Open Forum

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

The floor is yours.

Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. MarkedMan says:

    [Reposting from the dead open forum thread]

    On the recommendation of a few people here I signed up for Scribd a couple of months ago, primarily for audiobooks. At first it seemed great but a couple of weeks ago a bunch of books disappeared from my saved file and now I can’t even find most of the books I already listened to. Anyone else have the same problem?

  2. Teve says:
  3. Jen says:

    @Teve: RE: the Peterson link–it’s amazing how rage & adrenaline wake me up in the morning. It’s almost better than caffeine for getting me going.

    What horrible person he is, good grief.

  4. Teve says:

    @Jen: he’s a ridiculous fool.

    How Democracy Dies, American Style

  5. Kit says:

    @Teve: Re: How Democracy Dies

    If the next Democratic president does not perform a thorough house cleaning at all levels, we’re toast. That’s my main criticism of Obama.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    @Kit: Also, if we don’t finally make an example of someone and prosecute Trump, we’re toast. A booking photo of Nixon would have had a hugely beneficial effect on ethics in this country.

  7. Kathy says:


    I just checked. I can’t recall all the audio books I’ve saved, but they all seem to be there.

    Last week, though, I saved an audio book which didn’t show up in my list when I wanted to download it. I searched for it again with the search function, found it, downloaded it, and it’s still in the saved area.

    I suggest locating them again from the general listings. If they’re not there, odds are they were removed from the service.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The floor is yours.

    Uh uh, no way. I am not going to be responsible for cleaning up the dump that Guarneri, JKB, Paul L, or One American are bound to leave there.

  9. KM says:

    @Jen :
    Tell me about it. 2 coffees this morning = meh. Read that blurb = MF I need to go rage type something out!!! This struck me as being brutally honest about his mentality though:

    “Being educated is nothing to be proud about,” he said. “It builds the ego, especially with women.”

    While he’s hating on us ladies at the moment, he’s not sparing the guys either. In his world, education is a BAD thing because it gives you the self-esteem to look at your faith and question the iffy parts of it. I can’t stand people like him – such weak faith and personality that they’d cast God as Big Brother on steroids. Don’t think, don’t question, don’t examine this wonderous universe He created with the minds He crafted for us. Don’t notice how man has changed and twisted His Word to suit their own selfish needs, don’t let a little thing like free will or God-given gifts get in the way of an social order designed to keep people down. What’s the point of being able to understand the vastness of eternity and the wonders of creation if we’re just supposed to ignore it and scurry about like mindless ants?

    Well, from “Satan’s daughter”, bless your heart Mr. Peterson. May He be kinder to you then you deserve and may your life be filled with nothing but brilliant, talented, highly educated and thoughtful women who God deemed fit to be your better. Remember, He works wonders and you aren’t to question “the order of God”!!

  10. Kit says:


    Also, if we don’t finally make an example of someone and prosecute Trump, we’re toast.

    That’s why I don’t care to hear people laying the groundwork for how Trump is mentally impaired and degrading.

    Also, I don’t just want someone prosecuted, I want hundreds rounded up. I want something on the scale of the denazification of Germany.

  11. Kit says:


    In his world, education is a BAD thing

    Education is like the big city: most people who go there don’t return.

  12. michael reynolds says:

    A note about the OTB commentariat: A number of regular commenters are women. Most have gender-neutral screen names, and unless you’ve spent the last decade in a cave, you have to understand why that is or at least was an excellent idea. But it seems to me (purely anecdotally I haven’t been compiling statistics) that more are ‘coming out.’ Identifying themselves as women. Which I take to mean that this is a safe enough place, a place where no one is likely to be called a bitch or worse. So, good on OTB and our hosts.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    Education is the enemy of religion, so of course the most conservative religious people hate education, how could they not?

