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:

    Via John Cole:

    From the Brig to Mar-a-Lago, Former Navy SEAL Capitalizes on Newfound Fame
    After receiving presidential clemency, Edward Gallagher has left the SEALs to become a pitchman and conservative activist.

    A year ago, Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was wearing drab prison scrubs at a brig near San Diego, facing murder charges that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life. Now he is modeling his own lifestyle clothing brand, endorsing nutrition supplements and positioning himself as a conservative influencer with close ties to the man who helped clear him — President Trump.

    As Cole notes:

    It wasn’t always this way, was it? People used to have some shame, right? Like, William Calley didn’t launch a cologne brand or something and I just missed it, right?

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The mobbing of a US embassy has historically served as an emblem of America in decline, so the scenes around the embattled mission in Baghdad are a fitting end to the decade.

    Tuesday’s events are not quite as decisive as the 1975 helicopter evacuation of the embassy in Saigon, or the seizure of the Tehran embassy four years later. Iraqi forces did turn up eventually to protect the Baghdad mission. It turned out the ambassador was on holiday anyway, so he did not have to endure the humiliation of a rooftop escape. But the demonstration of US weakness, after spending $2tn in Iraq, was plain for all to see.

    The rioters, organised by the Iranian proxy militia Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), brushed past Iraqi checkpoints, and there were members of parliament from the government bloc among them. Security forces who have had no compunction about firing tear gas canisters into the skulls of anti-Iranian protesters on Tahrir Square, stood by and watched molotov cocktails thrown at the US embassy. In its public pronouncements, the Iraqis put more blame on Washington than Tehran.

    For Iran, the embassy riot was the latest move in a deliberate strategy, to raise the costs of the US presence in Iraq and drive a wedge between the Iraqi government and Washington.

    The competition between the US and Iran for influence in Iraq would have escalated anyway as the threat from Isis declined. But the US effort to destroy Iran economically through its campaign of maximum pressure has meant the Iranians have nothing to lose.
    He was convinced that maximum pressure would bring Iran to the negotiating table as a supplicant, but instead it has added to the chaos.

    No one – almost certainly not even Trump – knows how he is going to respond.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Russians (thistle) are coming! Ambushed: 15ft tumbleweeds trap drivers and force Washington state road closure

    The state department of transportation used snow plows to clear the scene, a process trooper Chris Thorson said took about 10 hours. The road opened again at around 4.30am, well into 2020. Thorson said five cars and one 18-wheel semi truck were trapped. No injuries were reported.

    “People were still stuck at midnight and rung in the new year trapped under the weeds,” Thorson said, adding that troopers found one abandoned car trapped in the tumbleweeds at daylight. No one was inside.

    The incident was not without precedent. In California in 2018, for example, tumbleweeds shut down a whole town.

    Dawgdamned Russians.

  5. Michael Cain says:

    The NYTimes has noticed that anonymous drones are flying nighttime formations over rural eastern Colorado and western Nebraska. The FAA says that the drones appear to be following current regulations, but is investigating. Most speculation is around the oil and gas industry, either looking for good drilling sites, or testing some of the new natural gas leak detection technology.

  6. Teve says:

    @Michael Cain: {picture of William B. Davis}

  7. Teve says:

    Julian Castro says peace out bitches.

  8. Teve says:

    I made it through the entire year without arguing with a single rando moron.

    I think I’m gonna keep that up.

  9. CSK says:

    @Teve: It’s better for your blood pressure and sanity.

  10. Jax says:

    @Teve: Judging by the downvote, I’d say one of them is feeling left out. 😉

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @Jax: Yeah, it’s interesting that Teve didn’t specify who he included in the “rando moron” category but someone immediately assumed he was talking about them…

  12. LB says:

    Back in Open Forum #22, I came to ask for help with a marital issue – my wife had started a relationship with a woman. I took OzarkHillbilly’s and drj’s advice … therapists, counselors, not ever bad-mouthing my children’s mother to them, etc. I thank them for that early guidance when I felt I couldn’t talk to anybody else.

    Even with professional help, I struggled to make it through the dark times. But now we’re separated and headed for divorce, and hopefully my head clears and my heart heals. My wife determined she’s repressed or ignored her attraction to women for years, and she’s chosen to pursue her happiness. Her new partner also separated from her husband. It kills me that six kids in total have lost some stability in their lives, but we’re working together to get them through this.

