Open Forum

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

The floor is yours.

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. Teve says:
  2. Bill says:
  3. Teve says:

    legalization Bill heads to house floor in historic vote

    The House Judiciary Committee held a historic vote on Wednesday, passing the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. The MORE Act is the first legalization bill to receive a Congressional markup and vote, and will now head toward the full House of Representatives.

    After meandering debate over whether the Senate would take up, let alone pass, the MORE Act, the House greenlit the bill. The vote was 24 in favor, 10 against; all Democrats and two Republicans voted for the bill.

    (The bill might have to pass through additional committees, though those to which it has been referred may waive their consideration.)

    If signed into law, the MORE Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, expunge records of those with federal cannabis convictions, and provide for the communities most impacted by the enforcement of cannabis laws. States would be able to craft their own policies, which, as the bill moves forward, could be a critical aspect for lawmakers who remain unsure about cannabis legalization.

    “These steps are long overdue. For far too long we have treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of a matter of personal choice and public health,” House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler said in his opening statement. “Whatever one’s views on the use of marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes, arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating users at the federal level is unwise and unjust.”

    Wednesday’s hearing comes when 47 states have adopted some kind of cannabis law; 33 states and D.C. have legalized medical cannabis, and 11 states and D.C. now have laws allowing adult-use.

    Pew Research recently released a poll that showed the highest ever support for legalization in the US at 67%. Notably, an “overwhelming majority” of American adults, or 91%, now report support for either adult or medical use cannabis.

    “Federal action on this issue would follow growing recognition in the states that the status quo is unacceptable,” Nadler said.

  4. Teve says:

    Tesla’s making hundreds of thousands of cars a year, Volkswagen’s introducing a new electric car, the Porsche model e is out, the Mustang Mach e is unveiled, Ford’s making an electric F150…are electric cars about to take over?

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Joe Biden disagrees. Just in case anybody thought he was just the man for 2020.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    This doesn’t quite fit in with any of the other threads, so I’ll put it here despite being Trump Administration related. Is Mike Pence the stupidest guy in the world or just corrupt? Why the heck did he let himself get dragged into this Ukraine mess? He doesn’t have to do a darn thing Trump tells him. I can think of three reasons: 1) basic stupidity (and, as Indianians know, he is pretty darn stupid), 2) he feared that if he didn’t do as Trump asked, Trump would kick him off the 2020 ticket (see number 1), or 3) like Perry, Rudy, Lev and Igor, he was in it for personal financial gain.

  7. Teve says:

    Molly Jong-Fast
    · 54m
    The question isn’t if the president crimed it’s if Republicans care more about keeping power than doing what’s right.

    Paul Krugman
    That isn’t a question either, since we know the answer. The real question is whether the republic can survive GOP corruption

  8. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: Yglesias said that Pence’s staffers had a nickname for him–Mike Dense.

  9. Teve says:

    Donald J. Trump
    Today I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America. Today Nancy Pelosi closed Congress because she doesn’t care about American Workers!
    6:18 PM · Nov 20, 2019

    1 Apple doesn’t own that plant, Flextronics does.
    2 It opened in 2013 and has been making Macs for 6 years.

  10. Scott says:

    I know we are all focused on impeachment and Trump but let’s not forget that there is reality out there.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    Looks like Prince Andrew over in the U.K. has landed in so much soup due to his interview about Epstein that he’s getting shoved out of public life. There’s also noises being made about subpoenas, etc.

    Some commentators have also seen the fine hand of Prince Charles (who wants to slim down the “royal family”) behind this. Prince “Randy Andy” certainly didn’t hold back on providing the ammunition…

    (Yeah I know this is purely trashy tabloid fun, but am bored with Brexit and the General Election. Looks like I’m not the only one.)

  12. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist: I really enjoyed the part where Andrew said he continued to see Epstein and stay with him because he was “too honorable,” and by gum, his excessive honor was always causing him problems.

