Open Forum

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

The floor is yours.

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


  1. Bill says:
  2. CSK says:

    @Bill: Just the news I like to be greeted by upon waking!

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Your Daily Outrage:

    “Hey Mom, am so mad the jail had to strip me with all of my clothes off this doesn’t make no [sense]” the girl messaged, according to texts obtained by the Virginian-Pilot.

    Her mother responded by telling the girl to call her, but then asking her is they had made her take her pants off.

    Yes, the girl clarified, “all of my clothes off”.

    The media has not identified the mother, in order to protect the identity of the minor.

    The child visits her incarcerated father every weekend and was with the father’s girlfriend, Diamond Peerman, during the trip on 24 November. When they reached the facility, the pair joined a line to wait their turn to enter, Peerman said.

    Staff drew Peerman aside for additional screening after a dog sniffed and singled her out. She would have to be strip-searched, they said. Peerman then asked if the young girl would have to be strip-searched, too, and though they were told no at first, the staff spoke with a captain. Soon, they returned to tell the pair the girl would have to be searched, too, the local report said.

    The eight-year-old would have to consent to a strip search and if she didn’t, she would not be able to visit her father that day after the two-and-a-half-hour drive to see him.

    “I told her, that means you have to take all of your clothes off or you’re not going to be able to see your dad,” Peerman told the Virginian-Pilot. “That’s when she started crying.”

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    trump says people ‘flush the toilet 10 times’ and seeks solution Yes we do and no matter how often we flush, that turd is still in the White House. Some people think impeachment will roto rooter it out but I’m pretty sure it’s going to take a 2020 demo job to fix this problem.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In July, ProPublica and the South Bend Tribune wrote about the questionable evidence used against Joyner at trial. But in Joyner’s case, as in many others, the police, while setting the investigation’s course early on, used an investigative tool that exists out of public view. Such tools rarely, if ever, make it into the courtroom because they’re too unreliable to clear even the low threshold for evidence allowed at trial.

    SCAN, a product sold by a company called the Laboratory for Scientific Interrogation (LSI), has, in the words of four scholars in a 2016 study, “no empirical support” — meaning, there’s no dependable research showing that it works.

    Scientific Content Analysis is akin to other investigative tools scrutinized by ProPublica, including bloodstain-pattern analysis and photo analysis. These analytical techniques promise a degree of certainty — about how blood came to spray across a wall, or whether a particular plaid shirt was worn by a robber — that can guide an investigator or shore up a case. The trial evidence presented against Joyner included yet another example: a prosecution expert testified that two plastic garbage bags — one found in Joyner’s apartment, the other around Hernandez’s head — had “definitely” once been connected. (A statistician said in an interview that this testimony was laced with “a lot of unproven assertions.”) Law enforcement officials hold these tools out as science, even though they have little or no scientific backing.

    More forensic voodoo parading as science.

    In 2009, in his first days in office, President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13491, barring federal agents from using waterboarding and similar torture while gathering intelligence. The order also did something else: It created a special interagency task force to study the effectiveness of various approaches to interrogation.

    In short, the government wanted to know: Which techniques work? Which ones don’t? In 2010, the research began. A task force, given the unwieldy name of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (acronym, HIG), contracted with “world-renowned, Ph.D.-level scientists” who specialized in interrogation.

    Three agencies make up the HIG: the FBI, CIA and the U.S. Department of Defense.

    The HIG’s research program conducted tests, canvassed the scholarship on interrogations and produced scores of peer-reviewed articles. In September 2016, the HIG produced a 93-page review of its findings.

    The review devoted just one paragraph to SCAN. Its synopsis was short but withering. SCAN “is widely employed in spite of a lack of supporting research,” the review said. Studies commonly cited in support of SCAN were scientifically flawed, the review said. “When all 12 SCAN criteria were used in a laboratory study, SCAN did not distinguish truth-tellers from liars above the level of chance,” the review said. The synopsis also specifically challenged two of those 12 criteria, noting: “Both gaps in memory and spontaneous corrections have been shown to be indicators of truth, contrary to what is claimed by SCAN.”

    In a footnote, the review identified three specific agencies that use SCAN: the FBI, CIA and U.S. Army military intelligence, which falls under the Department of Defense.

    Head? Meet desk.

    Over the years, the agencies that have spent public money to get SCAN training include the Maryland State Police; the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife; the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General; the prosecutor’s offices in New Jersey’s Middlesex, Morris and Union counties; and local police departments large (Los Angeles) and small (Apple Valley, Minnesota), according to records obtained by ProPublica.

    Those 40 departments are just a sampling. ProPublica also submitted records requests to more than three dozen other federal, state and local agencies. Some requests are still pending — for example, the documents pertaining to a $132,500 purchase for SCAN training by the U.S. State Department in 2014. Some were denied because the reporter didn’t live where the records were requested (Tennessee, Alabama). And in one instance, ProPublica refused to pay when the Virginia State Police estimated that its charge for the records would be $35,007.09, which was $34,907.09 more than any other agency wanted.