    Regarding my wife’s sexuality, she insists it did change (look up “sexual fluidity”, it’s a real thing). And I’ve known her for decades, I agree it wasn’t always like this. This story kind of goes against the common narrative that people are born one way and that’s that.

    There are other more mundane parts to this complex situation, but I’ll leave it at that. I have learned some lessons along the way, and still need to figure out some other things and regain my confidence. I’ve been assured it will get better.

  13. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: 😀

  14. Jax says:

    News of the weird out of Idaho. Look at this guy’s face, it’s the stuff of nightmares! (pun intended)

  15. Sleeping Dog says:


    @LB, glad to hear you are getting on with your life and trying to understand what happened. Many of us are divorced and know how wrenching the emotions can be, but you experienced extra stresses. Keep supporting the kids and try to forgive your wife, it will be best for all of you.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @LB: I am happy to hear you are in a better place, even if it doesn’t feel much better. I remember when my ex and I finally got separated. It felt like the world had been lifted from my shoulders. It was still scary facing a very uncertain future, but my past life was finally certifiably dead and I could bury it knowing I had done all I could for it.

    Time heals, or at least you think of the pain less often. Give yourself time. It took awhile but eventually I became comfortable with myself again and who I had become. If I hadn’t gone thru that process, I wouldn’t have been been able to have an honest relationship when I finally met my 2nd wife.

  17. Bill says:
  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Life in the country. Our Miss Kitty killed a copperhead in our bedroom.

  19. Matt says:

    @Jax: Dude kind of looks like an evil Odo.

  20. Mister Bluster says:

    The price of one bagel increased by 27% at the local Panera for the New Year.
    They now cost $1.39/ea.
    At least the Wi-Fi is still free.

  21. Jax says:

    @Matt: I find myself fascinated by the story… he escaped from jail, then somebody killed him and chopped him up and left the pieces all over?! Who? Why didn’t they say anything, surely there was a reward for capture? And what the hell happened to his head?! I don’t really want to be out on an adventure in an Idaho cave and take even the slightest risk of running into his mummified head, he was scary looking while alive!

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Bagels (at least good ones) were always $1.59 to begin with where I live. Yesterday, my friend bought me a spro and a bagel with cream cheese for just under $7 before the tip.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Damn, I can get the same for under $2 if I do the work myself (not that I would, espresso is way over rated).

  24. Mister Bluster says:

    The cup of dark roast mud (black, no sugar) at the Panera is still $1.89, free refills…so far.
    However the 30cent increase for the bagel is going to cut into my $13/mo net increase in my Social Security that is allocated to the legal weed now available in The Prairie State.
    I may have to spend more time at MickeyD’s where the all you can drink senior coffee is only 88cents.

  25. Teve says:

    When I was in the Panera in Lake City Florida on US 90 this morning I literally wondered if the coffee in other paneras was also worse than coffee found in a dumpster behind a truckstop. Or if there was something special about this one. This isn’t the 1970s. People aren’t growing robusta beans anymore. There’s absolutely no excuse for McDonald’s having good coffee and Panera having garbage.

  26. grumpy realist says:

    Just watched a very good made-for-video performance of La Cenerentola with Frederica von Stade as Angelica and a tenor I had never heard of before–Francisco Araiza as Prince Ramiro. Directed by Ponnelle, but he’s treating this straight rather than the, um, rather weird Marxian interpretation he did of Wagner’s Ring–the Rhine Maidens diving down the chutes of a hydroelectric power plant?!

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..Or if there was something special about this one.

    Must be the ‘gator piss in the water supply.

  28. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Bagels (at least good ones) were always $1.59 to begin with where I live.

    Good bagels cannot be had for any price where I live. When friends visit from the east coast, I have them bring bagels.

  29. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: no, that’s what makes the good bagels, not the terrible coffee.

    The best bagels I have had in a few years we’re from Florida, where NYC Jews go to retire. Better than the current crop of NYC bagels put out by their worthless children.

  30. de stijl says:


    I once awoke with a impulse to urinate, stumbled into the bathroom and there was a chipmunk in my toilet.

    Stuck. It couldn’t scramble out. Cute as a button. I did not want it in my house.

