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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Biden has a new ad: We need a leader the world respects

    CNN reported Biden’s video was posted 30 minutes after Trump landed back on US soil, in keeping with Biden’s policy of not criticising the president while he is overseas.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    George Zimmerman sues Trayvon Martin’s family for $100m

    Because he’s the real victim. I’m not going to say anything else on the grounds that it would probably get me thrown out. Just in case anyone was wondering:

    According to the lawsuit filed by the Boca Raton-based attorney Larry Klayman, founder of the conservative legal activist group Judicial Watch,

  3. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Will most likely have a post about this later today or tomorrow.

  4. Bill says:


    George Zimmerman sues Trayvon Martin’s family for $100m

    You stole my headline of the day!

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Musk and his attorney, Alex Spiro, attempted to present the Tesla chief executive as sincere, self-sacrificing and modest when Musk took the stand for a second day on Wednesday.

    Good luck pushing that boulder up the mountain

    Musk denied he had ever sought to take credit for helping the cave rescue: “The pump and generator team deserve immense credit,” he said. “Nobody talks about them.”
    Musk said: “Most things I say on Twitter will generally get some press awareness … If I write something on Twitter, it will get reported.”


    Wood introduced into evidence what appeared to be dozens of tweets sent by Musk documenting the process of building the submarine and delivering it to Thailand, including a video showing SpaceX engineers testing the tube in a swimming pool. Faced with the volume of tweets that Musk had just admitted were likely to generate press coverage, the billionaire responded defensively. “I mean, I tweet a lot in general … I was looking for feedback from the public to see if there were any improvements they could suggest.
    Unsaid, but obvious to the members of the media who chased Musk out of the courtroom the moment he was dismissed, was that nobody was talking about the pump and generator teams because everyone was talking about Musk and his mini-sub.

    Feature, not a bug.

    Otherwise, to this layman’s eyes, the trial is not going well for Musk. I can’t say it will be enough because I know proving defamation is very difficult. I’d like to think it would at least take some of the shine off this shameless self promoter’s reputation, but I doubt his fans will even blink.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Totally unintentional!

    @Doug Mataconis: I look forward to it.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Samoa measles outbreak: families fly red flags to request vaccinations

    Samoa’s main streets were eerily quiet on Thursday as the government stepped up efforts to curb a measles epidemic that has killed 62 people. The government told most public and private workers to stay home for two days and shut down roads to nonessential vehicles as teams began going door-to-door to administer vaccines. Families in the Pacific island nation were asked to hang red flags from their houses if they needed to be vaccinated.

    Most of those who have died from the virus are young, with 54 deaths among children aged four or younger.
    The prime minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, told reporters the vaccine drive was unprecedented in the nation’s history. He said one challenge was that a lot of people hadn’t considered that measles could be deadly. “They seem to take a kind of lackadaisical attitude to all the warnings that we had issued through the television and also through the radio,” he said.

    I wonder if the anti-vaxxers are paying any attention. //

  8. mattbernius says:

    Filling under good news and policy from the Trump administration, they are taking some very good steps towards working to prevent AIDs via supplying preventatives to low income, at risk populations:

  9. mattbernius says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    I, for one, look forward to the thoughtful defenses of the lawsuit (and the re-litigation of the incident) that I’m sure will accompany that post!

  10. Kit says:


    I wonder if the anti-vaxxers are paying any attention.

    There’s nothing like playing the I told you so card, only to find that it has zero effect. The anti-vaxxers are paying attention. And “winning” battles all across the world while we are getting pushed into the sea. We are like Kerry (or was it Dukakis?) saying of Bush: I can’t believe I’m losing to this idiot. We’ve got the theories and science, backed up by facts and proven predictions, and… all of that is useless against the forces of ignorance, rage and nihilism.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kit: Hence, the // sarcasm tag. Nothing will get thru to those idiots except death. I fully expect to soon read somebody espousing the health benefits of a high blood lead level.

