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. Sleeping Dog says:
  2. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Thanks; that was quite interesting. I’ve been saying all along that the key to understanding Trump is knowing that he’s a failed social climber.

  3. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Beran’s insight is that these young men don’t actually think Trump is cool. They think he’s a loser. That’s why they support him, and why they connected him to a character called Pepe the Frog:

    Pepe symbolizes embracing your loserdom, owning it. That is to say, it is what all the millions of forum-goers of 4chan met to commune about. It is, in other words, a value system, one reveling in deplorableness and being pridefully dispossessed. It is a culture of hopelessness, of knowing “the system is rigged”. But instead of fight the response is flight, knowing you’re trapped in your circumstances is cause to celebrate. For these young men, voting Trump is not a solution, but a new spiteful prank.

    Like many people have said, it’s a politics of spite.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Republican Washington state representative Matthew Shea “participated in an act of domestic terrorism against the United States” and represents a threat of political violence, according to a report produced for the Washington state legislature.

    Shea is a far-right figure who holds extremist Christian, nationalist and Islamophobic beliefs. The report said it had made the judgment over terrorism by his actions before and during an armed takeover and standoff at the Malheur national wildlife refuge in 2016 in Oregon.

    The report further contends that in a document entitled the Biblical Basis for War, Shea “advocated the replacement of US democracy with a theocracy and the killing of all males who do not agree”.

    In its conclusion, while commenting that Shea is not an “imminent direct threat … it is more probable than not that Representative Shea is likely to plan, direct and engage in additional future conflicts that could carry with them significant risk of bloodshed and loss of life”.

    It adds: “Representative Shea presents a present and growing threat of risk to others through political violence.”

    In response to the report, the Washington Republican state legislative minority leader, JT Wilcox, announced on Twitter that Shea had been suspended from the house Republican caucus.

    The report was commissioned by the house and produced by an outside agency, the Rampart Group, following reporting from the Guardian and other local and national outlets on Shea’s activities.

    It says Shea “planned the 2016 takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; engaged in the conflict by directing Cows (Coalition of Western States) members and militias in support of the takeover; and traveled to Burns, Oregon, and met with refuge armed occupiers contrary to appeals and warnings from law enforcement and Oregon state elected officials”.

    I’m only surprised the state GOP actually took action against him.

  5. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Sleeping Dogright? It seems like we over think the obvious when it comes to Trump Support and Republican Party support. This is culturally a patriarchal country where people respond positively to the good side of masculinity (IE Obama). They also respond to the dark side of masculinity (IE Trump) but not so positively. Is there any doubt that Obama would thrash Trump in a head to head election?

    My contention is that, in aggregate, the American electorate is always going to vote for the candidate and themes that most encapsulate masculine concepts. If the choice is between negative masculinity and anything feminine… You guessed it. Masculine it is. This by the way has a little to do with gender. A female candidate can absolutely have a masculine schtick to her campaign and vice versa.

    Sure, there is a demographic out that that would go with Trump if the Democrats nominated Jesus. That’s about 30%. The other 10-12% of people that won’t support a Democrat would in fact stay home if the choice was between a Democratic positive masculine campaign and Trump.

    Is it right? no, but that’s how culture works. It takes time and many losses to change and the downside is that those working hardest for the change are really working for the younger generation’s enjoyment and benefit of said changes. The question for Dems is do they continue to feminize the party or do they moderate the party to include themes that resonate with men particularly the ones that aren’t into politics ..but will vote.

    Republicans have doubled down on masculinity of a particularly toxic sort…but as mentioned before, my theory is that the most positive, masculine campaign wins….even if that most positive, masculine campaign is toxic…but the only masculine choice available.

  6. Teve says:

    John d. MacDonald is one of my faves. Who doesn’t like Travis McGee? So this was nice to see:


    John D. MacDonald, 40 years ago: “Beware of those turkeys who really believe they’re absolutely pure, decent, honest, God-fearing Americans.”

  7. Teve says:
  8. sam says:


    I absolutely refuse to read the last novel.

  9. Teve says:

    @sam: I haven’t gotten there yet No Spoilers!!!

  10. Kit says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    my theory is that the most positive, masculine campaign wins

    While I see where you are coming from, isn’t Hillary enough to show that you are missing something? She was historically unpopular, a foreign government was working against her, the US government almost seemed to be working against her, she had been slandered for decades, and yet she won the popular vote.

    And for 2020, Trump seems to be holding up rather well against all the male Democrats, while your theory would predict otherwise.

  11. Michael Cain says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Some of the state Republican Parties in the western states have not gone totally insane.

  12. Teve says:

    @Jim masculinity probly helps, esp in GOP primaries. We tend to pick the taller person too. But Gore and Hillary suggest there are other important factors.

  13. Mike from Arlington says:

    @Kit: I didn’t expect to go on this long, so a warning: wall o’ text below.

    I don’t mean to speak for Jim Brown, but I think he may be onto something. I suspect it’s a question of being attracted to strength and there’s a large component of this country who equate strength with masculinity, even toxic masculinity.