    She or he was doing no active harm to me, but it had to be gone.

    I freaked initially. Shut the lid and put my fire proof document safe on top to keep the lid secure. Thing weigh 10 pounds at least. Overkill.

    Eventually, I sorta got pissed at being invaded and emptied half a bottle of bleach into the bowl and then shut the lid and put the safe on in again.

    Ignored it for several hours. Ignored is the wrong word – decided I should not engage, is better.

    Eventually lifted the lid with crowbar in hand. Chipmunk was just sitting there like before, but the eyes were totally white. No iris, washed white. Creepy as fuck.

    I’d tortured a creature who wanted a drink of water.

    Which made me feel horrible, but also pissed. Just Goddamn die! You invaded my home. There was no way for this to peaceably end.

    Those bleached white eyes haunt me.


    Lifted the lid several hours later. Senor Chipmunk finally died mid afternoon.

    Then I had to extract the corpse, and picking up a dead animal is inherently unpleasant. The slackness. Put it in a bag, tie it up, toss it in the garbage bin.

    That was an unpleasant day.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl:

    Those bleached white eyes haunt me.

    They should! I recently found one floating in one of my buckets of water for the chickens. Pissed me off because I had to dump the whole 4 gallons and go get more. In the future, just grab it by the skin at the back of the neck, and take it outside. If it is tired, and sooner or later it will be, it won’t even try to evade or struggle.

  32. Teve says:
  33. Teve says:

    Someone asked me yesterday if I thought it was true that we are living in a simulation, and I told him I don’t, and it’s funny to come across this piece from Scientific American:

    Horgan: What’s your take on the proposal of Nick Bostrom and others that we are living in a simulation?
    Woit: I like quite a bit this comment from Moshe Rozali (at URL “As far as metaphysical speculation goes it is remarkably unromantic. I mean, your best attempt at a creation myth involves someone sitting in front of a computer running code? What else do those omnipotent gods do, eat pizza?”

  34. An Interested Party says:
  35. Guarneri says:

    “HATE HAS NO HOME HERE!” shrieked the violent antifa goon as he pulled the elderly man out of his wheelchair and beat him senseless.

    “WE’RE NOT THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” screamed the talking heads on CNN as they called for the doxing of the Covington students.

    “DOWN WITH CAPITALISM!” the Cadillac commie furiously typed on his MacBook Pro over the Starbucks’ free Wi-Fi while sipping his soy latte.

    “THE PRESS DOESN’T TAKE SIDES!” shouted the WaPo reporter as she posted a photo of herself and her colleagues celebrating “Impeachmas”.

    “THIS IS DONALD TRUMP’S FAULT” squealed Gavin Newsom as the homeless man dropped trou and took a huge dump in the produce aisle of the San Francisco Safeway store.

    “HOW DARE YOU!” snarled Greta Thunberg from the first-class luxury section of the train.

    “DIVERSITY IS OUR STRENGTH!” shouted the limousine liberal from his gated community.

    “WE SPEAK FOR ALL WOMEN!” proclaimed the Women’s March organizers as they disinvited the pro-life women.


    “THERE WAS DEFINITELY A QUID PRO QUO!” testified the diplomat who wasn’t there.

    “WE NEED MORE KINDNESS AND CIVILITY IN OUR PUBLIC DISCOURSE!” shouted the enraged woman wearing a ‘Fuck Trump’ T-shirt.

    “THIS IS WHAT A MALE FEMINIST LOOKS LIKE” hollered Joss Whedon, Matt Lauer, and Harvey Weinstein.

    “IMPEACHING DONALD TRUMP IS SO SERIOUS IT HAS TO BE DONE RIGHT NOW AND WITHOUT DELAY” insisted Nancy Pelosi just before she left for the usual congressional month-long vacation.

    “NOBODY NEEDS A BILLION DOLLARS!” bellowed millionaire Bernie Sanders from the living room of his 3rd house.

    “THERE IS NO DEEP STATE!” shouted John Brennan as he clutched the illegally obtained FISA warrant.

    “I’M A SERIOUS JOURNALIST!” exclaimed Rachel Maddow as she argued in court that her on-air statements were not intended to be interpreted as factual.


