Open Forum

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

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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. Teve says:

    wapo columnist: Trump’s chances take a turn for the worse

    Opposition to gun control is about straight up Christian nationalism

    Just got 2 new books from the liberry

    Adrian Carrasquillo


    I truly think the scale of how horrified the Latino community is right now is not being understood, which is why the reporting about this moment is so important. So a quick story. I was chatting w/ a friend I met through the course of my work and she told me she had been crying.


  2. Teve says:

    Heather Havrilesky

    This is the most unhinged Ask Polly letter I’ve ever received, hands down.

    Ask Polly:
    My In-Laws Are Careless About My Deadly Food Allergy!

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Here’s a little leavening for the morning: Spanish police order man who threw fridge off cliff to drag it back up – video

    Put a smile on my face anyway.

  4. Teve says:

    what if Trump is just blind?

    Ashley Feinberg in Slate makes a decent case that Trump could just be half-blind.

  5. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    That would explain the shitty fake tan and the ridiculous hair-do.

  6. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: she makes a decent case that it explains half a dozen things.

  7. KM says:

    Some people don’t want to believe allergies can be serious. They think it’s people who don’t like certain foods are abusing PCness to get their way… which just goes to show how their thought process really goes. Parents get angry about peanut allergies because it takes away a quick lunch they can toss together and means they need to think a little bit more about what gets served to kids. I’ve heard plenty of folks claiming “allergies weren’t a thing when I was a kid” – of course not, the kids were either kept separate from insensitive people like them for safety or just straight up died young. Chris Rock used to joke there’s nobody with a lactose intolerance in Rwanda. That’s because starving people with food issues would have died young just trying to get basic nutrition.

    I’m allergic to fennel – fairly rare allergy for a somewhat uncommon food here in the US. It is however used as seasoning in things like seafood or Italian so if I see the generic word “spices” I’m going to ask for safety sake. The server ALWAYS gets this “huh” look, never knows the answer to the question and has to go ask the chef. 60-40% on the chef not knowing either if it’s a pre-made spice mix. It adds time to our order, makes the server go back and forth and usually irritates whomever I’m dining with. Some restaurants are a no-go so of course they keep getting suggested by family /friends who think I’m “making this up” to inconvenience them.

  8. KM says:

    Snickers offering a million candy bars to move Halloween

    I love this – pure marketing genius. They know there’s no way in hell it’s going to happen so they’re literally promising free candy to millions as a stunt. How the hell would you even claim one? They gonna sent up distribution points?

  9. Kathy says:

    Today at El Paso, the media should ask Dennison only about his rhetoric, and point out how closely it matches the mass murderer’s manifesto.

  10. Teve says:

    @KM: when I was like kindergarten age I came within minutes of dying from anaphylactic shock from peanuts. I’ve never heard of a fennel allergy though. You’re probably just making that up. 😉

  11. Teve says:

    Yeesh DJIA down another 460 right now. Hope that reverses.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: So much winning…

  13. KM says:

    @Teve :
    LOL I got “lucky” in that I’m just allergic to that and not the whole food family. Allergies can happen in clusters – if you are allergic to carrots, you are likely to be allergic to celery, fennel, mugwort and weirdly peaches. Technically it’s the parsley family but I’m just fine with everything else. It’s only fennel. I’ve been told it’s ~4% of the pop for the food family but like >1% of that group for a single target allergy. Statistical anomaly for the win!

    My sister, who was going through a neo-pagan phase at the time, informed me that fennel allergies are traditionally a sign you’re a witch. I guess they used to hang it by the door or something to keep them out. She hung some up outside her room as a “joke” but thank god the rest of the family gave her hell for that. They don’t me dead, they just want to be able to go to whatever restaurant they feel like 🙂

  14. Tyrell says:

    @KM: Think about this: some people are allergic to the ink used on newsprint and magazines. Some of the ink is made from tree bark.
    Some of the food allergies may be from wheat products.
    Why are we seeing more and more food recalls?
    Our state is seeing a big increase in snakebites. Almost all are from copperheads. While these can be serious, no one has died.
    How in the world do those tiny fire ants cause such pain?
    Watch for increasing solar waves of energy in the next few weeks. There is a huge storm on the sun.