    Many trump supporters seem think he’s a “tough guy” and a fighter, in part because they identify and connect with his sense of resentment and entitlement and he can put on an act to make himself look like a fighter (check out Ben Garrison’s comics for some truly bizarre examples). Another example is his recent rant against water saving toilets. There were some recent news stories about how men thought recycling made men feel that they’d be thought of as “gay”. For example:

    So he’s keying into that sense of conserving water as weakness/feminine which is why it’s popular, at least among his base.

    I also believe that this also is how to defeat him: the democratic candidate’s job is to make him seem weak to his base. Pierce that veneer of him being a “fighter”, and I suspect that his base will lose their fervor for him. They may still support him, but all we need is for them to be not motivated enough to go to the polls.

    Where it becomes difficult is that what I think of as “weak” and what a trump supporter thinks of as “weak” are different, sometimes wildly so, making the job of the democratic candidate even more difficult. When we see him do something racist and we call it that sends a message to trump supporters that trump is fighting back against “elites” and “liberals. So calling him racist isn’t just ineffective, it’s counterproductive, at least when it comes to causing him to lose support from his base.

    However, what might work is pointing out his ineptitude, that he relies completely on McConnell for all of his accomplishments, that all he does is whine and complain about how unfairly treated he is, that he’s being laughed at by world leaders who don’t take him seriously, that Pelosi runs rings around him, that most of his policies have gone nowhere and those that have aren’t working (like his trade war with China or his negotiations with North Korea or Turkey/Syria). I think this is the solution because it shows his base that he isn’t fighting effectively for them, and that’s in large part why they like him.

  14. Guarneri says:

    A real lawyer opines:

    “The decision by the Supreme Court to review the lower court rulings involving congressional and prosecution subpoenas directed toward President Trump undercuts the second article of impeachment that passed the House Judiciary Committee along party lines…

    That second article of impeachment charges President Trump with obstruction of Congress for refusing to comply with the congressional subpoenas in the absence of a final court order. In so charging him, the House Judiciary Committee has arrogated to itself the power to decide the validity of subpoenas, and the power to determine whether claims of executive privilege must be recognized, both authorities that properly belong with the judicial branch of our government, not the legislative branch. The House of Representatives will do likewise, when it votes to approve the articles, as the chamber is expected to do so Wednesday.

    President Trump has asserted that the executive branch, of which he is the head, need not comply with congressional subpoenas requiring the production of privileged executive material, unless there is a final court order compelling such production. He has argued, appropriately, that the judicial branch is the ultimate arbiter of conflicts between the legislative and executive branches. Therefore, the Supreme Court decision to review these three cases, in which lower courts ruled against President Trump, provides support for his constitutional arguments in the investigation.
    Even if the high court were eventually to rule against the claims by President Trump, the fact that the justices decided to hear them, in effect, supports his constitutional contention that he had the right to challenge congressional subpoenas in court, or to demand that those issuing the subpoenas seek to enforce them through court.

    It undercuts the contention by House Democrats that President Trump committed an impeachable offense by insisting on a court order before sending possibly privileged material to Congress.

    The first article goes too far in authorizing impeachment based on the vague criterion of abuse of power. But it is the second article that truly endangers our system of checks and balances and the important role of the courts as the umpires between the legislative and executive branches under the Constitution.

  15. Slugger says:

    I am curious what people think about Putin’s support of Trump.
    Personally, since Putin said it I think that 1. he means it, 2. he means the opposite and is creating a deliberate transparent fake, 3. Putin has a nefarious plan that I am not smart enough to understand.

  16. Teve says:

    @Slugger: Putin is white, nominally christian, and puts gays in jail. White evangelicals like him a lot more than they like most of their fellow Americans.

  17. sam says:

    Is it too much to ask, Drew, that give a fucking citation/link?

  18. mattbernius says:

    Ah the intellectual courage of not providing links or actually feeling confident enough to say who the “real lawyer” is…

    Surprise, it’s noted Trump apologist Alan Dershowitz writing an opinion piece at The Hill:

  19. Kurtz says:


    Tell ya what, Drew. How about I concede Dershowitz’s argument here if you concede his argument about repealing the 2A and granting some animal rights? You down?

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Some of the state Republican Parties in the western states have not gone totally insane.

    You can count on Republicans doing the right thing. But only after there’s been enough publicity about doing the wrong thing.

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: Good article on Starbucks and conservatives. Examples of how desperately conservatives need to feel oppressed. And an example of how stupid Rep. Pigmuck King is. We all judge truth by how a thing fits our worldview. That a Starbucks manager would order his staff to not say “Merry Christmas” seems obviously wrong, it is just does not feel like a thing a manager would do or Starbucks would allow. But Pigmuck bought it because he has a stupid worldview.

    Similarly, the outrage of a few months ago, that a barista wrote “PIG” on a cup just because the customer was a cop seemed unlikely, Your link explains the barista had known the cop for years and made a small joke, which the cop didn’t mind.

    I’m, I think, about as liberal as anyone, so let me take this occasion to wish all the front pagers and commenters (with a few exceptions, you know who you are) a Merry Christmas.

  22. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kit: You miss part of the point. This is not about the gender of the candidate. It’s about the gender of the message, narrative, and concepts of a Campaign. I would argue that Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard, and even Nikki Haley run masculine campaigns. HRCs campaign slogan was “I’m with her” and while I get that she won the popular vote, let’s not hand wave that she 1) over-performed in States a Republican had no chance 2) Underperformed in Purple States and 3) ran against the worst Republican candidate in history.