    I had to include that last because… Just because.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Last link before I leave: Private border wall construction continues despite court order

    The construction of a private border wall partially funded by rightwing allies of Donald Trump continued with vigor in south Texas this week, seemingly in blatant violation of a court injunction ordering work to be suspended.

    On Thursday and Friday, within three days of a temporary restraining order being issued, the Guardian found construction crews with at least 10 heavy machinery vehicles moving soil, digging trenches and positioning tall metal posts along the US bank of the Rio Grande in Hidalgo county, which forms the border with Mexico. A 3.5-mile, privately-funded concrete barrier is planned on the site, near Mission, Texas.

    The state court order was served to We Build the Wall (WBTW), an anti-migrant group founded by military veteran Brian Kolfage, and the landowners, Neuhaus and Sons LLC, whose land is situated between Trump’s proposed wall and the Mexican border.
    An employee of the construction company Fisher Industries, who identified himself as Sean, confirmed that work had continued uninterrupted – despite the injunction.

    “They [the construction workers] have told us they are not going to stop,” Sam Pena from the local sheriff’s office said on Thursday. The sheriff’s deputies filed reports documenting the ongoing construction work that appeared to be in violation of the court order.

    And, on December 5, the federal government launched separate legal action to stop the construction, on the grounds that it violated binational treaty obligations with Mexico. A temporary injunction was granted by the US District judge Randy Crane.

    That federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IWBC), states that required hydraulic studies proving that the wall would not worsen flooding on the river had not been completed, and scant detail about the planned work had been submitted.

    These are the same assholes who will scream longest and loudest about “law and order.” What they really mean is “only the laws I like and the orders against other people.”

  9. mattbernius says:

    All I will say is that sadly this is not as uncommon a you would hope for people visiting incarcerated loved ones and friends.

  10. Teve says:

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    If Republicans were willing to scrutinize billionaires *half* as much as they scrutinize people on food stamps, this country would be a much better place.

  11. Slugger says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: This seems to support my view in the Zimmerman thread that you have to have actual damages to win in a suit. Zimmerman’s $100 million or the WashPo $250 million suits just don’t make sense.

  12. Teve says:

    Driftglass @mrelectrico

    I never get tired of hearing about another Republican-On-A-Political-Relationship-Break landing an op-ed column in a national newspaper or a cable news gig or a book contract for cobbling together a weak-tea pastiche of what Liberals have been saying for 30 years.

  13. mattbernius says:

    One thing I forgot to mention… @OzarkHillbilly:

    ProPublica refused to pay when the Virginia State Police estimated that its charge for the records would be $35,007.09, which was $34,907.09 more than any other agency wanted.

    This is a great example of why the criminal justice system is so opaque. Our public records laws are exceptionally lax. And even though this is public data, these sorts of service fees are routinely applied to stop public access to said data.

    It’s one of the thing that organizations like mine are working alleviate. Before we can even discuss what reforms work, we need better access to foundational data.

  14. Teve says:

    Betty Bowers

    If Pearl Harbor happened today…

    Devin Nunes: “I don’t believe CNN saying it was Japan!”

    Jim Jordan: “We need to find the snitch who alerted the media!”

    Kevin McCarthy: “Maybe Switzerland did it.”

    Sean Hannity: “The liberal witch hunt against Japan is going crazy today!”

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: Oh I know, my ex went to prison (years after our divorce)(I told her father she would end up there) but I was spared the experience because she didn’t want our teenage sons seeing her there. Small blessings.

  16. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh, good, that means I can continue using my favorite insult without worrying about having to pay damages.

  17. Gustopher says:


    The trial evidence presented against Joyner included yet another example: a prosecution expert testified that two plastic garbage bags — one found in Joyner’s apartment, the other around Hernandez’s head — had “definitely” once been connected.

    Hmm. When was the last time we heard from James Joyner? Well, I guess that explains that.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Slugger: You mean, “My feefees got hurt.” doesn’t count? Something tells me Nunes’ suits aren’t going to last long. Tho I suppose that isn’t the purpose of them to begin with, is it?

    @mattbernius: Yep, we gotta pay for it twice.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: “Joyner, in the library, with the plastic bag.”

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “You can’t wash your hands practically, there’s so little water that comes out of the faucet.”
    I wouldn’t have thought that would be a problem, with his little tiny hands and all.
    (I apologize, I just couldn’t resist. 😀 )

  21. JohnSF says:

    Can anyone enlighten a non-American: if the House moves impeachment, can they still hold hearings and issue subpoenas in related matters?
    i.e. testimony from Giuliani, Bolton, Mulvaney, Pompeo, Barr etc. ?

    Or does referral to the Senate for trial rule that out on a sort of sub judice rule?