  13. Tyrell says:

    Senator Warren has done a reverse double back flip with her plan of eliminating health insurance plans and putting everyone on Medicare. I don’t think her idea went over well with the union people and other workers. For them, their health plan is a major benefit. Medicare is not bad if you can afford the supplements. But I would trade it any day for the work plan I had. And I am trying to find a way to withdraw from MC and pick up a private plan if I can afford it. There are a lot of things that Medicare does not cover, such as outpatient procedures – not one cent.
    We already have health insurance for people who need it – the Affordable Plan. It is still going and some of their rates decreased. It also expanded subsidies for more people. It is not a bad plan overall, better than Medicare. Yet these candidates seem to be ignoring it.
    “Cramer: Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ delay shows ‘she is not as left as you thought” (CNBC)

    “flipping and flopping, slipping and sliding, fishing and wishing”

  14. Scott says:

    @grumpy realist: My wife and I have been indulging our trashy side by watching “The Crown”. Keeping Prince Philip out of trouble has been the subject of a bunch of episodes from his 6 month floating bachelor party (round the world good will tour by boat) to his partying with the crowd in the “Profumo Affair”. Sounds like Andrew didn’t fall very far from the tree.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: 4) All of the above.

  16. mattbernius says:

    Hey @Tyrell, funny to see you here. I was wondering if you could comment on the following:

    For the first time since records were kept in 30 years, the US resettled ZERO refugees.

    I know this is an issue near and dear to your oh-so-Christian heart.

    How can you or any Christian continue to support this (and other) fundamentally un-Christ-like policies pushed by a known White Nationalist (Steven Miller — for extra points, have you looked at the recent dump of his past emails)?

    I’m asking for a friend of mine… you know… Jesus.

    (FYI – I remember you writing so passionately about how your Church adopted a refugee family or two… so clearly this is something you claim to care about…)

  17. Moosebreath says:


    “Is Mike Pence the stupidest guy in the world or just corrupt?”

    Why must it be one or the other?

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

  19. CSK says:

    @Moosebreath: Because Trump already owns that title.

  20. Scott says:
  21. KM says:

    @grumpy realist :

    Some commentators have also seen the fine hand of Prince Charles (who wants to slim down the “royal family”) behind this.

    As someone who doesn’t pay attention to these things, can you clarify this? Does that mean stripping away titles/honors to take the money away and keep the budget down?

  22. Kathy says:


    Oh, that’s easy.

    If you give sanctuary to refugees, you only save their lives and empower them to become productive members in your society.

    Whereas if you turn them away, you speed them up to Heaven.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Yeah, I gave three choices there, but considering his low mental capacity, it could very well be all three. It’s pretty obvious it never occurred to him to ask why the President of the US would want the one man that can legally replace him if he is impeached to suddenly be involved in this back door Ukranian effort. When it first broke Trump publicly said three or four times that Pence was also involved, apropos of nothing. Just blurted it out without a reporter asking a question. In other words, “You Republicans better have my back on this because if I go down, little Mikey Whitebread goes down with me and then you have the presidency passed to the person third in line – Speaker Nancy Pelosi”. And she will serve what’s left of their balls up on a platter.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    I believe what one comment refers to above as “The Affordable Plan” is Obamacare. But who knows?

  25. MarkedMan says:

    Lev and Igor, those lovable Russian mobsters, are just the gift that keeps giving. You’ll never guess what they were doing a exactly one year ago: escorting one Devin Nunes around Europe so he could conduct his”investigations”.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:


    And she will serve what’s left of their balls up on a platter.

    Assumes facts not in evidence. None of them have demonstrated that they have any balls at all.

  27. Moosebreath says:


    I’ll concede that point.

  28. mattbernius says:

    In other news, Trump continues to undercut DoD on the handling of Gallagher.

    Without a doubt, the initial prosecution team in that case utterly screwed the pooch and the final outcome was a just based of that malfeasance.

    However the President’s continued undermining of any attempt to discipline someone who committed (but was not convicted on) war crimes (over the protests of career military officials) is a great reminder of what type of solider he really likes.

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: From what I’ve read, it’s “you don’t get the perks of being “a royal” anymore (security guards, getting shoved out in front of cameras to represent the House of Windsor, chauffeurs, lotsa money from…somewhere, etc. etc. and so forth.” Restrict the privileges to the sovereign and immediate heirs: Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (and their children.)

    Needless to say the other members of the royal family further down the inheritance pipeline aren’t very happy with the idea….It looks like Prince Charles has realised having a large royal family using up a lot of taxpayer money and swanning about doesn’t come across very well in a country dealing with financial difficulties and the continued cutting of services. (Similar uproar possible in Saudi Arabia as the House of Saud tries to cut back on the number of princes….)