  12. For those of you who missed yesterday’s hearing before the Judiciary Committee, my post is up.

  13. Kit says:


    Hence, the // sarcasm tag

    Your post was clear and I’m familiar with your views, but sometimes a guy’s just gotta get something off his chest. Your post was just an excuse! Besides, these open threads have grown a bit quiet lately.

  14. Teve says:

    @Kit: idiots and lunatics will always be among us. Creationists, racists, anti-vaxxers, people who let their kids die because Jesus doesn’t like medicine. Humanity is always suffering from a low-grade moron infection.

  15. Teve says:
  16. Kit says:


    Humanity is always suffering from a low-grade moron infection.

    Agreed. But the rules of the game have changed over the last decade or so. The morons are on the attack, and the traditional gatekeepers look to be overwhelmed.

  17. Teve says:

    ‘Twas ever thus.

  18. Teve says:
  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kit: Heh. My excuse is it read like you were lecturing… Well, you were lecturing, just not me. 😉

  20. MarkedMan says:


    We’ve got the theories and science, backed up by facts and proven predictions, and… all of that is useless against the forces of ignorance, rage and nihilism.

    I think that was the saddest upvote I ever cast…

  21. grumpy realist says:

    Good article from EUreferendum on how the next round of Brexit is liable to play out.

    IMHO, Boris Johnson is probably cynical enough (and devious enough) to realise that the bulk of the Brexit-demanding part of the U.K. population will be content with anything they can call “Brexit”, no matter how much of a farce it turns into. As long as they get to jump up and down and jeer “we won!” against the (EU, Labour, “remoaners”, whoever) they’ll be content. The EU seems to be working on putting together a lightweight FTA for presentation to the U.K. for signature and political playing with. Farage may bluster and complain about how what the U.K. has received won’t be “a REAL Brexit”, but the bulk of the population won’t listen to him. (Although I can see Farage shutting down The Brexit Party and starting yet another political party to grift more money from the credulous.)

  22. Scott says:
  23. Teve says:
  24. CSK says:

    @Teve: I was so hoping that was the actual article headline.

  25. Teve says:

    @CSK: in my mind it is 😀

  26. CSK says:

    @Teve: I was trying to visualize an actual assface and I laughed so hard I choked on my coffee.

  27. Kit says:

    Re: Are things getting better or worse?

    I dipped in and out of that article. Sure, the world is improving in many ways, and I wouldn’t dream of denying it. But when it comes to my main concerns, I’m pessimistic: concentration of wealth, diffusion and comprehension of facts, health of democracy, and health of the planet.

  28. Teve says:

    @Kit: I wasn’t trying to argue the things are better, just that the claim that it’s worse than it’s ever been is all kinds of Availability Bias and These Kids Nowadays…

    I’m also pessimistic, but it’s not a belief that things will get worse, it’s a belief that things will continue to be a shitty as they’ve always been more or less. The environment and climate will get worse though because that’s a cumulative thing.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kit: I refuse to read those kinds of articles, partly because they are targeted at people like me: Older, set in my ways, wishing I could go back to that fabled time in my life when everything made sense…

    It’s always a mixed bag. Somethings are better, much better. Like cars. They last longer, are far more fuel efficient, and much safer to drive. But I still yearn for the days when I could pop the hood on my truck and swap out the engine in a day. Also, wing windows. Communications. One can if desired, for the most part stay 100% in touch with people. But my wife still bitches at me because I quite often forget to bring my cell phone with me and when I do I usually leave it off. And I never text. TV is vastly superior, and one has a plethora of choices to vegetate to. But we can’t have cable and I refuse to get a dish because I don’t want to pay for 100 different channels I’ll never watch so that I can get 2 or 3 that I will.

    I do like the internet, but I spend way too much time on it. Speaking of which…

  30. Jay L Gischer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I can’t say I agree with your take on Musk. I have a friend or two here in CA that work for him, which seems to matter. I don’t think there’s more than maybe 5 people in the world who have done more to combat climate change than Musk has, and yet he gets nothing but crap thrown at him from people who ought to be cheering him.

    Promoting himself and his companies on Twitter is literally his job. As is getting feedback. Musk is willing to fail publicly, which is a quality I really admire. You can see some footage of Space X rockets blowing up or crashing, like they did. It’s all out there, as are the successes. This willingness makes things go much faster.

