Open Forum

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

The floor is yours.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Insanity Defined

    No matter who’s President, nothing gets done as long as Congressional gridlock and dysfunction persist.

    We cannot keep ignoring major issues, conducting sham executive oversight, or trying to develop unsustainable, one-party solutions to complex problems that will be overturned with the next change of power — It’s insane! Solutions exist. Legislators must be forced into real bipartisanship.

    There will never be real legislative bipartisanship as long as one party controls all legislative committees. Equal membership on committees and strict compliance with so-called “regular order” would force compromise and unbiased oversight.

    Amended Congressional rules, requiring an equal number of members from each party, could result in forcing bipartisan legislation based on research, investigation, agreed to facts ​& data, unbiased staff analysis, equal, fair, comprehensive expert testimony, media scrutiny and extensive public input and transparency. By the time legislation advanced to a floor vote there would be a broad bipartisan coalition of legislators, experts, interest groups and the public to force a positive outcome.

    Yes, it would be difficult. There would be temporary deadlocks, but eventual compromises would be reached. Compare it to what we have now!

    The fact that Congress cannot effectively deal with the most pressing issues of our time — infrastructure, health care, immigration, climate change, entitlements, etc. — is at the core of the public’s unrest with the political chaos and tribalism that exists. Additionally, objective, unbiased executive oversight is not possible under existing rules.

    It’s time to force Congress to change the rules and truly put “Country Over Party.”

    For additional information see my blog post.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The heat wave has abated. Looking at a high of 79 today. Of course we are also looking at flash flood warnings all over the place. And I have to make a long drive on back roads today. Oh joy o joy.

  3. Teve says:
  4. Teve says:

    Andrew McCarthy wrote an NRO piece saying no you stupid liberal media we don’t literally want to send her back

    Andy McCarthy
    No One Really Wants to ‘Send Her Back’ – my weekend
    column …

    and a thousand Twitter replies are filling up with Trumpers saying “are you kidding of course we want to send her back!!!”

  5. Guarneri says:

    @J.P. McJefferson:

    Accountability is not Congress’ strong suit. They avoid it like the plague, unless they are giving away free beer. It’s the cause behind the increase in executive power. Only the voters can change it.

  6. Guarneri says:

    I’m taking bets and making a book. How many people will Bernie layoff due to his $15/hr wage? Bernie’s economics lab 101. Who knew?

  7. CSK says:

    @Teve: Thar McCarthy piece was one of the feeblest I’ve ever read.

  8. Teve says:

    @CSK: I just love that he wrote a whole piece saying no our plebe voters aren’t just racist idiots, and 75% of the comments are his plebe voters saying YES WE ARE!!!!

  9. Teve says:

    If you see Trumpers on social media as often as I do you probably have the same question: why is “you’re” so hard? It’s like fucking kryptonite to them.

  10. Teve says:

    I haven’t deeply thought about this but it’s interesting:

    Tim Wise
    a day ago, 34 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter

    1/ If the Dems blow this election it will not be because they were “too far left on policy” or because they “weren’t left enough.” It will have little to do with policy at all. They are making a mistake caused by traditional consultant theory that does not apply here…

    2/ And by listening to influential pundits in liberal media who also don’t get the unique nature of Trumpism, relative to normal political movements & campaigns…this election is NOT going to be won by talking about all your “great plans” for health care, jobs, education, etc..
    3/ And the reasons are several…Let me begin by saying that I have experience confronting the kind of phenomenon we see in Trumpism, and far more than most. Any of us who were involved in the fight against David Duke in LA in 90/91 know what this is and how it must be fought…
    4/ So before explaining what the Dems are doing wrong right now, a little history…In 1990, white supremacist David Duke ran for U.S. Senate in LA, and in 1991 for Governor. He lost both times but both times he won the majority of the white vote (60 and 55% respectively)…
    5/ I was one of the staffers of the main anti-Duke PAC at the time & ultimately became Assistant Director. In 90, even though our Director Lance Hill, myself & a few of our founders wanted to focus on Duke’s bigotry, ties to extremists and appeals to white racial resentment…
    6/ …after all, that WAS the issue–it was a moral struggle against racism–we had mainstream Democratic consultants who warned us against focusing too much on it. They said that “played into Duke’s hands” and allowed him to set the agenda….
    7/ So sure, we could discuss his ties to Nazis & such, but we shouldn’t make a big deal out of his contemporary racist appeals, per se, bc “lots of voters agree” with those appeals…they even encouraged us to talk about utterly superfluous shit like Duke paying his taxes late..
    8/ Or Duke avoiding service in Vietnam, or Duke writing a sex manual under a female pseudonym (yeah he did that)…although Lance held firm that we needed to talk mostly about racism, we did end up talking about some of that other stuff too, sadly…
    9/ I say “sadly” because doing that normalized Duke as a regular candidate. Attacking his generic character or bill paying habits (or even discussing his inadequate plans for job creation, etc) treated him like a normal candidate. But he was/is a NAZI…
    10/ And none of his voters were voting 4 him bc of jobs, or tax policy or support for term limits, etc. And none were going to turn on him over late tax payments, Vietnam, etc. Indeed throwing that stuff out there & downplaying the elephant in the room (racism) seemed desperate..
    11/ It allowed people to say “well if he’s really this racist, white supremacist, why are they talking about all this other stuff?” It actually undermined our ability to paint him as the extremist he was/is. And as a result, the threat he posed was not clear enough to voters…
    12/ And this didn’t just allow him to get votes he might not have gotten otherwise; it also depressed turnout among people who almost certainly disliked him but didn’t think he could win or would be all that big a deal if he did. In fact I recall convos with “liberals”…
    13/ …Who said they weren’t going 2 vote bc after all Duke’s Dem opponent was just a shill for the oil and gas industry, and that was just as bad, blah blah fucking blah…because some lefties can’t tell the difference between corporatist assholes and actual literal Nazis…
    14/ But we bore some responsibility for that because we got suckered into playing this conventional game and “not playing into his narrative.” Anyway, Duke gets 60% of the vote, black and white liberal turnout is lower than it should have been and Duke gets 44% of vote…
    15/ In the Governor’s race we dispensed w/ all that bullshit. We talked about Duke’s ongoing Nazism and the moral/practical evil of his racist appeals. We discussed how that moral evil would have real world consequences (driving tourists and business away, rightly so, from LA)..