  15. Jen says:


    “allergies weren’t a thing when I was a kid”

    Allergies were much more infrequent. The increase of allergies has been well-documented, and scientists are still trying to parse out why (most seem to be falling in line with the hygiene hypothesis, but still studying it).

    People who don’t “believe” there are deadly allergies are the WORST. That was a fascinating piece to read, but not that surprising. I have a friend who will tell waitstaff that she’s allergic to tomatoes, which is pure bullshit, she just doesn’t like them. That’s not cool either, frankly, because it makes some people believe that everyone’s just making it up.

    @Teve: Wow, she makes a pretty solid case.

  16. Kathy says:

    Not only are allergies dangerous, for some people it may take a very small amount of allergen to cause a terrible reaction.

    Many people ascribe any rash, runny nose, and irritated eyes to “allergies.” These are minor, non-dangerous reactions, far removed from anaphylaxis and other very deadly reactions. Also, a shot from an Epi pen doesn’t “cure” an allergic reaction, it only makes it more likely for the patient to survive long enough to reach a hospital.

    Seriously, people who purposefully and knowingly feed allergens to allergy sufferers ought to be charged with attempted murder. It’s really no different from feeding someone poison.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    LGM notes that Joaquin Castro tweeted the names of people in his district who donated the max to Trump (publicly available information). On the topic of “What’s wrong with FTFNYT?”, which disclosed donors to the Clinton Foundation, LGM notes that Maggie Haberman is furiously pearl clutching.

    I’ve noticed in other situations that for some people, especially country club conservatives, being an asshat is maybe not good but sort of acceptable, but mentioning that someone is an asshat is a horrible breach of etiquette. I wonder if her reaction says something about Haberman’s personality.

  18. Jen says:

    This piece in the Washington Post about foreign countries warning their citizens about tourism to the US is interesting. I frankly don’t blame them at all–I’m sure some are using this as maybe an attempt to get people to stay home and spend their dollars locally, others might be doing it for PR purposes. I do wonder what the long-term effect to tourism is going to be. If you’re from a Spanish-speaking country, it really would be a question.

    I’ve wondered in the past when reports of incidents pop up where ugly Americans start yelling at people to “speak English”–how do they know those aren’t tourists? Setting aside the fact that people should be able to speak in whatever language they wish to, it astonishes me that the immediate assumption is “they haven’t assimilated!” rather than “maybe they’re visiting.” It’s weird.

  19. Joe says:

    It is my understanding, Kathy, that poison ivy is simply an allergic reaction most people have. Strangely, I don’t have that allergic reaction and, while I don’t test it, I have come into contact with poison ivy several times in my life and never gotten the slightest itch or rash.

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Good advice, though. Myself, I wouldn’t waste the time mourning the loss of the relationship, though. It’ll be hard for her husband, but his loyalties need to be with his new family, not his old one.

    Looking at it from the parents’ side, they are part of the stupid segment of society that still believes that allergies, asthma, and the like are all psychosomatic/hysterical disorders, and if I had a nickel for every knothead who has told me “it’s all in your head” or “you only think you can’t breathe…” Deciding to put mushrooms in everything seems a little hostile to me, though.

  21. KM says:

    TBH, it *IS* consider a terrible breach of etiquette to point out one being gauche or breaking etiquette themselves if done in a public manner. The idea is saving face if possible – if you must correct them, you do so in a way that’s subtle and non-embarrassing to you and them. That’s why you don’t point to someone has TP stuck to their foot by yelling it across them room but quietly going over and letting them know the issue.

    That said, if one doesn’t accept the correction, you are allowed to address the issue more forwardly. Etiquette exists for those louts who refuse to take the hint and need to be dealt with firmly. You can embarrass people in public in a way Ms. Manner would approve of – frankly, there’s a lost art of it we need to be rediscovering. If you can’t get someone to stop picking their nose with a gentle hint, walk around offering snacks and then remark out loud to them that you hope your offering is tastier then the last thing your guests’ tongue had tasted.

