and a union.

  6. Teve says:

    New Yorker: Facebook and the “Free Speech” excuse

    the title is great because it triggers libertarians, but the article is really good too.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    This country desperately needs a good healthy dose of socialism.

  8. Teve says:

    I would say social democracy, but yeah.

  9. Gustopher says:


    (I’m not a Bernie stan, but he’s right about a lot of things, he’s just unelectable, unlike WARREN 2020)

    Bernie is the gadfly that makes Warren electable.

  10. Gustopher says:

    Has Trump been seen since he rushed off to the doctor for a non-emergency sudden partial physical? If we learn that he had a heart attack (the White House has already denied it, and that usually means that we are about to learn things are worse than we had considered…), and now have a Presidential race where two septuagenarian candidates have had heart attacks… I don’t think that would be good news for Biden, Warren, Bloomberg…

  11. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: if so, hopefully Warren will make a crack about how women live longer than men. 😀

    she’s on the Hero’s Journey, so there must be many trials and tribulations before victory.

  12. Scott says:

    U.S. Has World’s Highest Rate Of Children In Detention: U.N. Study

    Is it time to consider the possibility that there is something seriously wrong about us and our country?

  13. Tyrell says:

    What is the latest about the killing of US citizens in Mexico? What is going in with that?
    May I make a suggestion? The US could partner with Mexico in hunting down the guilty parties – anyone who had involvement. The mission would also destroy the drug cartel that is responsible for the violence and drugs going into other countries. This could be a commando type operation in coordination with Mexican forces. It could be aided with air strikes. The gun traffic that winds up down there needs to stop.
    Mexico needs a firm policy, not accommodation.
    There is precedent for this type of operation: the operation against Pancho Villa.
    See: “Mexico Loses Its Sovereignty to Cartels” (WSJ 11/10)

  14. Kathy says:

    I attempted risotto again, this time I added a half cup of barley. It was good, but not entirely what I was expecting. Maybe next week I’ll do barley without the rice, cooked the same way.

  15. CSK says:

    @Bill: I’ve read only half of it, but so far that is one sickening article.

  16. CSK says:

    @Kathy: Barley in soup, as a substitute for beans, rice, or potato, is quite nice.

  17. Michael Reynolds says:
  18. Kathy says:


    I’ve used barley a great deal in stews, with or without rice or potatoes.

    On other things, we’re about a month away for what promises to be the last Star Wars film in a while. Apparently the “A Star Wars Story” idea didn’t pan out.

    I am looking forward to it, but I can’t say I’m eagerly looking forward to it. I am eagerly looking forward the finale of The good Place. That story keeps getting interesting. In this new SW trilogy, the story kind of stalled in the second movie.

    Oh, it was a good movie, but it didn’t advance the narrative much.

  19. CSK says:

    @Gustopher: He’s been Tweeting up a storm, that’s for sure. And I think it’s him doing the Tweeting: lousy punctuation and grammar.

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “…if so, hopefully Warren will make a crack about how women live longer than men.”

    Or maybe Democrats should acknowledge that the things that they like about Warren are mostly pipe dreams (no matter their virtue as ideas to work toward) and pick somebody younger.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: I don’t believe that this factoid is particularly new. I’m not sure anymore, but I recall reading similar data from my own teen/college years. That several hundred thousand are being detained by ICE is new, but the society here has been sick for a loonnnnnnnng time. 🙁

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: That’s because there’s no narrative to advance. For the movies to exist, the war between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire must be eternal. The story is stock and the characters can be as flat as manhole covers and still work fine–it’s Saturday Matinee serial with a ridiculously bloated budget.

  23. grumpy realist says:

    Brexit…(falls over snoring.) Ditto for the election. (More snoring)
    About the only decent comment was someone over in the EU pointing out that there was no way anything but a bare-bones FTA or No-Deal could be ready by the end of 2020 (Boris has said there’s no way he’ll extend until 2022.) Put under “obvious comments on reality” for $200, Alex….

    Oh, and it looks like no one in the government has bothered to actually figure out what the economic effect of Boris’s FA will actually be.

    Watching all of this lack of preparation, I scratch my head and wonder how in the HELL did Britain ever manage to get a world-wide empire in the first place?!