  23. Teve says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Kamala and Tulsi and Haley, huh?

  24. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    …there is a demographic out that that would go with Trump if the Democrats nominated Jesus.

    That would be the evangelicals.

  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    Mama Mia and Starbucks even removed the nipples from the image on the cups to appease these morons.

  26. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: Their schtick, manner, and political personas aren’t feminine at all. I believe it’s part of the reason why Harris got so little traction in the primary and was out before Iowa. Tulsi is a loon so there’s that. Haley has a legitimate shot to be a Republican nominee. She does play bean bag and is ruthless if she senses blood in the water. It’s how she could win Gov of South Carolina…probably the most evangelical, patriarchal of the southern states…and I am familiar with both Mississippi and Alabama.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Cain: @OzarkHillbilly: Washington State is overall liberal enough that the hard core “supply side/conservative opportunity society” schtick doesn’t resonate well here, so most of the time Republicans need to be pretty centrist to get elected even in Red State counties like the one I live in.

    As a practical matter in my county, one really has to elect Republicans to county and state office because they are the only ones with enough institutional experience to keep things running. And because the voters DO want things to RUN WELL, it keeps the conservative inclinations of our Republican office holders in check pretty well. With 6.8% unemployment even in the good times, the voters have little patience for wing nuttery and great need for an effective safety net.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Guarneri: I was wondering why you seem to have forgotten to link to the article. Seeing that the quote is from Alan Dershowitz, I now realize that rather than being the opinion of a “real lawyer” it is something slightly different.

    On the other hand, I can see that “A fawning Trump apologist opines” wouldn’t have carried the same weight, so I understand the elision. One could say it’s a perfect elision. Bigly.

  29. wr says:

    @mattbernius: “Surprise, it’s noted Trump apologist Alan Dershowitz writing an opinion piece at The Hill:”

    I hope he pulled his dick out of some underage girl before he started typing.

  30. Sleeping Dog says:

    Out finishing up my xmas shopping the AM gave me a chance to due a casual polling of the lawn sign primary here in Cow Hampshire. Mayor Pete is surging and may, have overtaken Tulsi as the leader in lawn signs. Bernie and Liz are holding steady and still no Biden signs to be seen. Did see 2- Amy signs though.

    Hopefully, Jen can give us an update from the north country.

  31. wr says:

    @Jim Brown 32: “I would argue that Kamala Harris, Tulsi Gabbard, and even Nikki Haley run masculine campaigns.”

    In other words, you are saying that you are simply inventing a new definition of masculine and using it to prove that only masculine candidates win. Similarly I can prove that only Democrats win if I redefine Democrat to mean anyone who wins.

    Words are fun!

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    Only a few hours till the Winter Solstice where I live (37.672814, -89.232901).

  33. Teve says:

    Here on Earth Prime, Kamala and Tulsi ain’t winning shit.

  34. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: FWIW, I see a surprising number of Tulsi lawn signs in northeastern Mass. In fact, those are the only signs I see.

  35. Kurtz says:


    Nah, he dictated while he dictated.

  36. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @wr: Words are fun! And the change in meaning over time…just like the meaning of labels we use to brand political ideology. One thing is sure, there is no a candidate that has won the Presidency that did so without strong masculine themed messages.

    P.S. We’ve invented new terms to define gender…99% of culture is invented, defined, and redefined for the times.

  37. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: They had curb appeal. The internal layouts were wanting

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: No, that would NOT be the evangelicals.

    ETA: It took me a bit but upon rereading your comment, I withdraw my objection.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    One thing is sure, there is no a candidate that has won the Presidency that did so without strong masculine themed messages.

    OK, I’ll bite. While I will give you that their is something to what you say, what was Obama’s “strong masculine themed message”.

  40. Kathy says:

    Going to see Episode IX in an hour.

    After the last two weeks, I just hope I don’t fall asleep during the movie 😉

  41. Jax says:

    So I’ve been pondering a “local kerfuffle” all day, and I finally thought I’d put it to you guys.

    Somebody donated a beautiful elk mount to our little local library, and they proudly put it on the wall. Everybody seemed quite pleased with it, many thanks, etc etc.

    Until last night, when a former employee of the library system (who has since moved to Seattle), got all upset about it on Facebook and said putting it on the wall was “marginalizing minorities”.

    I do not understand. All of the grocery stores in a 100 mile radius have animal mounts on the walls, as do the hardware stores, the liquor stores, the bars, I think even the town hall has one.

    Do any of you have any insight into the mindset, here? What am I missing? Seems to me like a really dumb thing to get upset about, and “marginalizing minorities” seems like a real leap.

  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    Where are you in NE Mass??

  43. grumpy realist says:

    @Guarneri: You realize that the stuff you quoted comes from Trump toady Alan Dershowitz, don’t you? The guy who also hung around Epstein and has been accused of having the same attributes?

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: The key phrase seems to be “moved to Seattle” at least in my thinking. Hunting is not a thing there anymore from what I’ve heard (grew up there, moved away 30 years ago, never been back except to bury my parents). The marginalizing minorities thing may be related to some hipster notion that hunting is a sort of cultural misappropriation when people who are not Native American are doing it. That was starting as a fringe idea while I was growing up.