    16/ Because it was wrong, and it was not who we wanted to be, and it was not who were were. We were better than that and needed to show the rest of the country that…
    17/ Now, did this flip any of Duke’s 1990 voters? Nah, not really. Indeed he got 65k MORE votes in the Governor’s race than the Senate race. But it was never about flipping them. We knew that would be almost impossible…
    18/ To flip Duke voters would require that they accept the fact that they had previously voted for a monster, and people are loath to do that. Our goal was not to flip them, but to DRIVE UP TURNOUT among the good folks, many of whom stayed home in 90…
    19/ And that is what happened. The concerted effort of the anti-Duke forces (not just us), challenging Duke’s “politics of prejudice,” and making the election about what kind of state we wanted to be, drove turnout through the roof…
    20/ 28,000+ registered on one day alone, between the initial election and runoff (which Duke made bc of the state’s open primary system), with tens of thousands more overall: most of them, anti-Duke folks…
    21/ When it was over, Duke had gotten 65k more votes than in 90, but his white share went to 55 (from 60) and overall to 39 (from 44) because the anti-Duke turnout swamped him…So what does this have to do with 2020 and Trump? Do I really need to explain it?…
    22/ First, trying to flip Trump voters is a waste of time. Any of them who regret their vote don’t need to be pandered to. They’ll do the right thing. Don’t focus on them. That said, very few will regret their vote. They cannot accept they voted for a monster or got suckered…
    23/ Duke retained 94% of the folks he got the first time out (and got new people too), as Trump likely will. So forget these people–or at least don’t wast time tailoring messages to them. And policy plans for affordable college don’t mean shit to them, nor health care…
    24/ Their support for Trump was never about policy. It was about the bigotry, the fact that he hates who they hate…Second, as for the “undecideds.” …Not many of these but seriously? If you’re still undecided at this point about this guy…
    25/ Then there is almost no way to know what would get you to make up your mind…I doubt it’s a plan to deal with Wall Street though, or infrastructure, or tax policy…
    26/ If anything, I would say crafting an argument that this is an existential crisis for the nation–and making it about Trump’s bigotry and who we want to be as a country, would be far more effective in inspiring them to make up their minds…
    27/ And what I know for a FACT is that this message–that Trumpism is a threat to everything we care about and love about this country–is what will inspire the Dem base to vote…and THAT is what this election is about…
    28/ I’m not saying the Dems don’t need policy ideas, but focusing on wonky, look-how-much-I’ve-thought about-this stuff is not going to move the needle in 2020…
    29/ What the left never understands is: we need to stop approaching elections like the goddamned debate team, and start approaching it like the right does, like the cheerleading squad…
    30/ The right knows psychology and we know public policy and sociology…great. The latter does not win elections…
    31/ People who say the Dems should ignore Trump’s race baiting because its some genius political strategy calculated to distract us, are idiots. He is no genius. And if you downplay it you NORMALIZE him. If you make this about policy, you NORMALIZE him. He is a racist…
    32/ He is a white nationalist. He is an authoritarian. He and his cult are a threat to the future of the nation and world because of their hatreds. His movement betrays the country’s promise. THAT is the message that will drive turnout. Not debates over marginal tax rates…
    33/ Or how we are going to fund schools…And anyone who says we should ignore the race baiting to talk more about Mueller and Russia is an even bigger fool…that’s like talking about Duke and late tax payments or other corruptions…it might all be true but is not the point…
    34/ Not to say the House shouldn’t impeach over that stuff. They should. But the 2020 candidates must craft a message that is not about that. Trumpism is the threat to America, more than Putin. And Putin didn’t birth Trumpism. Conservative White America did…

  11. Tyrell says:

    The Cascadia subduction zone – fault line area is very active and more unstable. People living in the area should take heed and consider leaving.
    The Next Cascadian Megaquake May Be Sooner Than You Think
    By Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer Live Science

  12. Teve says:

    Chinese investment in the United States has fallen 90%

    Growing distrust between the United States and China has slowed the once steady flow of Chinese cash into America, with Chinese investment plummeting by nearly 90 percent since President Trump took office.