    The Falcon Heavy puts big things into space at about 10 percent of the cost of its nearest competitor, saving NASA and taxpayers a boatload of money. But he’s still the bad guy because he promotes himself? Really?

  31. Teve says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I’ve followed Musk for a long time, through interviews, essays, and books. He’s an interesting person, but he’s not a saint. And he can be an abusive employer. He’s not as terrible a human being as Steve Jobs was, but he’s not wearing a halo either. Like most of us, he’s a mixed bag.

  32. Kathy says:


    “Happiness is doing it rotten your way.” Isaac Asimov.

  33. Kit says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    But he’s still the bad guy because he promotes himself? Really?

    He’s the bad guy because he’s an ass. But I admire him and think that he’s simply one of the most impressive businessmen of his generation. And he’s making a real difference in the world. But he’s still an ass.

  34. Teve says:

    @Kit: Musk’s definitely an ass. His defamation trial for calling a guy a pedophile isn’t going well for him either.

  35. Teve says:

    Jeffrey Sachs

    This piece, from
    , is something every liberal should read. It’s smart. But I don’t think MBD quite captures here the liberal position, nor why his argument is likely to be so poorly received on the Left. So I’ll try to explain.

    For a certain type of liberal or Leftist, the response to MBD’s piece is, essentially, “We told you so.”

    It’s considered impolite and unproductive to say that, but it’s what a lot of libs think, and not unreasonably so.

    They’ll go on: “For many long years now, through Gingrich and DeLay and Palin, we warned you about the GOP’s assault on procedural, ideological, and rhetorical norms. How while conservatism would be the first to be corrupted, American government would surely be the second.

    We told you all along that you were careening towards disaster. Of asymmetric polarization. That you were out of control. “Let’s just say it,” proclaimed even the most sober and mainstream of voices. “Republicans are the problem.”

    We lived through the rise of the Freedom Caucus. Government shutdowns. The Benghazi hearings. Birtherism. The whitey tape. Scott DesJarlais and Louie Gohmert and Tom Tancredo and YEARS of unchallenged, uncriticized Steve King. We tried to tell you. God knows we tried.

    read this whole thing.

  36. Bill says:

    Florida headline of the day-

    Holly Hill police officer responding to burglary call tells 10-year-old girl to put her ‘hands up,’ mother says

    A report of a burglary and police respond with guns drawn. Our police are a bunch of dangerous wackos on power trips who can’t do their jobs. In this place they went to the wrong apartment! The girl is lucky to be alive.

  37. steve says:

    The right wing is now claiming that it was illegal for Schiff to acquire and publish the phone records showing Nunes, Giluiani and probably everyone else in the White House was calling Ukraine. Anyone seen a reputable claim addressing the legality of that?


  38. Kit says:


    It’s always a mixed bag

    When this sort of subject comes up, we inevitably conflate the state of the world with the state of ourselves. Life must have been really crappy such that we cannot occasionally look back on our past without a bit of nostalgia.

    Still, let’s face it, some things really were better. Years back, I bought a free-range, bio, yoga-practicing chicken. Once it was cooked, I remember thinking: This tastes like chicken used to taste!

  39. Kit says:


    The right wing is now claiming that it was illegal for Schiff to acquire and publish the phone records showing Nunes, Giluiani and probably everyone else in the White House was calling Ukraine.

    Excuse me a moment while I pin back my ears and bray!

  40. Teve says:

    Max Boot
    Dec 4
    The percentage of Republicans who view Russia as an ally has nearly doubled since Trump took office. The party’s transformation into a Russian lickspittle makes me sick; “GOP” might as well stand for “Gang of Putin.”

  41. Moosebreath says:


    Excellent thread. Especially his conclusion:

    “Why can’t we meet you half way? Why, if we’re so alarmed by Trump, won’t we strike some sort of compromise, some parlay between warring factions? A ceasefire, a pause, a Christmas Truce?

    Simple. Because we’re terrified of being played for chumps. And again: not unreasonably so.”