  14. Teve says:

    “We’ve been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture,”

    -Pastor Ray Mummert

  15. Kit says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Which I take to mean that this is a safe enough place, a place where no one is likely to be called a bitch or worse

    Whatever the fault of our trolls, I never recall having heard them hurl racist or sexist insults. They pretty much content themselves with calling everyone stupid, and then moving on. Equal-opportunity trolls.

  16. Kathy says:


    Sometimes, the Christian fundamentalists paint Satan as the reasonable choice.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kit: Over the years I have read some comments here with racist connotations, tho I can not recall who in particular made them. I don’t recall much in the way of misogyny but the last 3 years have educated me to the blind spot I had when it came to that particular sin.

    In either case, nothing recent.

  18. Teve says:

    The anti-liberal moment

    Critics on the left and right are waging war on liberalism. And liberals don’t seem to have a good defense.

    By Zack Beauchamp on September 9, 2019 8:20 am

    This long piece at vox is going to generate a lot of commentary over the next few days I believe.

  19. Teve says:

    Tennessee lawmaker calls for removal of higher education

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Republican Tennessee lawmaker says he supports getting rid of higher education because he argues it would cut off the “liberal breeding ground.”

    Sen. Kerry Roberts of Springfield called for eliminating higher education while speaking about attending a recent abortion legislative hearing on his conservative radio talk show on Sept. 2.

    Roberts specifically called out one activist who testified in favor of protecting abortion rights. He asserted without evidence that the woman’s beliefs were a “product of higher education” and claimed that getting rid of higher education would “save America.”


  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: The stupid, it hurts.

  21. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: see? It wouldn’t hurt if you didn’t have all that libral book larnin’!

  22. Michael Cain says:

    A Republican Tennessee lawmaker says he supports getting rid of higher education because he argues it would cut off the “liberal breeding ground.”

    There will be exceptions. Even Heinlein’s theocracy maintained a Dept. of Applied Miracles where they trained engineers and applied mathematicians. Granted, you had to be approved by the theocracy as part of admissions. Ever since our civilizations became dependent on engineering, the theocrats have had to be at least that tolerant. My mental image example is the opening ceremony for a new Roman bridge. So long as the head engineer goes through the motions during the dedication to Jupiter, the theocrats tolerate that he’s not thinking, “I hope Jupiter keeps the bridge standing,” he’s thinking, “Should I have used one more arch to spread the load better?”

  23. CSK says:

    Trump just fired Bolton, per CNN.

  24. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    John Bolton is out.
    All the best people, etc.
    Probably Hannity is next in line.

  25. Jen says:

    And, for anyone keeping track of the revolving door at the White House, Trump has fired Bolton according to WaPo, NYT, and others…

  26. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Beat me to it, ya bastard…

  27. mattbernius says:

    Wow, this is interesting because it’s actually Trump framing this as a firing. That’s not typical for him. I wonder what Bolton did.

    Glad to see him gone. He should never have been hired in the first place.

  28. Moosebreath says:


    “Glad to see him gone. He should never have been hired in the first place.”

    While I agree entirely with this view, I am worried what if Bolton were the relatively sane one who is being fired because he would not sign off on anything Trump suggested, and Pompeo is staying because he would.

  29. CSK says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    Nyah, nyah.

    Bolton immediately responded that he offered to resign last night. Trumpie’s gonna have a bad enemy on the outside.

  30. Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Education is the enemy of religion

    That’s not what the Jesuits told me.

  31. CSK says:

    I shudder to think who’s going to replace Bolton. Steve Miller? Jared Kushner? Ivanka? Barron?

  32. Kit says:

    @Teve: Re: The anti-Liberal Moment

    Leftists are correct that neoliberal faith in the market was far too devout; conservatives are right that liberals have been too inattentive to the importance of community.

    Here, in my opinion, Beauchamp gets it right, but he’s so damn enamored of ideas that he cannot see what’s under his nose. Still, I feel it’s undeniable that people across the West are losing faith in democracy, and at the worst possible moment. Assuming that humanity doesn’t die off due to greed and ignorance, I think that it will be the Chinese who have the last word on why liberalism failed.