    The falloff, which is being felt broadly across the economy, stems from tougher regulatory scrutiny in the United States and a less hospitable climate toward Chinese investment, as well Beijing’s tightened limits on foreign spending. It is affecting a range of industries including Silicon Valley start-ups, the Manhattan real estate market and state governments that spent years wooing Chinese investment, underscoring how the world’s two largest economies are beginning to decouple after years of increasing integration…

    For years, Chinese investment into the United States had been accelerating, with money pouring into autos, tech, energy and agriculture and fueling new jobs in Michigan, South Carolina, Missouri, Texas and other states. As China’s economy boomed, state and local governments along with American companies looked to snap up some of those Chinese funds…

    Chinese foreign direct investment in the United States fell to $5.4 billion in 2018 from a peak of $46.5 billion in 2016, a drop of 88 percent, according to data from Rhodium Group, an economic research firm…
    But the decline in investment could hurt areas that are already economically disadvantaged and that have become dependent on Chinese cash. States like Michigan have increasingly wooed Chinese investment, resulting in new factories and jobs in a part of the country that has struggled to recover from the Great Recession.

    Craig Allen, the president of the U.S.-China Business Council, said the loss of Chinese investment would be felt predominately in rural states where Chinese investors have bought factories and revived struggling businesses.

    “The not-so-welcome mat is out, and it is having a deleterious effect on relatively poorer areas in the United States that need jobs,” he said.

  13. Slugger says:

    @Guarneri: Interesting question. I have always claimed to be the only person on the internet who doesn’t know anything about the economy, and the relation between employment and minimum wages is one of those areas. I took an introductory course in econ in college and did poorly. I do remember the supply/demand curve, and I thought that it governed the relationship between wages and employment; this made a lot of sense to me. However, over the years the actual correlation has not been clear. When Seattle led the $15/hour drive a few years ago, we were told that unemployment would result. Hasn’t happened. The overall experience is not clear.
    Whenever there is a bit of data supporting the classical view, it is touted on conservative websites with so much fanfare that my b.s. sensors are triggered. Almost everything in our life is heavily influenced by factors other than pure free market forces. Healthcare is 18% of our economy, and clearly government rules in the form of regulations, licensing, etc drive costs up. A gallon of vodka would probably cost about two dollars if that market wasn’t heavily regulated. Why shouldn’t the guys at the bottom of the economic scale get a little benefit from government interference; everybody else does. Besides, in stable dollar terms the minimum wage has not kept pace.
    Again, before any of you tell me that I’m dumb, I stipulate that.

  14. Stormy Dragon says:


    I hope that includes Chinese investment in our media, which is becoming increasingly creepy. It was pointed out that in the newly released trailer for Top Gun 2, that Cruise was wearing something that was clearly intended to look like his leather jacket from the first movie…. except that the Taiwan flag patch has been replaced, no doubt to please Tencent, the Chinese-owned conglomerate that is one of the producers for the film.

  15. @Tyrell:

    There was an article about this back in 2015 in The New Yorker. It clearly seems like the Pacific Northwest is not ready for what could (and at some point will) happen.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Slugger: And speaking of Seattle: Laboratories of democracy: what Seattle learned from having the highest minimum wage in the nation

    The city adopted a $15 minimum wage four years ago. Here’s what happened.

    When the policy went into effect in 2015, Seattle’s minimum wage became not only the highest in the nation, but likely the most studied. A group of researchers at the University of Washington, with support from philanthropic groups, have been examining the effects of the wage increase on workers’ hours and take-home pay as well as business closures and the price of some goods like groceries.

    What the researchers have found over the last few years is quite a mixed story.
    But a year later, the team published another paper that complicated their findings. They looked at the same time period and same wage increase, but this time broke down the actual take-home pay of workers. They found that workers who were already employed at the low end of the wage scale in Seattle “enjoyed significantly more rapid hourly wage growth,” following wage increases in 2015 and 2016.

    Those who were already working more hours before the wage increase saw “essentially all of the earnings increases,” while the workers who had fewer hours saw their hours go down, but wages go up enough so that their overall earnings didn’t really change. They theorized that a slowdown in new hiring for low-wage jobs could explain their earlier findings that overall payroll had gone down.

    Ultimately, workers already employed either saw their take-home pay go up or stay roughly the same while working fewer hours.

    A lot more at the article, including some criticisms of the study.

  17. CSK says:

    @Teve: And do not forget “there,” “their,” and “they’re.”

  18. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: I have come to the conclusion that this is correct: Trump’s base is going to turn out in force to vote for him because he is a racist pig who promises to make America white again. The evidence for this is now overwhelming. Successful opposition will appeal to the rest of America to prove that the white supremacists are not an actual majority in this nation.

    The gloves are off. Trump (with the help of Fox News) will convince his base that the Democrats want to force them all into communist gay marriages with brown people. Opposition needs to be explicit that this is what he is doing, who is helping him, and what will happen if he wins.

  19. Teve says:

    @Slugger: conservatives love economics 101 because it tells them some simple things that reinforce their beliefs. What they don’t seem to understand is that economics progresses a good deal beyond 101. Shit even in 101 you can’t just say Durr higher wage equals fewer jobs Durr because you need to consider things like elasticity. Economics 101 arguments are a great way to support basic conservative ideas that just don’t happen to work out in reality.

  20. gVOR08 says:

    @DrDaveT: Nobody’s going to get their mind changed. As always any more, it’s a turn out fight. Last time around Ds stayed home because Hillary had it in the bag. Anyway, what difference does it make, Trump’s a successful executive, he’ll pivot to the middle, bothsides. He won’t have that going for him this time around.