    And at least some of the U.K. tabloids are sympathetic to the idea given Prince Andrew’s latest antics.

    P.S. Prince Charles has already managed to tick off Prince Andrew by removing the security from around Prince Andrew’s two daughters.

  30. Joe says:

    Did someone ask Sondland (or I hope someone asks Holmes) how exactly Sondland reached Trump from his unsecured cell phone? Did he just dial a number? Did he have to go through a desk? “Can I talk to Don? It’s me, Gordon, just grabbing a bite and wanted to chat.” Just wondering in relation to Trump’s statements about how he hardly knows the guy.

  31. Mikey says:

    @mattbernius: Gallagher engaged in a lot of conduct that might not rise to the level of a crime but still doesn’t uphold the high standard of conduct expected of those who wear the SEAL Trident. That’s why SEAL leadership was going to strip him of it. Trump’s interference here demeans and diminishes that standard.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    @Joe:..Number Please
    During this mornings hearings I believe I heard the witness Mister Holmes state that while he was at the table at the restaurant in Ukraine Sondland stood up, dialed a number on his unsecure cell phone, heard Sondland say “Gordon Sondland holding for President Trump” several times as the call went through different switchboards and was finally connected to Trump.

    Try it yourself.
    Correction: A previous version of this article said the White House switchboard was closed. This was incorrect. The White House comments line is closed while the switchboard line is still available for calls coming from a rotary phone.

  33. grumpy realist says:

    Dunno if people have been keeping an eye on the election after-effects in Israel, but it looks like they might be entering uncharted territory. What if a new election doesn’t fix matters?

    (I used to use Israel as my counter-example whenever someone started enthusing about Proportional Representation and pointing to how smoothly the Japanese government worked.)

  34. Jax says:

    This is hilarious! I saw the Ramones one last night, but the rest are good, too.

  35. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve: This past weekend I got to ride in my son’s SO’s Nissan Leaf and ask questions. They both love it and I can see why. She got the big battery and motor: 220 mile range, really nice acceleration from 30-60 on the on-ramps. She says that the maintenance schedule is insane: rotate the tires, check the coolant level (liquid cooling for the battery pack during heavy charging). Battery warranty is for 100k miles, friction brakes are supposed to be good for 150k. I’m not sure which thing I found strangest, either the complete lack of engine noise, or popping the hood after 30 minutes of driving, there’s the motor and power electronics, and there’s no heat.

  36. Kit says:

    Dean Baker on Trump and tarifs (here):

    one unambiguous negative of tariffs is the opportunity to exploit exemptions for political or personal advantage. (Tariffs generally allow exemptions, usually for items that cannot be obtained elsewhere.) It appears that this is exactly what Trump was doing with his trip to Texas…

    This use of government power to advance his political agenda is exactly what Trump did with respect to aid to Ukraine. This sort of abuse is a hugely important issue. As a practical matter, there are far more companies looking for exemptions from tariffs than there are countries in desperate need of aid from the United States.

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    As our economy is increasingly automated, millions more people will be taking care of people—providing child care, elder care, health care—and these jobs will finally be compensated with living wages and dignity. [emphasis added]

    Yeah, right. Because after how many thousands of years of human civilization we’ll have finally realized the folks who do these jobs are human beings, too. :-/

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill: I wish the story was as funny as the headline is. In other jurisdictions this kind of a story becomes “suicide by cop shooting an unarmed man.” :-/

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    ” Trump’s statements about how he hardly knows the guy.”

    Nobody who would be in a position to change their opinion about Trump believes he doesn’t know Sondland–or cares that he’s lying about it now.

  40. Gustopher says:


    We already have health insurance for people who need it – the Affordable Plan. It is still going and some of their rates decreased. It also expanded subsidies for more people. It is not a bad plan overall, better than Medicare. Yet these candidates seem to be ignoring it.

    And here is the genius of Warren — now Tyrell is defending ObamaCare.

    Ok, Tyrell, the Trump Administration is granting states waivers to put short term plans on the exchanges that don’t cover pre-existing conditions, or a lot of major conditions — insurance that is pretty ok if you break a leg, but not good if you get diagnosed with cancer, or are in a major car accident.