  42. DrDaveT says:


    they are taking some very good steps towards working to prevent AIDs via supplying preventatives to low income, at risk populations

    It won’t last. Conservative ‘Christians’ call this “thwarting God’s will”. As soon as the pushback starts, the administration will cave.

  43. DrDaveT says:


    The right wing is now claiming that it was illegal for Schiff to acquire and publish the phone records showing Nunes, Giluiani and probably everyone else in the White House was calling Ukraine.

    I think the logical conclusion of the sequence of GOP defenses we’re seeing is for them to claim that allowing Trump to be elected was “entrapment”.

  44. Gustopher says:


    The right wing is now claiming that it was illegal for Schiff to acquire and publish the phone records showing Nunes, Giluiani and probably everyone else in the White House was calling Ukraine.

    With no understanding of the illegality other than that the law offices of Pinocchio, Barr and the Boy Who Called Wolf are not to be trusted, I’m sure it’s fine.

  45. Gustopher says:

    @Moosebreath: About that conclusion:

    Simple. Because we’re terrified of being played for chumps. And again: not unreasonably so.”

    People tend to assume others will behave like they would in a given situation. It takes a lot to get Charlie Brown to learn that Lucy is going to keep pulling the football away.

    The Democrats are Charlie Brown, and they’ve finally seemed to learn. Part of me questions whether that is a good thing.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jay L Gischer: He’s an asshole. Plain and simple. He’s got an ego the size of Texas which has gotten his ass in trouble on more than a few occasions and he has a very shaky relationship with the truth (Tell me again why Musk is no longer the CEO of Tesla?) He treats his employees like shit and engages in anti-union activities, sometimes illegal ones. Can you find people who like working for him? Sure, or at least ones who won’t admit they can’t stand him. I can do the same for trump. As for what he has done to fight climate change, he has done some good things, but not near as much as so many like to claim. As to his business acumen, I’m still waiting for Tesla to make money. Space X? Sure, a good thing, and getting better. But Mars? Reality is knocking. He fails publicly, yes. Admitting it on the other hand….

    Finally I’m a lifelong caver. Not a cave diver but been around enough of it to know how truly dangerous it is. When I first heard he was building a sub for the kids I thought, “Good, he might come up with something useful, or at least some innovation that might have applications someday. Then I saw the sub. It was useless as constructed, obviously put together by people who had no idea what it is like underground much less in a water filled passage.

    Then he pulled his stunt of showing up in Thailand waving his $100,000 piece of junk around and saying “Hey everybody! Look at me look at me look at mememememeeee…”

    I’ve been on cave rescues. Helped pull dead, drowned children out of a flooded cave. Went looking for more. There is no place in a rescue for egos. But egos there are and it was egos that cost a friend of mine her life after she fell 40′ in a cave.

    I dislike self promoters because in general their real accomplishments aren’t getting the praise they think they should and quite often it’s because they don’t really measure up. So the SPer fills the void. If their accomplishments were really all that, they could stfu and let their products do their talking for them.

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis: On the subject of upcoming threads, anything coming up on the SNAP changes? It’s likely to affect far more people than impeachment.

    My Hot Take: Work requirements are an explicit giveaway to subsidize labor costs of businesses that do not want to pay a living wage.

  48. Kathy says:


    Space X? Sure, a good thing, and getting better. But Mars? Reality is knocking.

    To quote Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”

    I prefer that to Jim Mora: “Playoffs? Playoffs? Are you kidding me? PLAYOFFS! I just hope we can win a game!”

    The sub thing was embarrassing. One would expect Musk, of all people, not to try to enact that old science fiction cliche: a crisis the first day is solved by a revolutionary development the next day.

    the question I would ask him, and this would tell whether he was just showboating or was earnest, is: what further developments concerning a rescue sub for cave diving have you achieved, Mr. Musk?

    I would even admit that “we found out it’s not the right tool for the job” is a useful development.

    Has he done anything further with that, or did he lose interest?