  45. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Essex County. Where the big gas explosion was in Sept. 2018. Right at the epicenter. Thar was a trip.

  46. Sleeping Dog says:


    So. Lawrence? Mt Vernon St area or Andover?

  47. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: . It was total mayhem. All 3 local fire departments had gone to 10 alarms by 4:30 p.m. that afternoon.

  48. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: She hated it when she lived here. I am offended that she thinks she can impose her way of thinking on our local library.

    I took all day to respond to her invitation to take it private. Her take is that libraries should be stable, sterile environments.

    Our local library is the hub of everything. They have after school programs, STEM programs, host art shows, paint and sips….if she were to succeed in making everything sterile, these kids in this town of 600 in BFE Wyoming would have no access to learning about other religion’s holiday celebrations, and everything the Wyoming State Legislature decided they couldn’t afford for curriculum. We would be stuck perpetuating everything that’s gone before us.

    It’s my job to chip away at ignorance.

  49. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Perhaps the biggest was when he said he was going to kill Osama bin laden and drive Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan. It doesn’t get more gangster than that. He also said he was going to secure the border, punish employers that hired illegals, and consistently called police p#$$ys for profiling law abiding people of color. Add that to images of him playing basketball, listening to Jay Z, and the distinctive “bop” in his walk….and you have a candidate that was primed for victory when viewed next to McCain..who is masculine as well but was old and in GWBs shadow.

    In order to frame something in a masculine perspective you have to brand it as bad, worthless, and/or incompetent..then attack or humiliate it. This is why Trump uses childish descriptors for his targets: crooked, failing, sleepy, enemy of the people, etc. Its best to have a specific person as a target but an institution is fine if you can use the right negative adjectives that will corroborate with peoples natural cognitive dissonance. If you go too abstract or general…like rail against “the banks” or “the insurance companies” it doesn’t have the same effect. Trump knows primal psychology and uses it to his advantage.

  50. DrDaveT says:


    John D. MacDonald is one of my faves. Who doesn’t like Travis McGee?

    Hear, hear.

    The Travis McGee novels were my first non-juvenile fiction, filched from my parents’ bookshelves and read in secret (until I figured out that they were happy to learn that I could read and enjoy books that far above my grade level). I am also quite fond of The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything (though it has not aged all that well), Condominium, and the classic short story “The Homesick Buick”. I never read Cape Fear; not my cup of tea, though I suspect it is very well-written. People do keep making movies of it…

    Of the Travis McGee novels, I don’t think I will ever re-read The Green Ripper. That one was too dark, even for McGee.

  51. Kathy says:

    I didn’t fall asleep during the movie. Thanks, I believe, to two cups of coffee drunk in the hour before I left.

    As third movies in a trilogy go, this one is probably the best in the SW saga, No spoilers, but there is no second, larger starkiller base protected by an energy shield.

    Later I may point out other issues. Right now, I want an explanation of 1) how fast the SW hyperdive is (I’m thinking it’s just slightly slower than the Stargates in Stargate universe), 2) how big this very far away galaxy is (Maybe it’s a small stellar cluster?)

    Oh, there was a trailer for the second Wonder Woman film. It looks really good, and it wasn’t better than the main feature 😛

  52. Kit says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    You miss part of the point. This is not about the gender of the candidate. It’s about the gender of the message, narrative, and concepts of a Campaign

    The danger of judging by a single quality, no matter how powerful that quality, is distorting every exception to fit within a procrustean framework. As they say, when all you have is a hammer…

    When you claim that so many women are running masculine campagnes, are you really latching on to agression, or perhaps just strength? And if so many Democratic women are giving off masculine vibes, is the real issue one of toxicity on the Right, and how that gets reinforced or undermined?

    Also, if I remember correctly, HRC was criticised for being too masculine. The time she showed a bit of emotion was considered a positive turn in her campaign.

    And a couple of random thoughts:
    * Kerry was, in my opinion, more of a man than Bush. I’ll grant you that the electorate has changed considerably since 2004.
    * I reckon that we still need a couple of generations before the typical high-level female politician will be out from under the expectations of rather simplistic alpha-male stereotypes.

  53. Kit says:


    As third movies in a trilogy go, this one is probably the best in the SW saga

    Not just to be contrary, but for my money this latest was the weakest of the ending trilogies. I didn’t feel a single moment of suspense. Not one. I’ll grant that there were nice moments, but so, so few. The film served up MacGuffin after MacGuffin just so the our heroes could finally arrive where they needed to go. Disappointed!

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Seems to me like a really dumb thing to get upset about, and “marginalizing minorities” seems like a real leap.

    That’s not a leap, that’s a rocket shot into oblivion.

  55. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I think you are reaching, especially when it comes to trump. trump is a caricature of every loudmouthed wannabe tough guy I ever came across on the streets of S St Louis. I’ve known tough guys, I mean really tough guys (and for the record, no, I am not one of them) and none of them ever said, “My lawyer can beat up you lawyer.”

    Obama never acted like a tough guy, he acted secure. He knew who and what he was and didn’t pretend to be anything else. (which is THE big difference between him and trump) Your interpretations of the things Obama said are a reach as well.