    “WE MUST DRASTICALLY DECREASE OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT!” bawled the climate activists flying around the world in their private jets.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party: I saw that and did not know what to say.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: Every word out of trump’s mouth is a blatant lie and yet you have no words of rebuke for him. The fact that you feel the need to scream just puts the lie to everything you said here. You are not a serious person, you are a clown and everyone, left and right knows it.

  38. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Just watched a very good made-for-video performance of La Cenerentola with Frederica von Stade as Angelica and a tenor I had never heard of before–Francisco Araiza as Prince Ramiro. Directed by Ponnelle, but he’s treating this straight rather than the, um, rather weird Marxian interpretation he did of Wagner’s Ring

    My exposure to opera on film is pretty limited (as are my tastes in opera), but I was immediately blown away by the Bergman Zauberfloete (Håkan Hagegård!). My favorites, though, are obscure Opera Theater of Zurich TV productions of the 3 big Monteverdi operas — Orfeo, Poppea, and Ulisse. I had known Orfeo already, but not the others. The trio of suitors in Ulisse are amazing.

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Mickey D’s has good coffee in Florida? What’s up with that? I thought the whole chain restaurant thing was about consistency across the nation.

    And why aren’t they sending the coffee they use in Florida to the PNW, too?

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Noah’s used to have good bagels. Did they go under in Seattle, too? I know the one where I live closed about 10 or 15 years ago.

  41. An Interested Party says:

    “LOOK AT ALL THESE LIBERAL LIARS AND HYPOCRITES!” screamed by some random fluffer for Donald J. Trump

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    Happy Birthday to me!
    Thanks mom.

  43. de stijl says:

    Found several new versions of When You Were Mine, yes my obsession.

    Tegan and Sara.

    Recontextualizes many key lyrics. Love it.

  44. de stijl says:

    Another version by Bob Mould!

    I know him and he is freaking awesome.

    Husker Du, Sugar, solo. So freaking cool.

    The loudest show I ever saw. It rattled my innards. My liver was resonating to Hoover Dam. Literally.

    First Ave back in the day…

    Anyway, there is a Bob Mould version of When You Were Mine. It’s actually the tour manager singing because he loves Prince. With Bob and band as back-up which is just so endearing.

    Your tour manager loves Prince. You talk him into going on stage and singing When You Were Mine while you and your buds back him up proper.

    So freaking awesome! I have good taste in friends.

    Seriously, Bob is such a mensch.

    Ta, lad.

  45. de stijl says:

    The Cyndy Lauper version. I did not know she did a cover way back when. Awesome cover, btw.

    I can tell you directly when and where that happened. I had not known Lauper did one. I knew her from her singles.

    She is indeed so unusual. (My phone changes Lauper to pauper everytime.)

    I had such a massive crush on Sarah. I could not tell if it was reciprocated. Perplexing.

    The very first time I kissed Sarah was in her first floor room of Manor Hall. This song was playing on her speakers. Walk in the front door, two doors down on the right north side. I was such a pup.

    I had not known Lauper covered it. I think I may have interrupted our kissing to blurt out “this is a Prince song” “yeah, I know” – she was way cooler than me.

    God, I was such a pup!

    So many many years later I hear Har Mar Superstar.

    Holy crap! I went to Har Mar cinema 4 whatever the name many times with Sarah way back when.

    The time lines are colliding!

    Har Mar Superstar. Cyndy Lauper. There is a coherent line. Fascinating, indeed!

  46. de stijl says:

    When You Were Mine has changed my life to the better repeatedly. Original Prince version to today. That is quite cool.

    Time after time.


  47. wr says:

    @Guarneri: “FUCK YOU” said every sane human being in the world after years of being trolled by a pathetic loser like you.

  48. wr says:

    @DrDaveT: If you ever have a chance to see Joseph Losey’s film of Don Giovanni, it’s pretty impressive…

  49. de stijl says:


    Your caps lock key is hereby revoked.

    Yes, at times it can be effective.

    Moderation in all things. All caps needs to be used sparingly when we have something important to say.

    Don’t just fling it about willy nilly. We are not savages. Save your powder for when it counts.

  50. de stijl says:


    Also, you have issues. Obsession.

    Greta Thunburg? REALLY? She is a kid. And your diss is she was on a train that exists in your head.

    Weak sauce. You can do better. Lay off attacking kids. Uncool at any speed.