    The GOP is well past the whole subtly bit so rock to the head it is. They won’t listen to reason, they won’t take the hint, shade wasn’t working so we’re now in the straight up “stop picking your nose in public, sir” territory.

  22. grumpy realist says:

    @KM: Allergies can also come on and then disappear. When I started living in Japan after a few years I became allergic to cedar pollen (we’re talking about LARGE amounts of pollen here–where you see the clouds hanging in the air)….then after a few years the allergy disappeared again and I never had any more problems.

    Fennel, huh? That’s a new allergy to me. Do you have similar problems with anise?

  23. Franklin says:

    I have a son with peanut allergies discovered when we gave him a PB&J sandwich around his third birthday. Ten years later and luckily the IgE allergy tests show a solid trend towards him outgrowing it, which is not very common for this particular allergy. We haven’t tried a peanut challenge yet but his doc suggests that the time is coming.

    Blah blah blah, I had researched this stuff a ton. I’m relatively confident (and I’m saying this without any medical training) that the increase in food allergies has something to do with how modern lifestyles affect our gut bacteria. Great sanitation and anti-bacterial soap, that sort of thing. In response, I’ve been feeding my kid a trickle of probiotics for the past few years. Is this part of the reason his trend is looking good? Of course nobody could possibly prove that, but it doesn’t appear to be hurting him.

  24. gVOR08 says:

    Via Atrios, Brian Beutler at expands on Beto O’Rourke’s “connect the dots” comment to explain what is wrong with FTFNYT and the rest of the supposedly liberal MSM.

    Today, before our eyes, Trump and his allies seek to crush the foundations of multiracial democracy and replace them with a white ethnostate where the ruling class directs violence at scapegoat communities to create the climate it needs to get away with looting the country and dismantling all checks on its power. If you can see that, and articulate it, you don’t ask what Trump might do to make things better, or say he “urges unity vs. racism.” If you can’t see it, or your job requires you to blind yourself to it, you must treat his ultimate purposes as an impenetrable mystery. You might explain away his efforts to end an investigation of an attack on the United States, and his coziness with the perpetrator, as impulses of a man who merely worries the Russia matter undermines his legitimacy. You might marvel at his occasional, scripted, disingenuous condemnations of all the forces he has fostered, and chase down Democrats to ask them if they think Trump is racist. But seriously: What the fuck?

    Beutler focuses too much on Trump to the exclusion of the rest of them, but I give him a lot of points for noting that the racism, much as they enjoy it, is not the point, just a stepping stone to the looting.

  25. KM says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker :
    A little hostile? It’s straight up telling her they intend harm. Even if they don’t believe she’s allergic, they know she believes it and considers it a threat. It’s pretty clear they hate her and have jumped on this issue to drive her away. If it hadn’t been this, it would have been something else but they happened to choose something that can get them charged with assault or worse if she gets sick.

  26. KM says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Yep. You know those Jingle cookies that come out around Christmas? My entire life, I thought they were spicy AF because my mouth would burn terribly and I’d get sick afterwards. Now I like my food hot but these would burn worse then extra-hot curry. Never understood why they were holiday cookies for kids until I commented out loud and got funny looks. Turns it they’re not spicy at all, I’m having an allergic reaction.

    My first “need an ambulance” reaction was to Holiday Spice Pepsi, made with “spices” aka anise and/or fennel. I drank a can in the breakroom at work, got maybe 15 ft before hitting the floor. I dismissed it as “don’t ever drink THAT again” but holidays seem to bring this cursed seasoning out so it’s in freaking *everything* from Thanksgiving till after New Years. I don’t touch chai or pumpkin spice either since they can be iffy mixtures. The holidays truly suck.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:


    poison ivy is simply an allergic reaction

    Yes, I too am immune to that allergy, but when I was young I suffered from extreme exzema (peaking in puberty). Same with my father, my little brother and my youngest son. I have always wondered if the 2 were connected. Seems likely.

    I have a severe allergy to aspirin, anaphylactic to the max. It’s kind of amazing how many medicines aspirin is in. If my wife ever decides to do me in, all she has to do is slip me a micky and by the time the ambulance got out here, I’d be long gone.