    Do you support that, because freedom, or do you oppose that because it is watering down the Affordable Plan?

    (Also note that the cost of covering at 65 year old man or woman for pregnancy related services is zero — it’s a dumb talking point you just want to repeat.

    The rationale for requiring the coverage regardless of age is that if you set a reasonable age (50?), there would be the odd case of someone one year older than that who gets pregnant)

  41. mattbernius says:

    In the “file under good news” column, a jury fully acquitted Scott Warren of any wrong doing for leaving food and water in the desert in hopes of keeping migrants crossing under inhospitable conditions alive:

    To borrow his words after two attempts, the Government failed to “criminalize basic human kindness.”

  42. Kurtz says:

    I have two terrible habits. I peruse comment sections. I sometimes even comment. I think that habit is worse than my chainsmoking.

    Even if i assume a full 50% of the comments are some form of trollery, the other 50% are largely incapable of a coherent argument. This is what happens when you reduce education to passing tests rather than how to think.

  43. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: That’s why I like this comment section above all others. I occasionally peruse the comment sections on other blogs or news articles, and quickly lose faith in humanity.

  44. Kurtz says:


    I’m big on the 538 comment section. Some smart people there. And some really big morons too. Some of the latter like to remind everyone of their advanced degrees while making arguments a first year high school debater could refute.

    But if you can get through those cretins, there a decently wide spectrum of knowlege.

  45. Bill says:

    Headline of the day?=

    Man eating takeout in his backyard was shot dead by deputies. Now his family gets $125,000.

    He was armed with a fork. Our police need to go to jail for this @#%!.

  46. Jax says:

    Fiona Hill is a bona fide badass.

  47. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    10 years everything will be electric.
    Two things holding it back at this point;
    Range…although very good today, it’s not great.
    Infrastructure…just not enough places to charge.
    These problems will go away withing the decade.

  48. senyordave says:

    Since it is the season I will have to bastardize a yuletide classic:
    Although it’s been said many times, many ways
    The Republicans in the House are a bunch of traitors

  49. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    FEC disclosure shows that the RNC paid almost $95K to buy copies of Donnie Jr’s book, Triggered.
    Remind me, again, what he said about Hunter Biden, and making money off your daddy’s name?

  50. Kit says:


    He was armed with a fork.

    A good thirty years ago, I couldn’t help but notice that fear is the American emotion par excellence.

  51. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    One thing that you are not considering, is that ev batteries are constructed from rare minerals. Without additional battery tech development that uses common minerals ev demand won’t be met.

  52. JohnSF says:

    Well, I’ve just been swapping between eating dinner and watching the hearings, and some observations:
    Fiona Hill: she steppin’ razor!
    Devin Nunes: the cow got the brains
    Jim Jordan: can someone get him to speak after breathing helium? for the lulz?
    Adam Schiff after his closing statement: could he possibly stand for UK parliament in my constituency, because I’d really, really, like to vote for him

  53. Tyrell says:

    @Teve: Some of the Mustang faithful do not like the Mustang label on an EV – they consider it heresy.
    Ford risks Mustang fan backlash with SUV: They’ll need to pry gas-powered Mustangs from ‘my cold dead fingers’ (USA Today, Chris Woodyard}
    I wonder what the ¼ mile time and range are. Charging time is around 40 min. The 0-60 time is mid 3 sec, and 451 hp: not bad, but not close to the Boss 429. Prices start at $43, 000, with the GT version at a cool $60, 000.
    Sooner or later there will be an EV racing division, maybe in NASCAR. I wonder what the rules will be concerning modifications to meet the requirements of oval racing. The cars they run today are far from showroom vehicles.
    See – the 1969 debut of Ford’s mammoth Boss 429 engine: at 600 hp the most powerful engine ever put into a production car then. Chris Economaki talks about it:

  54. MarkedMan says:

    I’m generally somewhere between 78% and 93% sure that Tyrell is an original style troll. I’m at the high end today. Electric vs. gas in 2020 => PC vs. Mac in 1990 And then the tossed off claim that a gasoline powered car was doing 0-60 in 3.5 seconds several decades ago… Yeah, pretty definitely working hard for the flames.

  55. JohnSF says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    It would be great if the range (and related power to weight & volume issues) could be solved.