  56. Kit says:

    @Mike from Arlington:

    I suspect it’s a question of being attracted to strength and there’s a large component of this country who equate strength with masculinity, even toxic masculinity.

    I think you hit pretty much all the right notes. I do believe, however, that Trump’s strength takes a back seat to his toxicity. And that means shaming Trump will result in him losing votes, but not in his challenger gaining any: people who see their hero spanked will likely stay home.

  57. Teve says:
  58. CSK says:

    Trump isn’t a tough guy. The minute he opens his big, loud, stupid maw you know he’ a flabby weakling. It confounds me that anyone could think otherwise, though Cult45 clearly does..

  59. Sleeping Dog says:


    I can imagine. I have cousins who still live in that area, but just outside the effected zone. A woman my wife worked with did live in the area that went without gas service for, what a year? Fortunately she didn’t lose the house or belongings to the fires.

  60. Kit says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Re: How a New York Strip Club Explains Trump Supporters

    This line in particular struck me:

    But to the trolls, showing respect in person matters a great deal. However, while most people want to be worthy of others’ respect, the troll mentality thinks they’ll never be worthy — though deep down they wish they were — and therefore wants to force others to fake it.

    This elevates the bully to the pinnacle of human perfection, as the standard by which other cultural ideals are measured and found wanting.

    As a type, I’ve got no doubt that such people exist. But in what numbers? They strike me as being the aristocracy of the nihilists. Far greater numbers reside in one of two other camps:
    * the true believers who bow down before their misogynistic, racist leader;
    * those who recognise Trump as a POS, but a POS who appoints the right judges and passes the right laws.

    While several other types exist, the above two make up the most numbers.

  61. Teve says:

    this whole thread is good

    Twenty-five yrs ago, when my kids were little, I was a single mom on welfare. One Christmas, their presents were Christmas Cap’n Crunch & candy, bought w food stamps, bc that’s all I had. The next time you judge the person in front of you at the grocer’s, be kind.

  62. Teve says:

    @Kit: living in the deep south most of my 43 years, spite seems like a perfectly cromulent explanation.

  63. Teve says:


    President Trump tried out a fresh line of rhetoric on Saturday when he dubbed Hawaiian Senator Mazie Hirono “nasty, nasty, horrible” and “not the smartest person on the planet”

    Trump has a lot of Economic Anxiety.

  64. Kit says:


    living in the deep south most of my 43 years, spite seems like a perfectly cromulent explanation

    I have no trouble believing that spite is a likely factor throughout Trump’s big-tent coalition of deplorables, do you really think that spite is the driving factor in all of them? I think some people really like seeing kids in cages, for example. That’s the way they see the world and their spite just adds spice.

  65. Teve says:

    @Kit: i think racism is the biggest factor, but I’m just guessing.

  66. Kathy says:


    The film served up MacGuffin after MacGuffin

    And how!

    That’s one big issue. Another is how hard it seems to be to kill SW villains.

  67. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: Noted political scientist John Sides et al wrote Identity Crisis, the best analysis of the 2016 election I’ve seen. They think it was racism, and they’re not guessing.

  68. Kathy says:

    Damn, the IT department went and installed the SSD on my PC. I had told them, in writing and no uncertain terms, they had to preserve all bookmarks, passwords and settings in both Chrome and IE. they said they would.

    They didn’t.

    I do have some passwords for the most important sites written down(*), but tons of other passwords for other sites are lost. I’ll waste a huge amount of time next week hunting them down one by one, clicking the “I forgot my password.”

    How difficult is it to make an image of a hard drive and transfer it to a new drive?

    It may get bloody come Monday the 23rd…

    (*) I know you’re not supposed to write passwords down, but how else are you going to keep track of literally hundreds of them?

  69. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: that book is going on The List immediately.

  70. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I use a third party vault, Passwords Plus. I also have a scheme for generating unique passwords based on encyphering part of the site name. (The vault remaining necessary for passwords I haven’t updated since I came up with the new scheme and the sites with odd requirements that reject my scheme. Also a convenient single place for credit card numbers, account numbers, VIN numbers, and suchlike.) Probably wouldn’t slow the NSA down for two seconds if they came after me, but should thwart a hacker who managed to get one password.

  71. Kit says:


    I know you’re not supposed to write passwords down, but how else are you going to keep track of literally hundreds of them?

    I use 1Password, and my life is pretty much in there, not just passwords but scans of all my important documents. It warns users about weak passwords, reused passwords, and when sites have been compromised. You can find competitors at every price range, but if you take security seriously than you need to pay a living wage to people who can also take it seriously.

  72. Teve says:

    @Kathy: au contraire!

    Security experts like Bruce Schneier say Write down your passwords

  73. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: I haven’t seen it. Probably won’t until it’s on TV, unless the kids want to organize a Christmas movie expedition. Actually, Anikin, the whiny Jedi, killed the franchise for me long ago. WAPO has a good piece looking at the new one as a bad video game.

  74. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I use 1Password. Highly recommended

  75. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: Serendipitously, I just looked at VOX and found a Sean Illing interview that meshes with Identity Crisis.

  76. Kathy says:


    At work, we can’t install anything without an OK from IT, and then they will do the installation as they want(*).

    Chrome did a perfectly good job remembering all my passwords. they just made a clean Win10 install and lost everything.