  28. CSK says:

    If Trump is vision-impaired, that could explain why he claims to see a 35-year-old when he looks in the mirror.

  29. Moosebreath says:


    And, as another LGM post notes, this pearl clutching is the precise opposite of the rationale of Citizens United:

    “Virtually all campaign finance restrictions are unconstitutional, but transparency will allow the MARKETPLACE OF IDEAS to hold donors accountable.” [Democrat criticizes maxed-out Republican donor] “Transparency is evil and criticizing people for their political violations is the end of free speech in America.”

  30. Moosebreath says:


    Trump is the embodiment of Groucho Marx’s quip, “You’re only as old as the women you feel.”

  31. Teve says:


    Ten years later and luckily the IgE allergy tests show a solid trend towards him outgrowing it, which is not very common for this particular allergy. We haven’t tried a peanut challenge yet but his doc suggests that the time is coming.

    my peanut allergy got a lot milder with time, to the point that I’m not threatened by it now.

    But nearly dying from it did something to my brain. My biologist friend Wesley told me the name for it, but I forget what the name is. Long story short, I don’t know what peanuts or peanut butter actually tastes like. If I get a whiff of it, or God forbid a taste, it just literally tastes like pain and itching and fire. People tell me they love it, people tell me it tastes great, I have no concept of what it tastes like because it simply tastes like burning pain to me. apparently there’s some kind of neurological phenomenon where your brain will rewire itself like that so that you avoid the deadly thing.

    Even weirder, I love peanut oil and have cooked with it many times. It doesn’t have the protein or whatever causes the allergy.

  32. Jen says:

    @Franklin: I recently read “An Elegant Defense,” which is about our immune systems (yes plural!). There is a growing amount of science that points to our gut being an integral part of our immune system, so your thought process behind probiotics is increasingly supported by data.

  33. Teve says:

    Just throwing this out there for people who might have unusual expertise:

    I love cheese. I’m a cheesoholic. If I inherited a fortune from an unknown deceased Uncle, the first thing I would do is drive to Publix and buy one of everything in that department. but although I didn’t think much of it at the time, maybe four or five times in my life I’ve eaten pieces of a hard cheese that left my whole sinus-mouth-throat area itchy. Now I’m wondering if it’s some obscure allergy to a particular mold or something.

  34. Jen says:

    @Teve: If you ever have that reaction again, make note of the cheese. It sounds like something that might have been added/rubbed onto the rind that could be the problem, maybe? Also, hard cheeses are often aged through a process that includes bandaging the cheese with cheesecloth. The cheese is rubbed with some type of fat (butter, oil, lard, etc.) and then the cheesecloth is wrapped around it, so that could be a factor.

    Odd allergy linking that I’d never thought of until it happened to a friend–she has a cashew allergy, and had a reaction at a restaurant. The place swore up and down that they’d followed allergen protocols. It turns out that the culprit was a mixed pepper blend–pink peppercorns are not technically the same family as black peppercorns and are related to cashews.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:


    I love cheese. I’m a cheesoholic. If I inherited a fortune from an unknown deceased Uncle, the first thing I would do is move to Europe.

    FTFY. I too love cheese, and if I had a rich uncle leave me a bunch of money I would at the very least take a long vacation in Europe. The last time my wife went home for a visit and I was unable to travel with, she asked me, “Is there anything you’d like me to bring back for you?”

    “Yes, as much cheese as you can carry.”

    FWIW (unless things have changed in the last few years) cheese is one food product you can bring back. There may be a limit on how much, but I never hit it.

  36. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: oh I would definitely spend a lot of time in Europe, but the first thing I would do is drive to Publix. They actually import real Parmigiano-Reggiano for instance. But it’s $20 a pound compared to $4 a pound for the Green Can 😀

  37. Teve says:

    Jen: wow I never would have guessed the peppercorn thing.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:


    real Parmigiano-Reggiano

    I wish to hell I could afford it. From time to time my wife goes to a Schnucks food market where they have a far superior cheese selection than the Walmart in town. If she wants to spoil me, she knows what to do.

  39. Stormy Dragon says:


    If you think that’s bad, check out the infamous Dear Prudence Visine letter:

    Turns out that mom-in-law really was tainting her food

  40. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: holy shit.