    But I’ve spoken to some academic engineers who are pretty convinced that we are already pushing the limits of chemical electric storage density, and the upper bound is likely about 5 mega-joules per kilogram (and similar for capacitor based).

    By comparison, hydrocarbons get about 50 Mj/kg

    Apparently, absent some exotic materials breakthrough (aluminium oxidation? room-temp superconductors? carbon lattices? all Greek to me 🙂 the only electric system that can rival hydrocarbons in energy density is fuel cells and hydrogen.

    But that leads to the massive issue that hydrogen is an utter bastard to handle.

    If I were to bet on a long term energy system for medium/long range vehicles, it would be methane fuel cells, likely in hybrid systems with methane combustion.

    Until then, petrol/diesel IC vehicles look sure to remain needed for longer distances.

    That said, electric storage is already pretty near good enough for urban/suburban use, and the bulk of that fleet can, and pretty surely will, be converted in the near future.
    Combined with mass transit systems and (what’s really key) “last miles” transport solutions and luggage handling, most more dense urban areas can be switched over fairly smoothly, fairly soon.

    U.S. style hyper-suburban city zones may present more difficulties though.

  56. gVOR08 says:
  57. Michael Cain says:


    Sooner or later there will be an EV racing division, maybe in NASCAR.

    FIA Formula E.

  58. JohnSF says:

    Ford GT40 from the late 60’s clocked about 5.3 0-60
    AC Cobra came in at c. 4.2 (but lacked GT40 capability for sustained high speed)
    Jaguar D Type was 4.7
    IIRC the first “road”(ish) car to crack sub 3 seconds was BMW M1 of 1980.

    So 3.5 in late 60’s isn’t out of the question for a very unusual engine.
    Though I wonder if it tops the two insane Bentley’s, one with a Merlin engine and one with a 1,500 bhp 42 litre Packard V12, I’ve seen.
    Loudest things ever (bar The Clash in concert).

  59. Gustopher says:


    But I’ve spoken to some academic engineers who are pretty convinced that we are already pushing the limits of chemical electric storage density, and the upper bound is likely about 5 mega-joules per kilogram (and similar for capacitor based).

    By comparison, hydrocarbons get about 50 Mj/kg

    Technically, hydrocarbons are chemical electric storage too.

    In theory, we could take our nice, clean hydroelectric plants, and use them to power systems that reassemble burnt hydrocarbons back into gas or gas equivalents. I shudder to think of the processes and costs involved in such an endeavor, but it could be net-carbon-zero.

    At least until you power this ridiculously expensive, utterly wasteful and yet to be designed process with energy from coal plants.

    Given the limitations on conventional batteries and the costs of materials for them, I’m a little surprised net-carbon-zero fuel generation hasn’t been explored more.

    It’s like how if you kill a person, but have two kids, you’re even (the other parent gets credit for half of each child). If you’re just measuring people.

  60. Michael Cain says:

    @JohnSF: Spot on for the urban/suburban uses, and even some rural. 200-mile range and overnight charge probably covers more than 95% of miles driven. That battery tech exists today and is getting cheaper every year.

    Nikola Corp. claims a new battery pack for long-haul trucks with an 800-mile range and 2,000 charging cycles. Interesting list of investors at the end of the article.

  61. JohnSF says:

    Regarding high performance, the fastest relatively practical cars around these days, are hybrids; e.g. new Honda NSX, McLaren P1, Ferrari SF90, Porsche 918.
    Because of power/weight; and pretty soon power/weight will translate to efficiency/weight.
    Pure IC will be a thing of the past fairly soon.
    Even where pure electrics are impractical, modern lightweight hybrids are way more efficient than pure IC.

  62. Teve says:

    I haven’t watched any of the hearings, but I’ve scanned Twitter all day while at work. Twitter has left me with two impressions. 1 Fiona Hill could probably kill every Republican in that room with her bare hands 2 nobody’s quite sure how Devin Nunes manages to dress himself in the morning.

  63. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: you got to admit though, he’s entertainingly written.

  64. JohnSF says:

    Technically, hydrocarbons are chemical electric storage too
    Heh. Got me there.
    But seriously, hydrogen or methane storage of surplus generation of wind and solar plants looks quite promising.
    Hydrogen is simpler to produce, methane simpler to handle; but both are likely to beat *conventional” batteries IMHO.