  21. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: there’s a good meme going around Facebook right now:

    Trumpers: we’re not opposed to brown people we just want them to come here legally.
    (A brown person comes here legally and gets elected to congress.)
    Trumpers: “SEND HER BACK!! SEND HER BACK!!”


  22. gVOR08 says:

    @Slugger: Jared Bernstein has a piece at VOX, What economists have gotten wrong for decades. “that the minimum wage will only have negative effects on jobs and workers” is one of four things he lists. The others are:
    – that there is a “natural rate of unemployment” below which inflation will accelerate
    – “that globalization is a win-win proposition for all”
    – “that federal budget deficits “crowd out” private investments”
    Bernstein further points out that it is probably not coincidence that all four misconceptions favor the wealthy.

  23. Jen says:


    “We’d have ads, too,” says a Bush aide, “and I think you can count on the media to fuel the thing big-time. Even papers that supported Gore might turn against him because the will of the people will have been thwarted.

    Oh, lo, what simple times in the past…

  24. SenyorDave says:

    @Teve: I read the McCarthy piece and it was surreal. Part “you people (libs) can’t take a joke”, part “she deserved it” and part “this is the big leagues and if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen”. I saw some footage of his rally, and as one of the hosts (I think it was Doug) said it seemed like the two minutes of hate from Orwell’s 1984. Many of Trump’s followers hate these people, and they want them out of the country, off the planet, whatever. And it doesn’t matter if they came here legally, many of them just don’t want non-whites coming to this country.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Here’s where we see the vapidity of the modern Conservative mind. These arguments are about whether a small number of people did slightly better or slightly worse, on average, while conceding that low wage workers as a whole benefited. Contrast this with the economic Armageddon the Conservatives predicted before it was enacted. However, they completely ignore their woeful failure yet demand to be taken seriously on their next “Sky is Falling!” panic. Sure, one day the sky could fall, but that doesn’t make them worth listening too. Stooped clock being right twice a day and all that.

  26. MarkedMan says:


    Nobody’s going to get their mind changed. As always any more, it’s a turn out fight.

    One of the times Hillary Clinton got caught speaking an inconvenient truth was when she told the Black Lives Matter crew trying to pin her down that they were wasting their time trying to win hearts and minds. Laws matter. Regulations matter. Court rulings matter. Work on that.

  27. michael reynolds says:

    Al Franken regrets quitting the Senate. A number of Senators who pushed him out, now regret it. And the ‘charges’ against him, already paper thin, have largely melted away in the light of day.

    It was a moral panic. It was an injustice. It was politically stupid. All things I said at the time. The notion that all accusers should be believed was always a suicidally stupid position to take, an unjust, un-American position to take.

    Obviously I agree with the genuine goals of #MeToo – I am a #MeToo – and that is one of the reasons this upset me. Because it was inevitably going to be exposed as, and increasingly seen as, an injustice done to a good man purely to serve the demands of a Twitter mob, and that hurts #MeToo and protects actual offenders.

    There is a deep strain of intolerance in the famously tolerant far left. It’s wrong, it’s unjust and it hands great piles of ammunition to our foes. Extremism in pursuit of justice is a contradiction in terms.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Lived in this zone most of my life. At my age, it’s not important to move away to “save myself.” And, the next jumbo jet crash may happen sooner than we realize, too.


    If anything, I would say crafting an argument that this is an existential crisis for the nation–and making it about Trump’s bigotry and who we want to be as a country, would be far more effective in inspiring them to make up their minds…

    And if it isn’t more important, well that’s important to know. It’s possible that we’re just a fwked up society. I hope not, but the track record of my generation on making societal life decisions is not good.

  29. RWB says:

    I am surprised that Paul Krassner’s death went unnoticed here.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Fortunately, we’re a post industrial service economy that doesn’t need any increase in factory jobs because the service sector is making the right people wealthy enough.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: Franken resigned because he expected the next shoe to drop — and then it didn’t (because it didn’t need to). He’s now doing a media tour to rehabilitate his reputation.

    Yes, there was a rush to judgement against him. But he confirmed that with his resignation.

  32. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Sure, the PNW will be flooded in a tsunami, and everyone will die. But the alternative is to live somewhere hot and humid or bitter cold.

    I’ll take the short, temperate life.

  33. Teve says:

    A Louisiana police officer suggested in a Facebook post last week that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) should be shot, mocking her as a “vile idiot.”

    On Thursday, Gretna officer Charlie Rispoli wrote that the congresswoman “needs a round, and I don’t mean the kind she used to serve,” according to, which first reported the remarks.

    The comment was written in response to a phony news article Rispoli shared that falsely accused Ocasio-Cortez of saying, “We pay soldiers too much.” On Wednesday, fact-checking site debunked that story as a fake.

    Asked by for a reaction to Rispoli’s now-deleted post, Chief Arthur Lawson called it “disturbing,” but did not see it as a threat.

    Yeah I’m a little guilty of nut-picking here, but I am concerned that the conservative media bubble is causing broad and lasting brain damage

  34. An Interested Party says:

    Good grief! Republicans are the worst sore losers in the world…in addition to extreme gerrymandering and overturning voter-approved ballot measures to expand the vote, now they are turning to bogus recall efforts when they lose elections…

  35. DrDaveT says:


    Nobody’s going to get their mind changed. As always any more, it’s a turn out fight.