  41. KM says:

    Tell your friend to watch out for mangos, too. Same allergy group. Mango allergies are super-rare though so hopefully she gets lucky.

    As for the peppercorns, it’s kinda like tea – people hear “tea” and think it means Camellia sinensis but not always. There’s rooibos, chamomile, raspberry leaf and even coffee-leaf! A server’s not likely to have the deepest understanding of the ingredients and their interactions. I’d expect a chef to know better but you’d be shocked as how superficial most training on this subject is. It tends to cover the majors ones (nuts, fish, etc) but other then that, they really don’t know. If it’s a pre-made mix or substance they’re using, they’re reading the back of the box like we would….. and labeling is far from perfect. Too many things get lumped together since they’re considered minor or trace.

  42. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Teve:

    Bad news for both of you (actually, me too, I love cheese…I can go into Whole Foods with a very restricted list of just the items that I cannot get anywhere else and end up buying $60 worth of cheese.)

  43. grumpy realist says:

    Here’s your too-cute-for-words video of the day: a snoring hummingbird.

    (I’ve got a bunch of YouTube videos I watch when I want an attack of absolute cuteness and this is one of them.)

  44. CSK says:

    @Jen: But I thought trade wars were good, and easy to win.

  45. Teve says:

    @Jen: at the moment I’m broke so all my cheese is coming from Wisconsin and wherever the Kraft Sharp Cheddar factory is located. 🙂

    I read yesterday in the WSJ that China is now canceling all agricultural imports from the United States, to screw Trump voters. Too bad so sad.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: That DOES IT!!! This means war! trump is gonna pay for this travesty!!

  47. Jen says:

    @Teve: Both Vermont and New Hampshire have amazing artisanal cheese makers around, and we make a habit of purchasing cheddar from this place.

    Still, there’s nothing quite like many of the European cheeses–from real Parmesan to French Morbier cheese, to…dozens of other favorites. A 100% tariff on European cheeses is going to have one of two outcomes in this house: we’re either going to have to make cuts elsewhere in the budget, or both of us will finally shed a few pounds.

  48. Gustopher says:

    @grumpy realist: It turns out my cats are terrified of the snore of a hummingbird. They froze and then ran from the room.

    I feel a little guilty, but I saved that video. I may play it while cooking, or doing my PT, or going up and down stairs, or anytime I don’t want Underfoot to be underfoot.

  49. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: I refuse to believe that there is someone so afraid of seeming weak that he would not only refuse to wear glasses, but also pretend to be terrified of stairs to cover it up.

    (Also, a well chosen pair of glasses can make a person much more attractive. Face jewelry, and all that.)

  50. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: probably the high frequencies (although it’s questionable how much of that comes through YouTube + one’s computer’s audio system.) I used to have to run out of the building when my co-worker was doing ultrasonic levitation experiments….

  51. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: I didn’t get that he was pretending to be terrified of stairs, stairs could be pretty lethal for a 73 year old with bad vision. Dude eats McDonald’s and drinks 50 Diet Cokes a day, his bones could be as strong as particle board. One good slip and he might need a full skeleton replacement. 🙂

  52. Jen says:

    @Teve: @Gustopher:

    He is both incredibly vain and has weird ideas about his genetics being fundamentally superior–I could totally see him thinking that glasses are somehow an indication of weakness/physical imperfection.

    That said, I would think his golfing would be significantly impacted were he as vision-impaired as that article suggests.

    The steps thing has always seemed odd to me.

  53. Kathy says:

    About cheese, there are real cheeses, and heavily processed imitations often called cheese food. any real cheese is tastier than any imitation, but may not melt as well (depending on type).

    In Mexico real cheeses carry their name on the label, while imitations also have the word “tipo.” So while they look the same, Queso tipo Oaxaca is very different from Queso Oaxaca.

    Not all imitations are terrible. one of our suppliers makes an imitation Manchego which is tasty enough, and melts better. I’ve used it in my own cooking. But for eating the cheese by itself, or with crackers, as opposed to as a meal ingredient, it’s only so-so.