  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    Elon Musk is both a genius who has done enormous good, and an asshole. That combination is hardly unusual. The list of great artists, scientists, inventors, writers and businessmen who were assholes is very, very long. Jobs was an asshole. Edison was an asshole. Voltaire. John Lennon. Patton. Gauguin.

    We should absolutely call these people out on their assholery, but must also praise their contributions. I don’t see why it has to be binary.

  50. EddieInCA says:

    If Biden is the nominee, I look forward to his debates with Trump.

    I wouldn’t normally link to the Daily Caller, but it’s worth it.Watch the video.

  51. Tyrell says:

    Things you may not have known about President Johnson

    Johnson was a southerner like Lincoln and Andrew Jackson. He, also, opposed secession. He saw both secession as harmful to the nation.

    Like Lincoln, Johnson came from a poor childhood and did not know how to read.

    Johnson and his brother were indentured servants, but escaped and ran away.

    At age 22 he was elected mayor of Greenville, Tennessee.

    Johnson was the only southerner who kept their seat in Congress.

    Johnson, along with William Seward, was instrumental in the purchase of Alaska.

    Johnson contracted typhus right before Lincoln’s inauguration and had to drink whiskey for relief.

    Booth conspirator Atzerodt evidently got cold feet and would not go through with his assignment to kill the vice president.

    Johnson favored Lincoln’s conciliatory treatment of the south. This got him the opposition of many radical Republicans and others who wanted a punitive reconstruction and control. They put the southern states under harsh military rule twice.

    When he replaced Edwin Stanton with war hero General Grant, his political opponents impeached him in a clearly partisan move, even though most of them liked Grant. There was nothing illegal about Johnson’s action or his implementation of a charitable reconstruction policy. Grant – the “savior of the Union”.

    Johnson has usually been regarded with disdain and disfavor. But he has undergone somewhat of a reform with historians now seeing him in a more favorable light. No doubt that the assassination threw him into very difficult times for this nation. (See Carmen Nartaro)

    Reconstruction was an unmitigated, dismal disaster.
    After Reconstruction ended, the federal government turned its attention and military operations to the settlement of the West.

    Read “Grant” by Ron Chernow.
    “Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman”

  52. MarkedMan says:

    Johnson favored Lincoln’s conciliatory treatment of the south.

    Translation: Johnson was a racist slaver at heart and was more than willing to help his fellow slavers in the South set up a defacto slavery regime again.

  53. Jax says:

    @EddieInCA: It would be great if the media would start calling out Trump like that on a regular basis. “You’re a damn liar!”

    That was fabulous.

  54. EddieInCA says:


    In the fever swamp of my bourbon-infused brain, I have a premonition that during an upcoming debate between Trump and Biden, Trump will say some BS comment, and Joe Biden is going to look directly at him and say something along the lines of “What a bunch of malarkey! Seriously. How can you say that with a straight face?” Then he’s going to look right at the camera and say “America, this man just lied to you. Again. He’s been lying non-stop for four years. He lies like he breathes. And you know what? He’s not going to stop lying. Ever. But…. While we can’t stop him from lying, we can stop him from lying as President of the United States.”.

    To which Trump will say “I’m not a liar. You’re the liar, Sleepy Joe.”

    To which Biden will say, “Whatever, Liar.”

    I’d pay to see that.

    Okay, enough drunk posting.

  55. Jax says:

    @EddieInCA: And the pushup contest. I really feel like that would be the ultimate statement on the current state of politics in America if there’s a pushup contest between Trump and Biden on the debate stage. 😉

    I don’t think Trump would survive a pushup contest. Too many hamberders and diet Coke’s.

  56. Stormy Dragon says:


    My Hot Take: Work requirements are an explicit giveaway to subsidize labor costs of businesses that do not want to pay a living wage.

    It’s worse than that:
    1. In most cases the Work Requirements will be administered by private companies, so the usual suspects will get to siphon off a big chunk of the money being spent on SNAP. As an example, Wisconsin already has it’s own work requirements program in place, which doubled the cost per participant to provide SNAP benefits.
    2. States can grant waivers to particular areas, so we’ll end up with a situation like Kentucky’s medicaid work requirements where all the majority-white counties received waivers and all the majority-minority counties did not.