    (*) Some of the IT policy is insane. We have these two programs for expense reports and supplier invoices, I call them Bluescreen and Bluescreen ][. Often I have to come to the office on weekends to finish such things. I asked if they could be installed in my laptop, so I could do them at home. they said yes, but they’d have to configure the laptop to be compliant with company IT policy.

    Hell no. It’s my laptop, not the company’s. So there’s no way in hell I’ll ever allow that, even if it means coming to the office on weekends.

  77. Kathy says:


    Don’t tell out IT department, but the password for my desktop office PC is written on a note taped to the lower left-hand corner of said PC’s monitor. It’s right above the password for the Bluescreen program 😉

  78. Kit says:

    1Password also has a web interface. In any case, I’m certain that you can find a solution that fits your budget and needs.

  79. Teve says:

    Google Chrome does an amazing cross-device job keeping passwords.

  80. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yes, it was bad. One young man in Lawrence, Leonel Rondon, was killed when the family home blew up and the chimney fell on the car in which he was sitting. Horrible tragedy. About 25 people were injured. Over a billion dollars worth of damage in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence. I was lucky; I had my electricity back by Monday, and propane gas service 2 weeks later. The natural gas service was restored in December.
    Eight thousand people, including me, had to evacuate that evening. It took 45 minutes to go 4 miles.

  81. Mike in Arlington says:

    @CSK: I wholeheartedly agree that he’s not just weak, but incredibly so. However, I believe that there’s a large enough contingent of the US population that interprets his behavior as “strong”, not “overcompensating”.

    Just look at the language he uses. He frequently uses words like “strong” and powerful, even when it isn’t exactly appropriate, like his “powerful wall” (walls can be powerful? Strong, I can buy, but “powerful”?)

    Trump is bad at so many things, it’s hard to remember that he is pretty good at branding and marketing. Remember during his inaugural speech how he kept repeating “America First”? It sounded odd, but that repetition helps solidify his message for people who are receptive to it (meaning not you and me). I suspect that’s what he’s doing (or trying to do) by frequently using words like “powerful” and “strong” (even when they aren’t exactly appropriate), he is reinforcing the message that he is strong for people who are receptive to his message. This is great for keeping his base in line, but not great for reaching out and increasing his coalition. And this is why I think this is what we need to attack and neutralize, by crafting a message that would be received by his base, which means that it may not sound right to us.

    As an analogy, think about anti-drug and anti DWI advertisements. I think it was on another thread in OTB (or maybe not, I can’t quite remember) that I read that the anti drug ads are frequently written and designed to appeal to the anti-drug constituency (meaning: heavy on the moralizing), not to the people who actually do drugs (or are vulnerable to wanting to do drugs). The problem is that ads that were actually effective at attacking the problem of drug use or drinking and driving or the like would likely not find support among the anti-drug warriors because they aren’t moralizing enough.

    We are in a similar scenario, the anti-Trump messages we want to use are either ineffective or even counter-productive to weakening his support. So we need to find another way.

  82. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: that was good.

  83. Kathy says:


    Actually, Anikin, the whiny Jedi, killed the franchise for me long ago.

    For all of us, too. the only way I can take Darth Vader seriously, is if I assume the prequels never happened.

    But let’s be serious: Star Wars isn’t exactly high art or worthwhile literature. Some of Star Trek is, if only because some episodes are bound to be given how many get made. 8 movies are a lot (no prequels), but the best SW I’ve seen was the animated TV series Rebels (I suspect there are some good eps in Clone Wars as well).

    The movies get a good line now and then, and that’s pretty much it. the best, IMO, is in The Last Jedi, when Yoda speaks of teaching and failure. It was even very well framed. Here: “Pass on what you have learned. Strength, mastery, hmm… but weakness, folly, failure also. Yes: failure, most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is.”

  84. CSK says:

    @Mike in Arlington: I think you nailed it here, particularly in terms of Trump’s word use.

    I have often wondered if Trump saw how well word salad worked for Sarah Palin and decided to imitate her. I recall vividly the time some illiterate sap on commented that she loved Palin because Palin didn’t talk like an “elete” (sic) but like a “real person”.

    Palin and Trump appeal to the same yokel demographic.

  85. Kathy says:


    My budget includes an absolute prohibition on spending as much as a penny on office materials or supplies.

  86. Gustopher says:


    For all of us, too. the only way I can take Darth Vader seriously, is if I assume the prequels never happened.

    Someone made fan edits of the prequels as silent movies, removing all the dialog and sound effects, adding some dialog cards, and trimming each down to 45 minutes. I think there was one story beat cut that shouldn’t have been, but even missing that, it utterly redeems the prequels.

    Yes, removing the dialog, removing the color, removing 70% of the runtime and removing random frames (makes the CGI look more like stop motion)… it improves the movies. Less is more in this case.

    But let’s be serious: Star Wars isn’t exactly high art or worthwhile literature. Some of Star Trek is, if only because some episodes are bound to be given how many get made. 8 movies are a lot (no prequels), but the best SW I’ve seen was the animated TV series Rebels (I suspect there are some good eps in Clone Wars as well).

    Clone Wars is really good after about the second season. And it’s episodic arcs, mostly, so you can just jump in there. There was a cell-animated Clone Wars that was also really good. Avoid the CGI Clone Wars movie — it introduces some new characters, but it will make you hate them.