    So-called American cheese is barely cheese or even cheese food. IMO, it should be called yellow “cheese,” and the designation American cheese should be given to cream cheese.

  54. Gustopher says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I used to have to run out of the building when my co-worker was doing ultrasonic levitation experiments….

    I have no idea what that means, but I think I would also flee in terror if one of my coworkers started levitating things.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: He’s terrified of stairs and the proudly boasts of being an Islamophobe Xenophobe germophobe.

    And to be fair, the Germans are scary.

    It’s his whole excuse/explanation for why he didn’t hire underage Russian hookers to piss on a bed to privately spite and defoul the Obamas who slept in the same room years earlier. No one would believe he wouldn’t do that if it weren’t for his fear of germs.

    His belief in his strong, Aryan genes contrasted with his being dominated by fears would probably be fascinating if it wasn’t so tedious.

    Speaking of germophobia, is there a word for a fear that Deutchbank will release your financial information?

  56. Gustopher says:


    So-called American cheese is barely cheese or even cheese food. IMO, it should be called yellow “cheese,” and the designation American cheese should be given to cream cheese.

    Cheeze, with a z.

    I’ve long thought that the name “American Cheese” is a racial slur started by the Canadians, which Americans stupidly embraced not even realizing it was an insult.

    No amount of evidence to the contrary will convince me otherwise. I hold to this belief as a Young Earth Creationist holds to theirs, and to the Canadians I can only say “Well done, sirs, madams, etc.”

    Canadians: is there anything they can’t do better than us?

  57. Teve says:
  58. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: American “cheese” has always reminded me of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld comments about Ankh-Morpork chocolate and how it’s only the colour that keep neighbouring countries from (mis)classifying it as tile grout.

    Although there IS one good thing about “American processed cheese”. It makes great grilled cheese sandwiches.

  59. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Although there IS one good thing about “American processed cheese”. It makes great grilled cheese sandwiches.


    Here’s a cooking tip I’ve never tried. Spread mayonnaise on the bread first, and put in in the pan, or grill, mayo side down. Then keep doing the sandwiches with the fake cheeze (h/t Gustopher).

    The mayo side is supposed to brown nicely and make for a crunchy crust.

    I think it will stick to the pan and make a mess that will take time to clean up.

  60. Jen says:

    I think it will stick to the pan and make a mess that will take time to clean up.

    Nope–I’ve tried it and it works spectacularly. Mayo is nothing more than egg yolks, oil, and a bit of vinegar–it’s terrific to brown and create a crispy surface.

    Bringing things back to the allergy discussion, however–this food trick of the mayo for browning grilled cheese sandwiches is a fairly common in diners. Anyone with an egg allergy who orders a grilled cheese at a diner would be very, very wise to inquire about this.

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Well, it is true that “there’s no single cheese like Velveeta,” after all. 😀

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Only if you use reduced-fat mayonnaise. Good quality stuff has a fat content about on par with butter or margarine. The salt and other seasonings in the mayo also help flavor the bread.

    For a leaner version of grilled cheese, Korean’s make something called “toast sandwiches” (pronounced toss teh san deh wee chee) by greasing the pan with a slick of margarine (butter if you’d rather) and grilling the bread on both sides before adding the cheese (pronounced chee juh). Grilling the bread on both sides makes it hot enough to melt the cheese, particularly if you assemble the sandwich just after you turn the second bread slice to toast on the other side. Korean’s usually add ham, egg, and usually finely shredded cabbage and carrot, but there was a stand I used to go to when I was attending Yonsei Language Institute that put Denver Omelet slabs into the sandwiches. Mmmmm…

  63. Mister Bluster says:

    @grumpy realist:..American processed cheese

    All cheese is processed. It’s milk when it comes out of the cow and it is processed into cheese.

  64. An Interested Party says:

    This asshole and his insidious spawn are trotting out the false equivalency again…

  65. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I’m now hungry for a Denver Omelette grilled cheese, thanks very much. 😉

  66. Kathy says:


    I may try it someday.

    I like to cook, but I’d like ti a lot more if I didn’t have to wash pots, pans, bowls, and other implements afterwards. And that’s when nothing decides to stick to the pan for all eternity (like some pasta shapes did last week; tip: always cook the pasta separately).