  57. Jax says:

    Not sure I’m on board with this. Particularly with a Trump administration. It’s a given that their motives will be dubious, at best, and downright nefarious in a worst-case scenario where they start rounding up dissidents.

  58. Teve says:

    Trump’s face paint.

    Well that explains that weird skin tone of his.

  59. Tyrell says:

    @MarkedMan: Johnson basically tried to follow and implement Lincoln’s reconstruction policies.

  60. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Has he done anything further with that, or did he lose interest?


  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tyrell: Lincoln was not a southerner. Yes he was born in Kentucky and moved to Illinois. Neither seceded from the union.

    Try again.

  62. Kathy says:


    Hm. I thought it was a bad spray tan.

    If it’s makeup, then there’s little mystery. Back when I had to conceal facial hair follicles, I used an orange foundation base, then covered that with a more flesh-colored foundation on top. The orange makeup is very good at concealing dark features. therefore Dennison may have some dark discoloration or scar or rash or freckles or mole he wants to conceal. Or maybe he gets really bad 5 ‘o clock shadow long before 5 pm. The orange would help that.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: I see your point, but for people in my situation, that horse has already jumped the fence, if you will. I travel internationally every year at least once, so my face is already in data bases. Additionally, because of our proximity to British Columbia and Alberta, Washington State has already been using “smart” driver’s licenses for about 5 or 6 years. The security state won this battle years ago, and my take is that if DHS doesn’t get permission to carry through, they’ll just do it anyway.

  64. EddieInCA says:
  65. An Interested Party says:

    @EddieInCA: Maybe there’s still some fight left in Joe yet…this, of course, is the best way to attack a coward like Trump, by ridiculing him…

  66. Gustopher says:


    Reconstruction was an unmitigated, dismal disaster.

    It did give black folks the vote, and various other rights, which would then be taken away by Jim Crow Laws as soon as Reconstruction ended.

    The main problem with Reconstruction was that the Southern gentry were not strung up from lamp posts, or the historical equivalent, or at least impoverished. A mistake that has festered to this day.

    As soon as the occupation was over, the pre-war aristocracy was back in power, using their financial and political might to roll back the gains of the previous 8 years.

    As an aside, if we failed at nation building in our own nation, I don’t know why we thought it would work in Iraq a century later.

  67. Mister Bluster says:

    Per WikiP Abe Lincoln was born in Kentucky in 1809. The family moved to Indiana in 1816 and relocated to Illinois in 1830.

  68. Gustopher says:

    Mayor Pete has followed coming out in favor of means testing for free college with statements about tax and spend Democrats not being serious about the deficit, and how that needs to change.

    I am not a fan of means testing in general, and don’t care if in addition to a big program that helps the lower and middle class, we also help out a few wealthy people. They are spare change in the grand scheme of things, so the cost is basically zero, and as a matter of basic fairness they are paying into the programs so they ought to benefit.

    (Most wealthy people pay more taxes, in pure dollar values than lower and middle income folks… if we’re giving free state college tuition to everyone else, we should give it to them too)

    And I don’t know if Democrats were ever bad with the budget, but not in Mayor Twerp’s lifetime.

    There’s a difference between reaching out to on the fence Republicans, and regurgitating Republican talking points. I think I am now moving from “he’s the future of our party” to “oh, that’s cute little mayor boy, now go away and let the grownups talk.”

    Standard disclaimer: I will vote for the twerp if he gets the nomination, etc.

    And, damn it, I pay for food stamps through my taxes (most years…), so I should qualify for them. And, yes, I should be able to spend it on t-bones and lobster.

  69. Kathy says:

    Short Trump Joke Time!

    Q: How many Donald Trumps does it take to screw-in a light bulb?

    A: Just one. But he’ll have to pay the light bulb $130,000 through a lawyer he doesn’t know very well.

  70. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA: Biden isn’t my favorite, and I think he’s too old, but his ad team is pretty ok at the very least.

    If I had some guarantee that he would stay healthy throughout the campaign, I would be comfortable with him, but I’ve had cats at his relative age, and they were one illness away from death. One was that way from when she was 14 to 22. Maybe Biden is like that cat.