    I think that’s what I just said…

  36. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: and here is the Wonkette response to that Franker Was Wronged article:

    Al Franken is still rich, white, alive, and generally beloved. Don’t try to sell him to us as Willy Loman. … Gillibrand doesn’t have to answer for shit. She’s not responsible for Franken’s choices.

    … Tweeden accused Franken of using her as prop for his humor. Everything else Downey describes is also consistent with a sexual harasser. Mayer boasts of “fact-checking” on Twitter, but she mostly speaks with Franken’s friends who either dismiss Tweeden’s concerns (“To get offended by that sounds ridiculous, like fourth grade”) or keep telling us how much Franken loves his wife, which has fuck all to do with whether the the alleged incidents took place.

    … And some might think Gillibrand forced Franken to resign prematurely, but if she has that kind of power, she ought to try it out on Republicans. Start with the senator from Kentucky! (Either of them, really.)

    … If everyone wants to jump on the Franken got a raw deal bandwagon, they should encourage him to run for president. Everyone else is doing it.

  37. Kathy says:

    On other things, after a rather long dry spell, last week I managed to straighten out parts I through IV of a short story, called “Ours,” as well as finish parts IV and V, and half of part VI. about 1,200 words all told (though I’m not sure 12-15,000 words still qualifies as a short story).

  38. Guarneri says:


    I’m not going to say you are dumb. Rather you are simply uninformed about theory and empirical fact.

    People simply can rarely charge more than the perceived utility. Examples are legion. Soda taxes, near state border sin taxes, yachts (yacht tax) everyday products of myriad types…….and labor. Only switching costs and sticky elasticity break the rule.

    The other factor to consider is prevailing wages. High in Seattle or New York. Low in Peoria IL The market has dictated $15 plus in Seattle. Not so in Peoria. And when the enforced wage is higher than the market wage employers either lay off, reduce hours or automate. Bernie’s staff is having its hours reduced. Bernie just wants the issue. He doesn’t want to live by the reality.

  39. Guarneri says:



    I’m not going to say you are dumb. Rather you are simply uninformed about theory and empirical fact.

    People simply can rarely charge more than the perceived utility. Examples are legion. Soda taxes, near state border sin taxes, yachts (yacht tax) everyday products of myriad types…….and labor. Only switching costs and sticky elasticity break the rule.

    The other factor to consider is prevailing wages. High in Seattle or New York. Low in Peoria IL The market has dictated $15 plus in Seattle. Not so in Peoria. And when the enforced wage is higher than the market wage employers either lay off, reduce hours or automate. Bernie’s staff is having its hours reduced. Bernie just wants the issue. He doesn’t want to live by the reality.

  40. SenyorDave says:

    @Kathy: If you want to share it, would love to read it when it is finished.

  41. Kathy says:


    Hell, yes. Thanks! I’d appreciate some constructive, or destructive, criticism.

  42. DrDaveT says:

    Dear moderators, there seems to be something wrong with the site functionality for viewing articles that have fallen off the front page. The oldest post on the home page at present is from July 17 (“Ronald Reagan v. Donald Trump on Immigration”). If you click the “Read All Posts” button, the most recent post shown is from June 19. More insidiously, if you click on an author name to get a list of posts by that author, those also show nothing more recent than about a month ago.

  43. Jen says:

    @Kathy: You’re in novella territory with that word count, for which there is a decent market. Or so I’m told.

    The only short stories I’ve had published were in the 3-5K range.

  44. michael reynolds says:

    That doesn’t even rise to the level of weak tea. WTF does Franken’s race and wealth have to do with it? I’m astonished you’d show this to me. It confirms my position, not yours. There was no crime, here. There was no assault.

    And she was used “as prop for his humor?” By a professional comedian, you say? Gee, really? Ever been to a comedy club? Sit in the front row at the Comedy Store sometime, maybe you’ll be a comedian’s prop.

    This was a big nothing that got caught up in a legitimate issue and because the case was unjust from the start, undercut that legitimacy. Injustice to Person A is not the antidote to some other injustice to Persons B-Z. It’s a pity, because had not Gillibrand leapt to the fore of the mob she might have been an excellent presidential candidate.

    Leaning forward? Good. Leaning all the way into injustice? Stupid and wrong.

  45. DrDaveT says:


    I’m not going to say you are dumb. Rather you are simply uninformed about theory and empirical fact.

    Setting aside the question of whether “informed about theory” is a plus or a minus in this field, it seems that you are no more informed about empirical fact than Slugger is. The history of research in this area has produced ambiguous results, and the latest best research does not confirm the predictions of naive theory:

    The study finds that minimum-wage increases occurring over more than three-and-a-half decades resulted in higher wages for low-skilled workers, with no reduction in low-wage employment five years out. This was true overall, and separately for younger workers, less educated workers, and minorities. Low-wage workers saw a wage gain of 7 percent after an increase in the minimum wage.

    Furthermore, the authors find that higher minimum wages have positive effects (what economists call “spillovers”) for a wide range of lower-skilled workers, including those who make up to $5 an hour more than the new minimum. A higher minimum wage boosts these workers’ wages as well, and without causing any additional unemployment or damage to the economy. However, the spillover benefits mainly accrue to incumbent workers (those who had their jobs before the minimum-wage increases were put in place) and not to new workers.