  67. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Meanwhile, the Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a frequent inspiration to the president, attempted a bold gaslighting of his audience last night, arguing that white supremacy is not real.

    “It’s actually not a real problem in America,” Carlson said. “This is a hoax, just like the Russia hoax. It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”

    David Duke’s been tweeting his support for Tucker since this happened.

    David Duke
    Tucker is RIGHT! White Supremacy is a ZioMedia Conspiracy Theory! The term is itself a lie. Millions of White activists are NOT “supremacists” We seek NOT to oppress or destroy any race! Human Rights for all – EVEN FOR WHITE PEOPLE! Stop antiWhite racism!

    Trumpers are smart people with great values.

  68. Jen says:

    @Kathy: Same. My husband insists that if I’m doing the work of cooking, he can do the cleanup, and I am enormously grateful for that division of labor. He says it benefits us both, as his cooking, while completely acceptable and tasty, is not terribly varied.

    Off topic on an open thread: Why do Republicans have to experience things first-hand before they can empathize?

  69. steve says:

    Cheese snobs! Real men eat Velveeta.


  70. Gustopher says:

    Big ICE raid at a chicken processing plant. Hundreds of workers arrested.

    Arresting desperate people is just sad. Not letting workers leave until their cars were searched seems illegal. And, requiring people to carry their papers also seems illegal.

    But, the article isn’t all depressing:

    Trump resumed workplace raids, but the months of preparation and hefty resources they require make them rare. Last year, the administration targeted a landscaping company near Toledo, Ohio, and a meatpacking plant in eastern Tennessee. The former owner of the Tennessee plant was sentenced to 18 months in prison last month.

    Prosecuting the employers is good. There are very, very few things the Trump administration has done that is good, but this isolated incident was good. But I’m sure there is more too it, and context will make it awful — perhaps the owner was donating to Democrats or something.

  71. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: The term “white nationalism” was invented by white supremacists who wanted to rebrand their movement with a newer, more euphemistic title. It did not come into general usage until the 1990s. I would bet that David Duke himself once proudly identified as white supremacist, earlier in his career. After all, he’s a former Klansman, and the Klan’s official rulebook says it “shall ever be true in the faithful maintenance of White Supremacy.” In the ’80s when he created a group called the NAAWP, its newsletter observed that since white supremacy was considered immoral by the public, they should conceal their opinions and “never refer to racial superiority or inferiority, only talk about racial differences, carefully avoiding value judgments.” Duke’s entire career since he left the Klan has been built on this strategy, trying to dress up white supremacy in a more palatable costume.

  72. Gustopher says:

    Yo, listen up, @Jen says:

    Off topic on an open thread: Why do Republicans have to experience things first-hand before they can empathize?

    This is why I no longer feel bad about wishing bad things would happen to Republicans. Or even “bad” things, like their kids turning out to be queer.

    I’d rather they learn to empathize with people who aren’t themselves, but what’s more likely, tragedy will change their minds, or they will spontaneously notice that other people are suffering?

    Yes, yes, our fine hosts seem to be developing empathy, despite their previous Republican leanings.

    Fine, I wish a blog upon each Republican, with a commentariat that is three steps to the left of them, and which drags them kicking and screaming one or two of those steps.

  73. Gustopher says:


    In the ’80s when he created a group called the NAAWP, its newsletter observed that since white supremacy was considered immoral by the public, they should conceal their opinions and “never refer to racial superiority or inferiority, only talk about racial differences, carefully avoiding value judgments.” Duke’s entire career since he left the Klan has been built on this strategy, trying to dress up white supremacy in a more palatable costume

    I wonder if a “nonjudgmental” look at racial differences would really work out well in white folks favor. Off the top of my head, minorities lead in:
    – tasty food
    – music (Jazz, rock and roll… and if you call hip hop music, that too)
    – sports
    – sassy black women
    – able to wear yellow and orange, and still look good
    – discovering uses for peanuts (oh, George Washington Carver, you hit that one out of the park!)
    – lower incidence of skin cancer

    There aren’t a lot of differences, but they tend to be pretty firmly arranged against white folks.