    Pumped hydro storage probably beats both, but flooding most high-sided valleys within a few hundred miles of urban areas might be a tad controversial.

    Then there’s good old Carlo Rubbia’s concept for powering Europe with solar arrays in the Sahara storing the surplus energy as molten salt 🙂

    (Not to mention the CERN neutron beam atomic waste burner.)

    Alternatives to purely battery technology look likely to become increasingly important (though batteries will still have a big role) as we transition to net-zero carbon, whether the energy base is solar, nuclear, wind or whatever.

  65. Jax says:

    @Teve: I will not lie, when I grow up I want to be Fiona Hill. 😉 They ought to make a whole line of bad ass “Foreign Service Agent” Barbies after her, and then a movie franchise. She scared them so bad they quit asking her questions and just went on long diatribes, and you could see she was eyerolling at them in her head the whole time they were whining. It was beautiful.

  66. Jax says:

    She brought up an interesting point during one of the questions, though, about the definition of “leftist” being different in Europe than it is here.

    I honestly think delving into this further would be a worthy endeavor for either our hosts or a guest poster. I’m sure I’m not the only one around here who gets the definitions confused sometimes, especially when we’re talking about Europe vs. South America vs. Central America and what we know as far as the different political factions.

    Just a thought. It might clarify things for people who read and don’t comment, and it might help some of the commenteriat, as well.

  67. Teve says:


    She scared them so bad they quit asking her questions and just went on long diatribes, and you could see she was eyerolling at them in her head the whole time they were whining. It was beautiful.

    several of the journalists on Twitter today I saw said things like ‘okay Republicans have just decided to stop asking Fiona Hill questions and start monologuing, because when they do ask her questions it doesn’t end well for them.’

  68. JohnSF says:

    Speaking as someone who tends to self define as a “conservative” (albeit a weird British distributist variant), almost all political definitions are way different between Europe and the US (and for that matter quite often the UK differs from both, historically).

    For instance, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read Americans on the Right who call Angela Merkel and the CDU “socialists”.
    She, and they, are mainstream modern European conservatives for heavens sake.

    Part of the issue IMHO is that “conservatives” in different countries aim at conserving differing things, and that “progressives” are often progressing from and too different points as well.

    In the past I’ve quite often teased American “conservatives” that they are, in fact, no such thing.
    Do they believe in e.g. monarchy? hereditary aristocracy? established religion? legal privilege? customary markets? dynastic transnational states?

    From a traditionalist European perspective (i.e. that which largely crashed and burned in it’s own bonfire of contradictions in the 1930’s) the American Republican conservatives are in fact a weird variety of 18th century liberalism (the clue is in the name: “Republican”) onto which has been spatchcocked mid-19th century Sumnerian/Spencerian “survival of the fittest” concepts, and a whole bunch of 20th century weirdness: post-Johnson Southern localism, “pro-business” corporatism, various flavours of politicised Christianity from the conventional to the crazy, weird variants of libertarian anarcho-capitalism etc.

    And now the populist/Trumpian eructation of the base.

    Plus, to be fair, conventional, boring “traditional good government” conservatives who would be quite recognisable in almost ANY mainstream Western political party.

    To really get to grips with this would require a whole lot of serious comparative history of the political/sociological development and divergence of the West.

  69. Jax says:

    @Teve: If you feel like youtubing the key parts that made me laugh, search up the Nunes/Castor 45 minutes, Gym Jordan, and Conaway.

    I thought Will Hurd had damn near grown some balls for about 4 minutes and 30 seconds, and then he indicated that his balls were, indeed, still in Trump’s purse.

  70. Jax says:

    @JohnSF: This is exactly what I’m referring to, it’s very often not clear in our US based news reports on international incidents what the differences are between factions called “leftist” or “conservative” somewhere else, so they assume the US definition applies, and base their judgment on what they know of that. I suspect it leads to a lot of misconceptions on the part of Americans who are too lazy to research it.

    I don’t expect the trolls will understand it, but the lurkers might. I was a lurker for a very long time and never said anything, but I learned a lot during that time!

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kit: Carrying on from your thought, here’s something kinda scary. The money quote:

    It turned out that neuroticism was indeed correlated with support for Trump. This was true even when controlling for each population’s racial makeup, education level, income, and political attitudes. In fact, neuroticism was strongly linked to the margin by which Trump outperformed the 2012 Republican nominee, Mitt Romney. The same pattern held with Brexit votes, the study also found: The more neuroticism in a given area of the United Kingdom, the more likely people were to support the country leaving the European Union.