    I have not seen the new movie yet (torn about whether I want to — I thought TLJ was an excellent ending). But, I might go later in the week. I hope our fine hosts create a thread on it, so people can chatter, because otherwise someone is going to get excited and spoil it without thinking.

  87. Mister Bluster says:

    I do not use my eMail address as a username for a bank account or my credit card account and selected other accounts.
    My passwords are different for each of the few accounts that I have. Bank, credit card, FB, Netflix…etc.
    For passwords I use combinations of former addresses. 123 Main Street is 123MS, 456 Central Avenue is 456CA, 789 South Street is 789SS, 321 Hooter Hollow is 321HH.
    I can mix them up for different accounts. Netflix password is 123MS456CA789ss.
    Face Book password is 321HH123MS789SS if they want a character is 456CA@123MS.
    Can I remember any of this? Not hardly. So I write them down. Sort of.
    I can remember the numbers if prompted correctly.
    When I write them down it’s like this:

    Netflix: xxxMSxxxCAxxxss
    Face Book: xxxHHxxxMSxxxSS
    Bank Account: xxxCA@xxxMS

    I have several 3digit, 2letter former addresses that I can use and along with upper and lower case and random characters I’m hoping to stave off the hackers. I also attempt to change the sequence of my passwords a few times a year.

    I check my debit card account every day and my credit card company eMails me if there is a new charge so I only check it two or three times a week.
    Several years ago, on a Saturday morning, a transaction showed up on my debit card account on my banks web site for a purchase at a horse tack store in Montana.
    I don’t own a horse and I’ve never been to Big Sky Country so I called Regions Bank Customer Service that Saturday morning. After minimal effort I was connected to a human, told them about the fraud and without question they removed it immediately. On Monday I went to my local branch and applied for a new debit card with a different number. That is the only time that I have ever had an unauthorized charge to any of my accounts.
    This all came down not long after I had returned from my Christmas drive to my brothers home in Southern California. I can only guess that since I had used my debit card for many sales along the eleven state route I travelled that somewhere along the line some mutherfvcker lifted my debit card number and thought they would stick it to me.
    How ever this all happened the Tack Store had my address and sent me an invoice wanting to know where they should ship the merchandise.
    Even after I called them and explained what happened I still received statements for a month or two.
    Fortunately none of this got on my credit report.

  88. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: FWIW, I think the arc of time is bending towards everything being accessible online. For the first time since I started lugging my 20-30 pound “Sewing Machine” Compaq computer home most nights, I don’t bring a work computer home. Almost everything I need to do is available online and through various apps

  89. Kathy says:


    Oh, both Bluescreen programs are cloud-based. Bluescreen ][ even runs on a browser only. But they also require additional software installed because of licensing issues or something. I have tried running Bluescreen ][ from home in the browser, and it’s no go.

  90. Matt says:


    I had told them, in writing and no uncertain terms, they had to preserve all bookmarks, passwords and settings in both Chrome and IE. they said they would.

    If you’re in a large deployment environment then that’s too much effort for IT. They most likely have “standard” images for specific groups and they just used that. It takes quite a bit longer to clone the original drive over to the ssd than it would if they just yanked the old drive tossed the SSD in and installed the image (if it didn’t already have the image on it). This also has the added benefit of removing anything you might of sneaked on there.

  91. An Interested Party says:

    He knew who and what he was and didn’t pretend to be anything else.

    That alone shows strength and confidence…exactly what is needed in a leader…

    @Teve: I’ll bet Hirono could easily kick Trump’s ass…

    They think it was racism, and they’re not guessing.

    In this country, it is probably a bit naïve to not expect some kind of backlash caused by the election of our first black president…

  92. CSK says:

    Trump has decided he loves Tulsi Gabbard because she voted “present”.

  93. gVOR08 says:


    20-30 pound “Sewing Machine” Compaq computer

    We had one of those. Had to get the CRT display, monochrome, replaced after some years. The repair place asked what model Compaq. I had to reply I didn’t know, when I bought it it was just the Compaq. My wife had a sewing machine that really was lighter. As someone at the time commented, portable meant not in high orbit, set in concrete, or attached to large diameter piping. My wife lugged it back and forth to grad school and was the envy of her classmates.

    Cost as much in nominal dollars as my current high end, solid model CAD capable laptop.

  94. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    So many guys want to be alphas but the best they can manage is beta or gamma if there is such a thing. I’ve always been able to pull off the alpha schtick but avoided it because if you play alpha you attract betas and I don’t like followers. Playing beta to an alpha gives these guys a contact high. They feel more manly when they’re standing beside the playground bully adding the occasional, “Yeah, you show ’em, Alpha Dog.” Contact testosterone. Vicarious balls.

    And what can one say about an alpha who actually gets off on being seconded by weak men? I’d say he’s a fraud, a fake alpha. A real alpha has no need of toadies. A real alpha is sickened by men who’d be toadies.

  95. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    No question.. Trump is the guy who will piss on your leg and want’s YOU to tell him its raining…while he smirks to his buddies and says, “Hey fellas, screw face here says its raining… hhahahhaha” He doesn’t respect these people at all…but I actually think the feeling mostly mutual. These types of people concept of respect is transaction and mostly contingent on how useful you are to them. Trump needs votes…they need a disruptive force inside of government to own libs make government work against people of color. Once either party has outpaced their usefulness…one will disavow the other.