    Dube and his co-authors caution that these findings hold for minimum-wage increases up to about 60 percent of the prevailing local median wage. After that point, increases may be economically counterproductive, although this remains an open research question.

    The technical research paper is here.

    ETA: I will note that this is consistent with past research that did find a negative effect on overall employment levels 10 years after the change in minimum wage. Personally, I do not find that past research methodology to have convincingly controlled for other time trends, such as automation. This latest research also addresses the concern that Seattle and other large expensive cities are not typical; the new paper looks at more than 100 minimum wage hikes in a wide variety of localities.

  46. Kathy says:


    I’m nearing 10,000 words and have like three more scenes to go. It’s a parallel universe story, so I had to establish two characters and the kind of relationship they have, plus give a plausible, and I hope interesting, means for the protagonist to wind up in another universe. And that took up a lot of words.

  47. michael reynolds says:

    Depends whether you’re writing to sell or writing for yourself. There basically is no market for novellas. The way you get a novella published is by becoming Stephen King and then, after you’ve made your publisher a big bucket of money, saying, ‘Hey, publisher? I need you publish this novella.’ Other than that, are the old pulp sci fi magazines still in business?

    There are exceptions, but as a rule, to maximize your chances of getting paid by a publisher, you need to recognize that you are selling a widget, and they have rules about that widget’s dimensions.

    Get to 50k words and you have yourself a novel.

    BTW, my unsolicited advice:
    1) Know the market.
    2) First works, you play by the rules, or close to.
    3) Be meticulous in prepping the ms. and the submission.
    4) Target wisely. If you’re writing a sci fi epic you don’t go looking for an agent who specializes in religious-themed stuff.
    5) Don’t have your friends read it. Your friends are irrelevant. Two people need to read your ms. after you: your agent and your editor. They are the market. And they won’t lie to you to spare your feelings.
    6) Read it out loud to yourself. You’ll hear things you won’t read.
    7) Don’t weigh yourself down with expectations. It’s not the book, it’s just a book.
    8) It’s not about the BIG idea, the concept, it’s about the ideas in every scene, in every character.
    9) If you’re doing this for a full time living carefully consider if it’s the life you really want. Not all, but most of us, are introverted, solitary, ambitious and ruthless about prioritizing work – in the absence of anyone ordering you to. No boss, no hours, no wage, no benefits and a very good chance that you might be working for zero dollars.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: It seems to me that you are in novella land. Maybe on a variety of fronts. The most telling to me are the length and the fact of being characters moving from one scene of action to another (short stories have traditionally taken place in one locale, but there are exceptions in SF). The need to develop characters and localities is another potential element.

  49. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Listen to @michael reynolds: . He’s paid for his work.

    I have had two short stories published and one flash fiction piece–not one of which was paid (although I did receive several nice copies of the publications in which each piece was printed).

    I do it for fun, and was part of a writers’ group for feedback. I listened to the published authors.

  50. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I think the best way to describe it is: Star trek episode. That is, survey ship, technological problem, character interactions, technological solution.

    Not that I ever imagined it as a Trek episode, but the idea of parallel universes was kind of popularized by Trek in “Mirror, Mirror.”

  51. Kathy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    BTW, my unsolicited advice:

    Thank you. That’s very helpful.

    Some pulp magazines are still around, and paying for manuscripts, at least Asimov’s and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

    I’m not sure what I’m doing. Writing has been an aspiration for a long time. I wouldn’t mind writing full time, but I don’t think that’s likely.


    9) If you’re doing this for a full time living carefully consider if it’s the life you really want. Not all, but most of us, are introverted, solitary, ambitious and ruthless about prioritizing work – in the absence of anyone ordering you to.

    That sounds good, and I have the introvert and solitary parts down 🙂

  52. SenyorDave says:
  53. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: Wonkette is about the level of response that article deserves — where the writer cherry picks the right wing nut job whose claims are the easiest to dismiss, and then spends 2/3rds of the article focusing on that. It’s a puff piece.

    Simple fact is Franken resigned. He didn’t have to, no one could force him to, but he chose to. I assume that it was because he didn’t want the other allegations to become public.

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I, too, have the introvert and solitary parts down. What I lack is the work ethic to write. I have (in the form of letters to friends) several hundred pages of memoirs from my teaching days in Korea but no particular desire to sort, redact, clarify, and embellish them into something.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Back in the 90s, I was working as a temp in the Women’s Fiction Department (Romance!) at one of the big publishing houses, and eventually I got the task of reading the first chunk of unsolicited manuscripts.

    The manuscripts had to be divided into three piles — someone should read this (can you identify a character or two by the end of the first chapter); no one should ever read this (if it contained the phrase “scepter of his manhood”, it was automatically put in this pile); and someone should follow up with the local authorities (stories written by men about 14 year old girls coming of age with their step-fathers or a teacher or whatever).

    The running joke was that if “Lolita” came in, we would have to make copies — I’m hoping the use of “scepter of his manhood” there was a translator’s terrible flourish.

    So, if you get rejections, just remember: they give that first pass review job to any idiot who comes off the street.

    Also, a surprising number of romance novels are written by men, and they send their wives out on promotional tours and book readings. The wives complain to the publishers that their husbands don’t understand women in the real world, burping and farting too much, and never doing the dishes.