  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: The definition of “leftist” is different everywhere than it is here.

    ETA: An American friend of mine who taught Poli Sci in Korea used to say that most governments that are not fascist are considered leftist by American conservatives.

  73. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: Very cool about the custom Bentleys. And there were drag racers that were much faster. But the 69 Ford with the Boss 429 engine only made 375 horsepower and took 7.1 seconds to reach 60 miles an hour. A far, far cry from Tyrell’s 600 HP and 3.5 second sprint.

  74. Teve says:
  75. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Absolutely. I look forward to reading his posts, in a Ken M kind of way…

  76. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: Ken M is some good stuff. 😀

  77. Teve says:

    Nick Confessore
    New FEC disclosures show a single large RNC payment of $94,800 to Books-a-Million in October, a few days before “Triggered” was released. An RNC spokesman confirmed that the expenditure was connected to their promotion of Don Trump Jr.’s book.

  78. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m going to try to keep this short. The political spectrum in the US is skewed with a fat tail on the Right. Republicans typically argue that the Democratic party has moved to the Left.

    In reality, this just isn’t true–it is a messaging tactic. This is why the Right obsesses over the squad. If those four women are the face of the Democratic party, they can maintain this narrative. One need only look at Nixon’s record to see this: EPA, NEA. He almost pushed for a UBI. Hell, even Chomsky argues that Nixon was, in some ways, the last liberal President.

    There is a more insidious aspect to this though. If the Republican party were to move firmly into fascist territory, does anyone really think moderates who only pay attention around election time are going to just side with the Dems? I have my doubts about this, because it seems to me that most moderates desire to split the difference. Maybe I’m just pessimistic, but I think 2016 is evidence that moderates could unintentionally support a would-be dictator at least initially. This is one of the downsides to not having an ideological center.

    One other aspect is that the US is fundamentally different from European countries. It is a large land mass. If history teaches us anything, it is that distance breeds difference even within broadly similar cultures.

    Not to mention that the nation states in Europe were formed after centuries of war and cultural change. The US was founded on and expanded upon “virgin” land.

  79. Teve says:

    Mark Levin just said that we need to retroactively impeach Obama.

  80. Kit says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It turned out that neuroticism was indeed correlated with support for Trump.

    Interesting article. But I couldn’t help but wonder to what extent neuroticism is correlated with where one gets one’s news. And in that case, we could expect people to be neurotic about different subjects.

  81. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: A very sad story indeed.

  82. Kit says:

    Tesla unveils new pickup truck but windows shatter during demo

    Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s chief designer, asked Musk if he could lob a metal ball at the window of the vehicle. “Really?” said Musk. The window smashed. “Oh my fucking God,” said Musk. “Maybe that was a little hard.”

    Showing confidence in the vehicle, Von Holzhausen then suggested he should lob it at a second window. “Try that one? Really?” asked Musk moments before the rear window was also smashed. “It didn’t go through, that’s the plus side,” a stunned Musk said.

  83. Tevr says:

    @Kit: “they finally built the car I drew in 3rd grade!” -common response on Twitter

  84. Kit says:

    That thing looked ugly even by pickup-truck standards. Just what is the market for such a monstrosity?

  85. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Political psycho-geography of the UK:
    Researcher 1: “These subjects were neurotic, conscientious, conventional, disagreeable, introverted, uncooperative, quarrelsome, irritable, anxious, depressed, and temperamental”
    Researcher 2: “So, definitely English then?”
    Resercher 1: “Yep.”

  86. Tyrell says:

    @Teve: Let me say that I am against locking people up for small possessions of marijuana or its use. There is no use in having these people in prison.
    But all of this legalization push comes at a time when new research shows harm to those under age 25. What is the policy going to be in these states that have legalized it? What steps are they taking to educate the people, especially children and young people?
    Some school systems still have excellent drug education programs. The “Just Say No” program of some time ago was a great program. These need to be expanded.
    The opoid problem is a huge problem of emergency proportions. There needs to be some steps taken to stop the “doctor shopping” that results in people getting the supplies of these drugs. A person should not be able to fill a clothes closet with these powerful drugs. There needs to be a tracking system.
    Those needle “exchange” programs evidently don’t work well, judging by all the needles on the “Streets of San Francisco”, which are increasingly winding up in the ocean.
    Those who are addicted should be in treatment centers, not camping out on the streets.
    This country has a worsening drug problem. Legalizing it or passing it out is not going to solve it. There need to be studies on why so many people are turning to these drug use.
    Numerous studies now show that marijuana use under age 25 will damage brain cognitive function: NY Times.