  24. KM says:

    At work right now, watching the definition of insanity play out in real time.

    Someone accidentally sent a private request intended for HR to an mailing group that includes… well, it looks like the whole damn company at this point. At first the emails were innocuous – “I think you meant this for someone else” or “I’m not sure I should have received this”. Then came the confused “why am I on this?” or “is this a virus?” (so of course you send it to everyone AGAIN *smh*). Then the angry replies to those fly.

    It’s. Still. Going. 85 emails in the last 10 minutes, most of them some variation of “STOP SENDING THIS TO REPLY ALL!!!111!” We’ve topped over 500 email in an hour with people replying to their own “STOP SENDING” with “I REALLY MEAN IT STOP”. When it looks like it’s dying down, some troll kicks up “LOL I’m sorry but this is funny at this point” and boom, here come the outraged make-it-stops again.

    They’re the ones keeping the damn chain going in their insistence this needs to halt *immediately*. If they’d just shut up and not reply for 10 mins, it would die off. If they didn’t rage type but actually stopped and thought about what was happening, the link would be broken. Not everything that pisses you off needs to be addressed – sometimes, it’s best to ignore it and let it die. An unexpected life lesson for a Tuesday morning but important nevertheless.

  25. Michael Cain says:

    Seen a lot of articles recently about Appalachia as a dying rural region. I’ve always been curious why Appalachia gets all the “love” rather than the Great Plains, which are much closer to dead. I’ve been playing with my prism map software to do a simple-minded comparison of the two regions.

  26. grumpy realist says:

    @Michael Cain: I suspect it’s the influence of C&W, honky-tonk, and Nashville. Tearjerking ballads about living up in them thar hills, the “romance” of the Hatfields vs. the McCoys, etc. etc. and so forth.

    Prairie states are different. Farming on square chunks of land with no one around except starlings and prairie hawks. No one writes a “my gun and my poor dawg” ballad to a corn silo.

  27. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    No. There was a civil war, the good guys won, then something happened, then First Order and Snoke and Kylo are chasing Leia and Poe and BB-8, and Luke is nowhere to be found.

    In the meantime, this young woman from nowhere is powerful in the Force (*), and Fin defects from the not-the-Empire, and Kylo blasts the New Republic’s (whose??) capital system, and the good guys defeat the better-than-the-Death-Star-but-still-incredibly-vulnerable super weapon.

    Then we kind of take a break for a long, slow chase, a visit to a casino, and scenic Ach-to where we are very disappointed in Luke, and Yoda shows up, Kylo tries to turn Rey, the chief bad guy is gone, Kylo surpasses his grandfather.

    And then?

    See, the story kind of stalled in the middle.

    (*)She wins the McGuffin!

  28. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: Wow. That maps pretty perfectly to the effect Trumpers have on these comment threads…

  29. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @Kathy: I’m really disappointed in these SW sequels. It basically undercut the entire original trilogy-wait, the Rebels didn’t win?!?!? In fact it was all pointless because the same ^&%$^&% situation is happening again?

    And don’t get me started on the callbacks. “It’s the 2nd film, time for a shot of rebel troops rushing into a trench to defend against walkers, while rebel speeders charge. It’s not on a snow planet so it’s TOTALLY DIFFERENT.” Maddening.

    Of course, still better than the prequels 🙂 I died a little on the inside when my teenage nephew told me the Phantom Menace was the best of them all in his opinion.

    In my opinion the best Star Wars films since the original trilogy are the outstanding Rogue One, and the decent–not great but doesn’t deserve the vitriol it receives–Solo. Like the animated Clone Wars or Rebels, and hopefully the Mandalorian, the best Star Wars work is being done outside the original story line. It would have been better off if people had just junked Lucas’ ridiculous “I had 9 movies planned” BS and enjoyed the rest of the universe.

    Also, you kids get off my lawn!!!

  30. An Interested Party says:
  31. Kathy says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    The “then something happened” part should be told better. There’s a book, Star Wars Bloodline by Claudia Gray, that tells of political tensions in the New Republic, and give a glimmer of what would take place.

    But it’s the storm before the storm, if I can steal a phrase from Mike Duncan, not the storm itself.