    Actually, I hope he’s better than that cat. That cat was a little senile for the last few years. She would get lost after using the litter box in the middle of the night and just howl until I woke up, went down, hugged her and carried her off to bed.

    She would also walk into the litter box, turn around 360, pee out the opening, turn around 360 again, dig, and then start to leave, see the puddle of urine in front of the litter box, and then stare at me reproachfully as if to ask “Why do I live in such filth?”

    The litter box was then in a bathtub after that, since it was easier to clean.

    Anyway, Biden has been having senior moments like that for decades.

    I miss that cat. I also miss the cat that died recently. The remaining cat… eh, she’s fine, I guess.

  71. Gustopher says:

    Remaining cat is actually quite nice. But only 6. In another 4-8 years she will be great.

    Why do people adopt kittens?

  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Replica children for pseudo-child rearing.

  73. Kit says:

    Good, if long, read over at The New York Review: The Drums of Cyberwar

    Well written, worth reading, and difficult to excerpt. Here’s the conclusion, which suffers from lack of context but might whet your appetite:

    By then, of course, the fact of the hacking [by Russian intelligence in the 2016 election] was well established and American elections had been added to the Department of Homeland Security’s list of “critical infrastructure” that must be protected in cyberspace as well as in the physical universe. Voting may seem very different from wastewater treatment, but as one cybersecurity researcher told Greenberg, “just as election hacking is meant to rattle the foundations of citizens’ trust that their democracy is functioning, infrastructure hacking is meant to shake their faith in the fundamental security of their society.” So far, cyberwarfare has been fundamentally psychological warfare. Cyberwar will not be.

  74. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: I rarely ever start out with the intention of adopting kittens, but I’m a sucker for a box of free kittens out in front of our local grocery store. If the kids aren’t with me I can generally walk on by, but if the kids see them, I know I’m gonna end up taking two home. 😉

  75. Kathy says:


    In our case, we had a pigeon problem on the roof. My mom tried repellents, firecrackers, a hose, and who knows what else. I kept telling her to just get a kitten. eventually we did, though she was almost two and being evicted from a completed construction project.

    The pigeons disappeared the same day she arrived home.

    I don’t know whether she ever tried to catch one. But she liked going out on the roof at all hours. She spent most of her time upstairs.

    She was adorable, too, and playful. She even got along well with the dog.

  76. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: If your kitten was almost two, that was a cat. A pretty young cat, but a cat.

    I think cats finally get good around 10. The larval stages (kitten, young cat) are just kind of pesky. Cute, but pesky.

    My remaining cat is bored and clearly needs a friend. She’s also socially retarded* and misses subtle queues that the other cat wants to be left alone (hissing, growling, etc). Does not recognize or respect boundaries. Just dumb.

    I either have to find a senior cat who is a saint, or just get a kitten who will be molded by this behavior and think it’s fine. Sigh.

    *: I wouldn’t use that word for a person, but it fits her. She was rescued from a hoarder house with 50 other cats, there wasn’t space for boundaries I guess. Very sweet. Friendly, but just not good at being a friend.

  77. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: If you were close enough, I’ve got a lovely cat for you. She would love a human that has lots of time to love on her! She has to share me with too many others. And she likes belly rubs, it’s the damndest thing….she isn’t trying to trick you, either, there’s no bloodbath if you dare to pet her belly. She’s always first up for nap time, bed time, and lap time. 😉

  78. JohnSF says:

    “Busy, busy, busy, eh, Mr Soros?”

  79. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: Sounds like a potential lovely cat. How close are you to Seattle?

    (I’m not sure how much you have mentioned in the past, and whether you are a “no one must know my city” person)

  80. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist
    I’ve no doubt Johnson would double-cross the Brexiteers in a hot second if he thought it to his advantage.
    He has never been a “true believer”; Brexit for him is (as everything else) “What’s in it for Boris?”
    (“Boris” being merely the public persona of Alexander de Pfeffel Johnson)

    He could certainly most easily achieve a deal by immediately conceding to the EU’s requirements; arguably that’s the only way he’ll get a deal.
    And for all most Conservatives bravado when questioned, all but the more fanatic ERG would prefer to avoid the economic consequences of such.