  87. Kurtz says:


    If you are talking about Gilman’s study, then when someone else tries to replicate it, they found that Gilman didn’t control for alcohol use. When adjusted, the effects shown by Gilman were not there.

    And btw, we already educate children about the dangers of drugs. So you asking that question is beyond silly.

    Maybe a bunch of kids and young adults turn to drug use because the prospect for living a comfortable life is only real for some of the population. Maybe our terrible health system, in particular, mental health also plays a role.

    Buy keep ignoring the evidence that our society is failing a large portion of the population.

  88. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Just what is the market for such a monstrosity?

    High tech nerds who have absolutely no need for a P/U truck but they are going to buy this overpriced pos so they can look “cool” while telling themselves it will be great for bringing home the new washing machine because they are too cheap to pay the $20 delivery fee. Which will come in real handy when it’s time cough up the copay for their chiropractor’s back adjustment.

  89. Kit says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Up until now, I think I had been underestimating the size of that market… 🙂

  90. mattbernius says:


    But keep ignoring the evidence that our society is failing a large portion of the population.

    Trust us, his many, many posts demonstrate that Tyrell is an expert at willfully ignoring any facts that don’t match his world view.

  91. just nutha says:

    @Kit: My take is that the phenomenon goes the other direction–neuroticism propels one toward certain types of media sources with the content of the neurosis acting as finetuning for the particulars of selection.

  92. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My favorites are the guys who NEVER (ever) use their trucks for hauling stuff because they “don’t to scratch up the bed.”

  93. Kit says:

    @just nutha: Hmmm… There’s a lot to be said for that point of view.

  94. grumpy realist says:

    If anyone wants a column full of malice and snark about the British royal family swallowing their back teeth about Randy Andy and locking him up in a back closet (plus the sheer pleasure the British public have in all coming to the same conclusion about Prince Andrew: 94% think he lied), I can do no better than point you to this column by Marina Hyde.


  95. Mister Bluster says:

    Lest we forget. November 22, 1963.
    56 years ago today.
    Assassination of John Kennedy.

  96. DrDaveT says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    56 years ago today.
    Assassination of John Kennedy.

    JKB is celebrating the anniversary by introducing a “second gunman” theory regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.

  97. Kathy says:

    Still happily experimenting with risotto, I had a thought: Mexican risotto. that would be plain risotto, really, but with tomato added to the broth so it turns red (and a bit tomatoey).

    It would go well with my idea of chicken milanesas (flat chicken breast covered in bread crumbs) in mole verde.

  98. Gustopher says:

    Why do we not have Thanksgiving Burritos?

    Turkey, stuffing, a little mashed potatoes, roasted yam cubes, and a little cranberry. Do it wet, and pour gravy over the whole thing.

  99. Tyrell says:

    Thanksgiving burritos: not a bad idea. I am not a Thanksgiving turkey and dressing, and mashed potatoes fan. I head for the pecan pie and chocolate cake with ice cream.
    Truck beds: my front row seat at the NASCAR tracks was a chair in the bed of a friend’s truck parked down in the infield at the third turn: Charlotte, Darlington, Rockingham, Atlanta. Richard Petty, David Pearson, Junior Johnson, and Fred Lorenzen won almost every time.
    November 22: I remember that just like it was yesterday – every detail. Did anyone see the Kennedy assassination mentioned on any of the main stream “news” channels? I saw some things on the information channels. The federal government still keeps a lot of the files classified. The case should be reopened. There is a lot of new technology that could provide some answers.

  100. de stijl says:


    Lev and Igor are properly referred to as Badger and Skinny Pete.

  101. de stijl says:


    The Tesla truck looks like a PS1 vehicle. Poorly rendered polygons.

    It might kick ass one day, but it looks like ass now, imo.