  33. michael reynolds says:

    Ah, the Jesuits. Somehow we’re just meant to forget that they see themselves as tools of the pope with a loooong history of torture and murder in pursuit of intellectual conformity.

    Jesuits begin by simply assuming, despite a total lack of evidence, that God exists and gives a damn about what we do. And now, having swallowed that whale, let’s discuss philosophy!

    By the time I was sixteen I could dismantle every RC/Jesuit argument for the existence of God. Which means they could too, they aren’t stupid men, but they refuse to follow the facts, preferring superstition and loyalty to a deeply corrupt institution instead. An institution that pays their bills, and gives them an elevated status. An institution that enables them to rape children and get away with it. The same institution that, gosh, couldn’t quite decide if Hitler was evil or not. I could go on.

    Education that starts with unchallenged assumptions as large as those the Jesuits insist upon is not education, it’s brainwashing.

  34. michael reynolds says:

    I think the only person sufficiently spineless and debased is Lindsey Graham. Though Jared remains a possibility.

  35. Tyrell says:

    The plastics hassle or “the straw that broke the camel’s back?”
    There was a recent Climate Town Hall meeting marathon. Several topics were discussed by candidates. One was a proposed ban on straws.
    Straws are made of plastic. Switching back to paper solves some problems but creates others. Metal, glass, and bamboo also would have problems.
    Hospitals and other organizations could not manage without straws and plastics.
    Plastics themselves are vital in industry, cars, wrappings, toys, and
    countless other items. Plastics save weight and that saves fuel. For many disabled people straws are a must.
    Only a small number of straws actually wind up in the ocean. When I am at the beach, most everyone drinks from cans or bottles.
    I remember years ago when there was a major switch to plastic products. I heard “dern plastic junk!” a lot, especially when something broke.
    Some facts: the number 500,000,000 straws used daily is not based on fact.
    Most ocean pollution comes from cigarette butts, plastic and glass bottles, beach toys.
    “Trendy bans on plastic straws are mostly bunk” (Chicago Trib.)
    Next: the nuclear power conundrum. The answer is literally all around us.

  36. CSK says:

    @Joe: A woman friend of mine who went to an RC elementary school told me the message was that boys were supposed to be educated and girls were supposed to be neat, quiet, obedient, and “Mary-like.” Not smart and learned. Though I have to add that probably reflected a blue-collar sensibility, not that of middle class or upper class Catholics.

  37. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds: Who else, at this point, would take it but Jared?

  38. mattbernius says:


    While I agree entirely with this view, I am worried what if Bolton were the relatively sane one who is being fired because he would not sign off on anything Trump suggested, and Pompeo is staying because he would.

    So the one place most of us has been thankfully wrong about Trump is that, while he let people like Bolton into the administration, he apparently had little to no appetite for direct military interventions*.

    Bluster, yes. Actually taking action, no.

    Again, I still think his overall foreign policy is terrible. But at least its not Bolton terrible.

    * – Unfortunately he has only increased our use of drones and removed any bits of transparency from that program and he continues to enable the Saudi’s in places like Yemen. So in that respect he took some of the worst aspects of the Obama administration and turned them up to 11. Still it could have been worse if Bolton had his way.

  39. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    they aren’t stupid men, but they refuse to follow the facts

    This idea has always amused me. If there truly is an all-powerful, omnipresent, omniscient being, that has existed since the beginning of time, but for whom we have no proof…why isn’t anyone looking for the damned proof?!?!? Wouldn’t that justify Christianity over all these other religions? How much funding is actually directed towards searching for this alleged god figure? We have found proof of dinosaurs, we have found Black Holes, we have found the Higgs boson, and we have cured polio…why not look for this god of which everyone speaks so dearly?