    Now that I made up that mostly joking list, I’m thinking my belief that all races are basically equal is just a delusion.

    Lutefisk! Boiled meat! The Laffer Curve! Ayn Rand! American Cheese!

    White Supremacists have a lot of things they need to come to terms with. White people have charmingly floppy hair, and that’s about it.

  74. Kylopod says:


    White people have charmingly floppy hair, and that’s about it.

    Then why are the “pro-White” folks always shaving it off?

  75. Gustopher says:

    @KM: There appears to be a spice that is sometimes (but not always) included in Ethiopian spice mixes that I am fairly allergic to.

    Not “go to hospital” allergic, but “my teeth are burning and itching” allergic. When I eat Ethiopian, there are some dishes I need to avoid, and I never know which ones beforehand, and often have to ask people “is the Massar Wat weirdly spicy?” as it seems to vary batch by batch. (If the answer is yes, I am then baffled and still avoid it, just to be safe, not sure why I bother asking)

    I suspect I am allergic to a particular strain of one of the spices, or to something that often ends up contaminating a spice.

    Ethiopian food is otherwise amazingly delicious, strongly recommended, if you’re not familiar with it. If you’re not a fan of sour breads, maybe bring your own bread?

    I need some Ethiopian food.

  76. Grumpy realist says:


    Lutefisk is always trouble in a story anyway. You have to keep your eye on it every minute or it’ll start showboating. I wrote a story once with half a busload of strong characters, including a TV anchorman from Minneapolis, six or seven state legislators, a stunning actress, a particle physicist, and the inventor of an energy-efficient bed, but all of a sudden they were glancing at their watches and remembering appointments, or asking to be excused to take care of a chronic medical condition. I tried locking the doors, but they just broke the windows. There was no stopping them once they panicked. Pretty soon all I had left was the lutefisk.

    –H.B. Humdack, from “How to Talk Minnesotan.”

  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Even then, they’re not empathizing, they are only feeling sorrow over their own condition. Sorry. 🙁

  78. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: They’re our least-charming subset.

  79. Teve says:
  80. Teve says:
  81. Kathy says:


    Off topic on an open thread: Why do Republicans have to experience things first-hand before they can empathize?

    Cruelty may not be the opposite of empathy, but it’s hard to be cruel when you can feel for your victims.

  82. 95 South says:

    @Jen: Why do liberals not change their minds in the face of evidence?

  83. Jen says:

    @95 South: LOL, coming from the party that has turned climate change denial into an art form, that’s rich.

  84. Jen says:

    Very interesting piece in The Guardian about how conservatives shut down the intelligence group that identified rising nationalism as a threat.

    I don’t remember that flap, but boy are we paying for conservative-version political correctness now.

  85. Teve says:

    In other news, now that David Duke has been tweeting “Tucker is RIGHT!” and bashing the Jew media, Fox has just announced that Tucker is going on a totally previously-arranged and not at all unexpected vacation until the 19th or thereabouts, which was completely already planned for and what are you even talking about?

  86. Neil Hudelson says:

    Moderators, please de-moderate me.

  87. Franklin says:

    @Teve: Oh, very interesting. My son does seem to object to the smell of peanuts right now. I was kind of hoping he’d find peanut butter better than Sunbutter or his current fave, Wowbutter.

  88. Teve says:

    @Franklin: It’s entirely possible his reaction will be very different than mine. Me, I’m looking forward to trying almond/cashew/wow/sun-butters, which I haven’t gotten around to yet.

  89. grumpy realist says:

    @Teve: Cashew butter is delicious…..

  90. Teve says:

    Okay I’m only 20 pages in and Shadow Divers is interesting as shit.

  91. An Interested Party says:
  92. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: trust me and don’t look up Erick Erickson’s response to that situation.

  93. Jen says:

    Just a totally normal thing to do days after a shooting at a Walmart.

    Good grief, people are crazy.

    @Teve: It gets better. I enjoyed that book so much I might do something I rarely do and re-read it. (No objection to re-reading books, there are just so many I want to read it seems inefficient to read something twice…)