    Essentially the Republic is split into two factions: Populists and Centrists. We would call them Federalists and Centralists, IMO. the Populists want a large degree of autonomy for all worlds, with the central government concerned mostly with defense and security. The centrists want a strong central government, with all worlds subordinate to it. The former include Leia, the latter include a lot of people nostalgic for the Empire.

  32. Kathy says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    And don’t get me started on the callbacks. “It’s the 2nd film, time for a shot of rebel troops rushing into a trench to defend against walkers, while rebel speeders charge. It’s not on a snow planet so it’s TOTALLY DIFFERENT.” Maddening.

    Well, in the screen the enemy was to the left, not to te right. That was VERY different 😉

    I learned in high school that movies and theater are part of literature. I can see the similarities, but the fact is that no play and no movie can reach one tenth the depth of a book. And the thing that can is television, if for no other reason than volume. Movies are best at dramatizing some short, intense period in time.

    It would be great to have a TV series, on any subject, which would run 22 or 45 minute eps weekly, and then a climactic 60-90-120 minute movie once or twice per season.

  33. Jen says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican: I really liked Rogue One and Solo.

    After re-watching the original trilogy not too long ago (and I know I am going to get virtual things thrown at me for this) the only one I thought was great was The Empire Strikes Back. The first film is good, but Luke is *incredibly* whiny and more than a bit irritating. Harrison Ford is great, as is Carrie Fisher, the bar scene, and Obi Wan.

    The dialogue feels stilted, and the complete lack of women–I am fairly certain that only Leia and Luke’s aunt are the only women in the film with speaking roles, and are possibly the only women in the movie period–is actually jarring to see now. Do not even get me started on the talking teddy bears movie, the dialogue in that film is awful (“Hold me, Han…”).

    I didn’t care much for the prequels either, but have enjoyed TFA and TLJ.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I can only speak for the movies because I never became a Star Wars: The Millions of Volumes Novel Series guy. I doubt that I would even have heard of Kylo if I didn’t follow the Star Warsies (equivalent of “Trekkies”) here. Was he in a movie?

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: So the Republic is Russia in the 1990s? Thanks, that makes a lot more sense now and I can tell you how it turned out.

    The Mob took over.

    (ETA: Have to note also that I haven’t seen a Star Wars movie since I left Korea–in 2015, so I don’t know what Rogue One and Solo are.)

  36. CSK says:

    Trump apparently held a cabinet meeting today, so I gather he’s up and about.

  37. gVOR08 says:

    By way of understanding William Barr’s motivation and agenda, there’s a piece in NYT linking his current behavior to his formative years in the Reagan White House with Ed Meese as his role model.

    When congressional Democrats used their power to impede Reagan’s agenda, like conducting oversight investigations into political appointees at regulatory agencies and outlawing support to anti-Marxist militants in Nicaragua, frustrated Reaganites began looking for ways to achieve their goals without congressional approval.

    At the same time, members of the conservative legal movement were calling for judicial restraint in part as a reaction to decades of liberal Supreme Court rulings. They developed the doctrine of “originalism” — the notion that judges should interpret the Constitution based on its original meaning and not as a living document whose meaning evolves with society.

    Barr is trying to get enough Federalist Society Stepford judges appointed to complete Meese’s program.

    Douthat has a piece in NYT today. He sees Barr’s Notre Dame and Federalist Society speeches somewhat similarly, as an effort to assure Movement conservatives that Trump is a continuation, not a revolution. Douthat does recognize that Barr’s description of some secularist plot and increasing intrusion of congress on president are less than accurate. Douthat then cites Damon Linker on seeing two ways forward, one of which Linker describes,

    If conservatives believe that even today’s presidency is much too constrained and that secular elites can be blamed for all our problems, then we should fear an authoritarian cascade on the right, and expect a post-Trump quest for an American Constantine who can restore the presidency and the one true faith alike.

    Douthat is “drawn to” the other, as he puts it,

    A conservatism that constantly reconverts itself to the worldview of the Reagan era isn’t poised to claim sweeping, authoritarian power, in the service of religious revolution or any other cause. It’s poised for repetition, gridlock and failure — ever-imagining itself seizing the initiative, but really letting itself be carried backward, a boat against the current, into the world of Bill Barr’s youth and past.