    (One of the things that ended up in the “someone should read this” pile was a novel that started with bored housewife watching her shirtless housekeeper Latino man washing dishes during a heatwave, the sweat glistening on his skin… I don’t know if it was ever published. It had some troubling racial issues, but some people like that.)

  56. Gustopher says:

    @Gustopher: eh, while sharing random stories…

    A few years ago, I was working for a book review site that shall remain nameless (I don’t particularly want to name it, but I kind of don’t care…) and we were doing usability testing on a new feature.

    We brought in dozens of active users for this testing, making sure the feature was something that would interest people, and each one of the test subjects managed to mention that they were working on a novel.

    I’m now convinced that everyone has a novel in them. Sometimes it’s a terrible novel, and they desperately need it to come out.

    Mine is named “The Trilobite Trilogy”, and it is awful. I’ve also been considering a children’s book called “Gus And The Enchanted Busboy” (for children ages 22-23), and a series of books for tiny children called “I Regret To Inform You…”.

    For instance, the “I Regret To Inform You…” picture book about Christmas might read…

    I regret to inform you that you will be getting only coal,
    You tried to be good but fell short of that goal.

    We then went to Santa to plead for your case,
    He scowled and he yelled “get out of my face!”

    We recognized our mistake and appealed to his better half,
    But Mrs. Claus simply told us to take it up with the staff.

    So, we went to the source and spoke to the elves,
    But they said they were keeping your toys for themselves.

    We spoke to the accountant about Santa’s famous list,
    He said it was improbable that anything was missed.

    We went to the reindeer and one of them bleated,
    “This happens every year, someone gets cheated.”

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: That’s really pretty clever. It doesn’t scan well enough, but that’s fairly easy to fix. It also may not be long enough for a picture book, but I don’t know how long they are these days.

  58. Matt says:

    @Guarneri: Yes some of Bernie’s staff are having hours reduced. Those staff are paid a fixed salary so reducing their hours means less work for the same money. Fox news and crew are being extremely dishonest with this. Leading with the “BERNIE IS CUTTING STAFFER HOURS TO PAY $15 AN HOUR” then burying the fact that the staff are salary and working +50 hours a week. With the “cut” hours they are limited to 43 hours a week. That’s a huge win to me because those staffers generally work +50 hours a week.

  59. Guarneri says:

    “Again, by all means his opponents can, if they so wish, ridicule, caricature, and blast Trump and hope he fails. But after trying for nearly three years to destroy the president and prematurely remove him by any means necessary before a scheduled election, please do not appeal to the better angels of our nature—while deploring the new “unpresidential” behavior of Donald J. Trump for lashing out at those who sought to reduce him to a common criminal, pervert, traitor, dunce, and Satanic figure. VDH.

  60. Guarneri says:


    Silly spin. You guys can believe anything you want. Just know that min wage laws hurt the most inexperienced and most vulnerable in society, especially AAms Its a horrible and destructive policy.

  61. Teve says:


    Leading with the “BERNIE IS CUTTING STAFFER HOURS TO PAY $15 AN HOUR” then burying the fact that the staff are salary and working +50 hours a week.

    Fox news has as much respect for their audience’s intelligence as I do. 😛

  62. Teve says:

    It makes sense that the only news channel shown in Idiocracy is Fox News.

  63. Teve says:
  64. Teve says:
  65. MarkedMan says:

    @Guarneri: The arrogance of you Trumpers and Modern Republicans never ceases to amaze me. You expect your word stream to be taken seriously despite you and your team being 100% wrong about the effects of Seattle raising their minimum. Completely, totally wrong. So what comes out of your mouth today has no worth, no value. Your team has shown that you will say whatever pops into your head and learn nothing when it (as is usually the case) turns out to be wrong.

  66. Teve says:

    The party that brought you “if we give more of the money to rich people, it’ll trickle-down to you” and ‘there is no housing bubble, that’s just liberals trying to hurt Bush’ and “trade wars are good and easy to win” also brings you “raising the minimum wage is always bad for poor people.” 🙂 😛 😀

  67. DrDaveT says:


    by all means his opponents can, if they so wish, ridicule, caricature, and blast Trump

    Another lie. It is easy to ridicule or blast Trump, but impossible to caricature him.

  68. MarkedMan says:

    @Gustopher: If you read Franken’s book (“Giant of the Senate”) you will see that he actually talks quite a bit about the things that prevented him from getting into politics. Stuff like typical “edgy” humor from the 1970’s through the 1990’s with jokes and skits about abortion, drug use, homosexuality, and on and on and on. He seems almost astonished when advisors told them a campaign didn’t necessarily have to turn into an endless justification of why he contemplated putting a Lesley Stahl rape joke into Saturday Night Live. But despite his success the book reveals he never got over that dread that his political enemies could put up literally hundreds of hours of embarrassing video and interviews with him saying and doing things that a politician simply could not survive. You’ve obviously decided he’s guilty of all sorts of sexual assault and that’s your prerogative, but there are reasons other than guilt that he might have felt he couldn’t survive an ugly attack, especially since his own party wasn’t willing to give him the opportunity to tell his side of the story.

  69. wr says:

    @Jen: “He’s paid for his work.”