  96. Kathy says:


    If you’re in a large deployment environment then that’s too much effort for IT.

    I know simple solutions are too much effort for out IT dept.

    The details would take too long, so I’ll just explain what happened when a supplier invoice got stuck in the Bluescreen software:

    I asked them to do something simple, essentially reset the process so I could start over. They said “no, try this.” I tried “this,” and it failed to work. So I asked again, and again they said, “no, try this instead.” repeat about five times, over two months (I have other work). eventually someone showed up, took over my computer for two hours, and then went and called IT to ask them to reset the process so I could start it over.

    That worked.

    I think I spent the rest of the day muttering “no jury would convict me.”

  97. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: I cannot recommend that book. 300+ pages of telling you what you already know, with statistics that sound shoddy but aren’t (they casually reveal that a study is longitudinal after referencing it a dozen times, which shores up a lot of issues I had with it, etc.)

    It’s an article padded to book length, and the writing isn’t gripping.

    Unless you really, really want to be sure that Trump dragged out racists, rather than just relying upon inference from his racist supporters… it’s skippable. Maybe there is something awesome in the second half that I missed.

    I recommend dumping it from the list and adding something that doesn’t just tell you what you know.

    I recommend “I Contain Multitudes” (all about the bacteria you share your body with), or “Uninhabitable Earth” (what you know about global warming is a best case scenario).

    Or “The Guinea Pigs” by Ludvik Vaculik (man lightly tortures his family pets while his job lightly tortures him), or “My War Gone By, I Miss It So” by Anthony Lloyd (heroin addict becomes war reporter in Bosnia). Or Emily Wilson’s translation of “The Odyssey” (a woman translating it makes a huge difference…), or “The Song of Achilles” by Madalliene Miller (the story of Achilles and Patroclus *swoon*…)

    Or even some fluffy YA book about kids living under a dome cut off from the world…

    Maybe I just read too slowly to enjoy having all of my assumptions confirmed, but I want books that expand my world rather than validate it.

  98. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I don’t know how things are in Mexico City, but up in the US where qualified people are hard to find the company would give you a laptop. They might take away your company desktop or whatever, but if they want you to work extra hours, the hours would be portable.

    It is also up to you to say “no” and put limits on things or make things happen. “I’d love to do that, but I can’t because have to spend this weekend making chili for a cute boy/girl/enby/cat… if you got me a laptop, I could do it while stirring…”

    Again, this advice might not cross borders.

    (Also, one of my friends is told at every job that he shouldn’t speak in meetings, so maybe I live a charmed life where I get to speak in meetings, and people want to keep me)

    (I’m more of a “this is a shitty thing that’s going to affect my life, can’t we just tell one of the youngsters that it would be good for their career, or it’s an opportunity for greater recognition or something?” kind of guy… but, if you’re already doing the work, doing it comfortably would be better)

  99. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t like followers.

    Uh-huh. Isn’t half your job cultivating followers?

    Anyway, my doctor wants me to drink less, and I have a very large liquor cabinet of unopened bottles of single cask scotches that I will never finish in my lifetime (not single malt, single cask)*. If you do a book tour that takes you to Seattle, let me know, and I’ll bring you a bottle or two.

    *: it’s more of a pantry than a liquor cabinet. I expect my lifetime to be another 30 years.

  100. Teve says:

    It’s an article padded to book length

    that’s my last favorite thing in a nonfiction book.

  101. Teve says:


    I recommend “I Contain Multitudes”

    Okay you need to put Her Mother’s Laugh on your list.

  102. Michael Reynolds says:

    No. It’s not.

    If I wanted ‘followers’ I’d still be on Facebook where I left thousands of them when I deleted my page. And I’d be on Instagram, which I’m not. I’d be keeping up my YouTube channel, which I don’t. I’d be engaging on Goodreads, which I rarely do. I wouldn’t abandon websites as soon as I have them created.

    I would not have spent a decade arguing to my publicists that book tour is a huge waste of money and a time suck. (Eventually they agreed.) I’d be hanging out at 826. I’d be listed at a speaker’s bureau. I’d be doing panels at NCTE and BEA and Comic-con. Instead I’m an outcast in YA precisely because I pick the fights I know will lose me followers because I think it’s the right thing to do.

    I’d be openly involved in political organizations which in one case I largely founded, instead I remain anonymous to everyone but the couple of guys running it. You have no idea just how deep I could dive into the whole thing, or how many people want me to, or with what regularity I say ‘no.’

    In fact, if ‘followers’ were a significant part of my job I’d write stuff more likely to bring me more. Instead I write dark, morally complex stuff devoid of romantic triangles, easily-accessible characters or predictable plot lines. It’d be closer to the truth to suggest that I am pathologically averse to easy popularity. In fact that self-destructive refusal to pander or lead has cost me a great deal of money over the years.

    I stay on Twitter because it’s the absolute minimum I can do to keep my publishers happy. And most of that is pushing politics on kids who give a shit less.

    I don’t think you get me, Gus. I don’t lie. Used to, used to a LOT. I don’t anymore.