  22. gVOR08 says:

    @JohnSF: Can’t answer your question, but I’m seeing suggestions the House write up the charges, but refrain from referring them to the Senate, where the outcome is virtually certain to be a party line acquittal.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: They can hold hearings on any matter they want (and as the GOP proved in ’14-’16, the same matters repeatedly) and issue as many subpoenas as they like. The trump admin will continue to ignore them unless and until somebody takes their oath to the constitution serious.

  24. JohnSF says:

    The House authorities (committee chairmen? Speaker?) involved could then appeal to the federal courts to compel executive compliance?

    I suppose it could get to
    Jackson’s (apocryphal?) response re. the Cherokee: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!”

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: Yes, but as Nancy and Jerry have noted, waiting for the courts to act is a waste of time. They have more than enough to remove him from office, but it will never be enough for the Republican Senate so they are moving ahead with it in the hopes that people will actually care come 2020.


  26. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Greetings from Shaghai!

    Can’t get google, can’t get Yahoo… but makes it though the Great Firewall of China.

    Like they say: Keep calm and seize the means of production, right?

    Still, gotta tip my hat to a posthumous Nixon… I couldn’t be here if he wasn’t here first.

    The 300KM Maglev train was cool.

    Only here for a day; mileage run to keep my AA EP status.

  27. Jax says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Excellent! Enjoy your mileage run! I’m enjoying the idea of OTB being an internet gangster bar during the days of Prohibition…..

  28. DrDaveT says:

    So, a stray thought:

    Former presidents get Secret Service protection.

    If Trump gets convicted and sent to jail… Does he get Secret Service protection in the slammer? How does that work?

  29. Jax says:

    @DrDaveT: I’ve asked this many times, and nobody seems to have an answer. Also, are we still required to pay him his pension and all that? 3 hots and a cot, medical care, seems well provided for. 😉

  30. Kathy says:


    If Dennison gets a Secret Service agent for protection in the slammer, what’d you bet he’d trade his services for hamberders?

  31. Kathy says:

    I’m reading “Bullshit Jobs: A Theory” by David Graeber. I’m only on chapter two, but his thesis seems to have something to it. This led me to want to talk about what I think of jobs that produce money, but are inherently unproductive. Like for instance 80% of my job, or professional casino gambling.

    Unfortunately, I’m so busy this week, and all of next week, to give it the time it deserves. I’m currently engaged in parto of the 20% that is productive, which perforce must be done when not being interrupted by the other 80%.

    A quick example is this:

    In the midst of assembling a price list of 295 (yes, I counted them) products, which has to be done in 23 versions, each product with price, net content, brand, minimum and maximum contract quantities, and minimum and maximum total amounts, plus VAT (where applicable), and a sin tax on high-sugar products, my boss wanted me to upgrade his flight to business class using AMEX rewards points.

    You know how much work on the price lists I could have done in the 90 minutes it took me to find out that, no matter how many points you have, if business class is sold out you can’t get an upgrade?

    Ok. that took me only fifteen minutes. The rest was trying every other means possible, just so my boss would be convinced it wasn’t possible.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    The 300KM Maglev train was cool.

    Believe or not, it used to go 400kph. Somewhere I’ve got a selfie with that speed displayed behind me.

  33. Teve says:

    Hannitard on Pamela Karlan

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Another great witness. Imagine carrying around that much hatred, that much resentment and anger every day of your life. Pretty sad, pretty pathetic. Not good for the country. And frankly, House Democrats, they look really, really stupid. I didn’t think you could outdo the Schiff show. But they did. For hauling that psychotic individual before Congress. Case in point, at today’s hearings, she made a pretty disgusting, repulsive joke about the president and Melania Trump’s 13-year-old son.

    He thinks his audience is mentally disabled, and he is correct.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: And he left out the most important part (yet again) of the story…

    Karlan apologized for her remark as the hearing continued late Wednesday. “It was wrong of me to do that,’’ she said, according to the Associated Press. “I do regret it.”[emphasis added]

    When was the last time any one heard Trump say that–or Sean Hannity as far as that goes?

  35. Teve says:

    “Contrary to what President Trump says, Article Two [of the Constitution] does not give him the power to do anything he wants,” Karlan said. “And I’ll just give you one example that shows you the difference between him and a king, which is the Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son Barron, he cannot make him a baron.”

    No Hannity-watching dipshit will know that’s what Karlan said.

  36. Tyrell says:

    NCAA has announced the football semifinals pairings:
    LSU vs Oklahoma
    Ohio State vs Clemson

  37. An Interested Party says:

    So very true…

    American historians have been asked for so long, by so many people, so many times, in so many ways: Is this President really that bad? Is this unprecedented? Almost always, I bite my tongue. But, yes, he is that bad, and this is unprecedented, and these acts are impeachable, and, if it seems as though people have been clamoring for his impeachment since he took office, that’s only because he has behaved abominably since he took office. Is abomination impeachable? No. But the abuses of office of which the President now stands accused are the very definition of impeachable.

  38. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: jill lepore is the cat’s pajamas.