    Please, gawd, let Douthat be right for once.

  38. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I didn’t, either. I read Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, because in the 90s too many people talked about it in message boards I frequented. then I read some other Thrawn-related books, also by Zahn, because Thrawn is such an interesting character.

    That was it, until the new movie came out and I wanted to know how the situation reverted from celebrations in the imperial capital to Leia running the resistance. So taking advantage of Scribd, I downloaded 4 audiobooks. Bloodline is the only one that explains what happened. the other three are a trilogy, “Aftermath,” that’s more adventure than history.

  39. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    For some reason I’m reminded of a Futurama scene:

    George Takei: You see, the show was banned after the Star Trek wars.
    Captain Zapp Brannigan: You mean the mass migration of Star Wars fans?
    Nichelle Nichols: No, that was the Star Wars trek.

  40. Bill says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    I’m really disappointed in these SW sequels.

    I enjoy Sci-Fi but have always been picky. I watched the original SW and Empire Strikes Back (and maybe 2 times each) but after them I have watched just one of the movies from start to finish. Think it was Phantom Menace.

    My first intro to outer space Sci Fi was lost in space. Channel 5 in New York used to broadcast its reruns. A very stupid show but I enjoyed it. Maybe because of Penny Robinson. What do you expect from an 11 or 12 year old in the early 1970s?

    I eventually discovered ST and watched that show over and over again and the same with the movies up through Nemesis which I thought was so bad I haven’t watched either any of the shows or movies since.

    I never watched Enterprise and saw maybe 2 shows of Voyager. TNG and especially DS9 I enjoyed very much.

    That’s it. Maybe I will settle down to a game of Fizzbin after Weyoun is through packing.

  41. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @Jen: I won’t flame you for that opinion–most Star Wars geeks rank Empire as the best. To be honest, part of what made Star Wars so awesome was the giant leap it took in special effects. To defend my nephew (even though HE’S TOTALLY WRONG ABOUT WHICH ONE IS THE BEST), they’ve gotten so much better that it’s actually understandable why he would prefer a newer one-newer special effects have leaped light years ahead of Star Wars itself and I can totally understand a younger generation thinking they look dated and old.

    The rumors I’ve heard always indicate that Empire is the one where George Lucas had the LEAST input on the script and directing, which is why it’s better 🙂 As far as I can tell Lucas is pretty awesome at creating a universe and an overall plot, but is horrible at dialog and average, at best, at directing. Even the prequels, if you step back from the hideous details and look at the high level plot, tell a pretty potent story about how a understandable desire for safety and security for your loved ones so easily transforms into an authoritarian nightmare.

    The sequels, notably, are NOT following Lucas’ plot (according to George himself). Which I also think is obvious. While better written, better acted (directed), and better filmed (directed), the plot frequently makes absurdly little sense even when it isn’t being hopelessly derivative.

    According to my sister (a producer in Hollywood who shall remain nameless), the real problem is Lucas got divorced after Empire, and his ex-wife was the only one who could tell him when something sucked and restrain his worst (theatrical) impulses. Which goes a long to explaining the prequels and Indy 4. No idea how much is truth vs sarcasm in that.

    Thanks for the tip on Bloodline Kathy-I might have to pick that up. You’d think the movies would try and provide context on wtf happened–I mean, it’s not like they don’t open with a screen crawl or anything.

  42. Kathy says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    Thanks for the tip on Bloodline Kathy-I might have to pick that up. You’d think the movies would try and provide context on wtf happened–I mean, it’s not like they don’t open with a screen crawl or anything.


    Ok, that’s important. But given decades have passed and here our intrepid heroes, and C-3PO, are still fighting what looks a lot like the Empire, what gives?

    I do recommend the audiobook. Star Wars audio books, at least the newer ones, have some background music and sound effects. And the opening SW fanfare, which is always nice.

    A caveat, we get a lot of Leia, little of Han Solo and Chewbacca, and nothing of Luke or Ben Solo. The latter two are mentioned, but don’t make an appearance and:


    empty space

    more empty space

    still more empty space

    No mention is made of Snoke at all.