    But the EU’s requirements will vary greatly depending on what the UK will concede.
    Anything from a “bare” FTA to a “deep” EEA type, depending on how far the government will renege on the Brexiteer “red lines”.
    True, the majority of the Great British Public won’t give a damn or pay any attention (till any consequences become plain) but it will depend a lot on the fanatic vs pragmatic balance among Conservative MPs, and the majority figure, if any.
    And EEA alignment demands labour movement, which is the one topic guaranteed to detonate in the tabloids and the party activists.

    Unless Johnson is rock-solid in Parlt. that’s very risky; if vulnerable in Commons, more likely to accept minimalist FTA and pray he can ride out economic damage for a term long enough to satisfy his vanity, and secure his future position.
    I think Mr. North is being subtly misleading here; he often is, though often not on purpose IMHO.
    His former fellow “liberal leaver” Roland Smith has been scathing on this at times; see his twitter line; and also the North’s views on Smith; Leavers = cats in a sack.

  81. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: I’m in Western Wyoming. I’ll check around and see if anybody is headed that way over the holidays that would be willing to take a kitty!

    Her name is Lilah, she’s only 4, but she’s well past the pesky stage. She never really was the pesky one, even when she was young, that was her brother. He’s still pesky. Drives her crazy, he’s always bugging her and she just wants to lay on soft fleecy blankets in a sunbeam.

  82. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: Wyoming, eh? The problem would be that I’m then pretty much obligated to take the cat after she travels that far.

    I’ll check with my local crazy cat people first — best for me and prospective cat to meet before making a commitment. Let the cat choose the person as much as me choosing a cat. I’ve had a few “huh, he/she usually loves everyone” moments with cats lately (6’6”, so I’m giant, and maybe I smell funny or something)

    This next cat has some heavy lifting to do. Has to get along with the other cat, and be my buddy and be the right difficult. (One of the cats should be my buddy, and it’s not going to be the one I have I expect…. she likes cats more than people)

    There is a 15 year old cat at a nearby shelter who likes to be in the young cat room, and who has a profound disinterest in me (He gets up, walks about two feet out of reach, and then sits down facing away, and then cleans a paw… wonderfully dismissive). I might win him over with enough visits to see other cats there, and then dropping in to pet him.

  83. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: Good luck with your aloof gentleman, I’m sure you’ll win him over! If you’re ever in this neck of the woods, swing by and meet Lilah. I’m not in any big rush to get rid of her, I just think she’d be happier in a household with fewer cats and more one on one time with a human of her very own that she doesn’t have to share with as many cats as we have. Between the dumped cats and the cats I get suckered into at the grocery store, we have a considerable number running around the ranch. They’re all inside/outside and come and go freely thru a cat door put in a high window.

  84. JohnSF says:

    Given ongoing convo., I emphasise the metaphorical nature of said cats 🙂

  85. grumpy realist says:

    Very interesting article from EUReferendum pointing out how Indian-Pakistan rivalries are showing up in the U.K. general election.

    One of the side effects of the U.K.colonisation and the Partition….

  86. Kathy says:


    Ramona wasn’t pesky at all.

    She quickly understood we’d tolerate her ongoing destruction of only one piece of furniture to sharpen her claws. When I got home, she descended from her aerie and came to my room. Often we played, but sometimes she just liked climbing the book case and sniffing around the shelves and the books (she never hurt a single book).

    Sometimes she climbed on my lap and allowed some petting. But if I tried to pick her up, she’d dig her claws on my shoulder, really hard. I guess she was afraid of being dropped.

  87. An Interested Party says:

    Anyway, Biden has been having senior moments like that for decades.

    I miss that cat. I also miss the cat that died recently. The remaining cat… eh, she’s fine, I guess.

    Perhaps that’s exactly the kind of nostalgia that Biden engenders in some people…at least most of his senior moments are benign, unlike the dementia-induced rants of Trump…