    Apropos of nothing, this is one of those great English sentences that has multiple and radically different meanings based on context… in this case all created by the fact that we contract “he is” and “he has” with the same word.

    I guess I’ve been thinking about this stuff because I’m finishing up a series for a Beijing-based producer, and everything I write gets translated immediately into Chinese. I keep thinking I should throw in the phrase “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana” to see what happens…

  70. wr says:

    @Teve: And don’t forget “deficits are the worst thing in the world and will destroy the country, except when we’re in charge.”

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    But after trying for nearly three years to destroy the president and prematurely remove him by any means necessary before a scheduled election,

    Dude! You’ve overdosed on kool-ade.

    (And as to appealing to “the better angels of our nature,” I understand you don’t got any, so I, at least, would never make that mistake.)

  72. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: @DrDaveT: I think that the anger leveled at him may be wasted. He’s really overdosed on the kool-ade. He actually believes the sh!t he’s saying. He truly is, in the words of the Current Occupant,

    Sad. Pathetic.

  73. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: The FrankenFans are almost as annoying as the BernieBros, and there’s more than a touch of misogyny in the way they focus on Gillibrand. Not saying that you are carrying that torch, but just that the FrankenFans have basically poisoned the well.

    Franken was replaceable, and he was replaced. He continues to live a relatively charmed life. If this was a travesty of justice, it was basically the tiniest travesty we have ever seen.

    “Senator Franken wasn’t denied anything,” Gillibrand said at a Mic/Bustle Digital Group town hall event in Manhattan on Monday. “It’s his decision and his alone whether to wait out his ethics committee hearing, whether to wait for his next election. The decision I made was whether or not to carry his water and stay silent. And given eight allegations, two since he was senator, and the eighth one being a congressional staffer, I couldn’t stay silent.”

    And, if he really did resign because he was afraid his very public past would be used against him (which it already had been in his first campaign, and was then a nonissue with everyone other than the far right), then he shouldn’t have run for office in the first place. I doubt this theory, though, because most of it was examined and thrown at him before.

    Franken’s political career is as dead as Gillibrand’s presidential aspirations. Both will be fine, and neither of them is worth it.

  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Great article. Two snips:
    Best snark: “Administrative costs are about twice as high in America as in Canada, and there’s little evidence that Canada is suffering under a crisis of insufficient billing bureaucracy.”

    Best identification of the crux of the problem: “You can do this in a way where most people are paying less, but most people don’t know how much they’re paying now. That’s a big deal. And people’s status quo bias when it comes to losing their plans is big.” [emphasis added]

  75. DrDaveT says:


    Just know that min wage laws hurt the most inexperienced and most vulnerable in society

    That’s right, folks — just ignore the actual findings of the study, and believe the thing the GOP wants you to believe. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  76. MarkedMan says:


    He continues to live a relatively charmed life. If this was a travesty of justice, it was basically the tiniest travesty we have ever seen.

    This sounds like what you are saying is “Given his race and sex, it doesn’t really matter if his fate was fair.”

  77. Matt says:

    @Guarneri:Silly spin? What are you on? They are working less for the same money with a guarantee of not being forced to work heavy overtime with no overtime pay. There is no spin there that’s reality. What you’re trying to do is spin. You’re trying to claim he cut people’s hours thus implying that those people are getting less pay as a result which is false. Only the most partisan of asshole would look at this and say it’s bad. Going from +50 hours with some 60+ work weeks to a limit of 43 hours per week for the same weekly pay is a massively good thing. I know many a person who works for a salary pay who would LOVE that kind of limit. Generally they are listed on the books as working 40 hours a week but they work much more in reality.

    As for your question of “how many people are bernie going to have to fire to do this?” none that’s how many. He’s actually hiring a few more to pick up the slack of those employees not working an extra 10-30 hours a week.

    This right here has finally shown me how detached from reality you have to be in order to keep up your partisan attacks.

    EDIT : This subject in particular has been enlightening. I’ve had more than one person try to argue that working less with no forced overtime for the same pay is somehow terrible. It’s mind blowing how dumb people can be when they have to ignore reality in an attempt to score partisan points.

  78. Gustopher says:


    This sounds like what you are saying is “Given his race and sex, it doesn’t really matter if his fate was fair.”

    No, it sounds like I’m keeping some perspective. He’s wealthy, he’ll be fine. He also sexually harassed people, and had the misfortune to get called out on it and be from a state where his replacement would be a Democrat.

    Lots of people have paid less of a price for similar offenses (a price he voluntarily paid), but “he got away with worse” isn’t a great defense. But, even with paying that price, he’ll be fine.

    If the SJWs put him in a neck hold and choked him to death on a street corner after he slapped someone on the butt while he was selling loose cigarettes, then maybe he would be a worthy martyr to the disproportionate vengeance of the call-out culture.

    But, wealthy man agrees to quit privileged position to avoid facing the people who are accusing him of sexual harassment when it turns out its more than one or two and then has second thoughts… not a great martyr.

  79. michael reynolds says:

    Again with this?

    But, wealthy man agrees to quit privileged position

    You’re making yourself into a parody of a SJW. Let’s get a rich, white guy! Kill, the rich white male! Even if we have to destroy an ally! Because, um….

    WTF, dude? Is this really all there is to your politics? Envy?

  80. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds: Michael, I’m trying to find some way in which that was a reasonable response to what @Gustopher said — and failing. Seriously.