  40. mattbernius says:

    Hey look, it’s our good Christian friend @Tyrell taking time away from sipping his sweet tea to complain about plastic straws. I note there’s no peep about the Trump administration blocking hurricane refuges from entering the states.

    But good god, golly me shucks Trump won’t ban plastic straws so it’s ok he’s leave Bahamians to die. I mean the good lord says let the people in need suffer and save the straws!

  41. charon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I’m a guy (the gravatar is just for anonymity) so I don’t really have an informed opinion, but the only time I was ever harassed like that was back in 2016 when some BernieBros got on my case.

    Which, I suppose, is one more data point on who and what BernieBros are.

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    What an interesting point. Thanks for that. You’re absolutely right. We’re looking at cosmological events going back billions of years but not looking for Jehovah?

    Of course believers will try a Catch 22: Only by faith can you be saved, searching for proof shows a lack of faith, therefore the search for proof of God is a sure path to hell. Education!

    If they actually looked, they might find something interesting, not the Hebrew Thunder God (Jew Thor) but some interesting lacunae in our knowledge. Start with asking why, exactly, observation causes a probability wave to collapse. They could examine the problems of consciousness, whether it is a product of brain architecture or whether, perhaps, the brain is to consciousness as they eye is to light.

    There’s lots of room for speculative fiction iterations of God. Just not gods that concern themselves with whether or not teenagers masturbate.

  43. michael grant says:

    My avatar is me. Sadly. Though about 5 years old. I’m more tan now. LA!

  44. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    One was a proposed ban on straws.

    You are one of the simple-minded that the right-wing likes to confuse with propaganda.
    Plastic straws are not a serious issue. Neither are the light bulbs they want you to worry about.
    Transportation, electrical generation, and the building industry are what they don’t want you to be thinking about…so, oblivious to reality, you are not thinking about them.
    Meanwhile our planet bakes.
    Enjoy your little cocoon of ignorance.

  45. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We’re looking at cosmological events going back billions of years but not looking for Jehovah?

    Just remember me if this turns into a book for you!!!

  46. GHW says:

    The verb “believe” is often applied casually to a thinking pattern of “suspecting,” to consider true but with some level of uncertainty, such as “I believe I left my wallet in the car.” But it is also applied in select other contexts as considering something universally true without regard to supportive evidence or evidence to the contrary. (This is in contrast to thinking something personally true such as a favorite flavor, where the term “opinion” would serve better. Such is the flexibility and inexactitude of the English language.) The purpose of this post is to suggest that “believing” when applied as a certainty of universal truth is a infantile cognitive pattern best applied in toddlerhood and then abandoned.

    As toddlers we lack the capacity for reason, thus we must believe in order to cope with and relate to reality. After the age of about 7 years we develop the capacity for reason. Hence forth, there is no need to believe, we can learn about our environment and start making deductions.

    Many (most?) human misunderstandings and hostilities are directly linked to believing, choosing and clinging what is we consider true without regard to the evidence or in spite of evidence to the contrary. If we can teaching our children and practicing non-believing ourselves, (i.e. reasoning), solutions to our many problems will be arrived at more easily.

  47. Tyrell says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Electrical generation is next on the agenda.

  48. 95 South says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Jesuits begin by simply assuming, despite a total lack of evidence, that God exists and gives a damn about what we do. And now, having swallowed that whale, let’s discuss philosophy!

    By the time I was sixteen I could dismantle every RC/Jesuit argument for the existence of God.

    You believe that. How adorable. Reread them as an adult.

  49. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @95 South:

    You believe that. How adorable. Reread them as an adult.

    Ah…do tell. Please provide one credible argument for the existence of God.

  50. michael reynolds says:

    @95 South:
    Dude, I doubt you even know what the arguments are. But every philosophy student with an IQ above room temperature blows this sht up in their first 101 class. It’s not a challenge.

    But hey, for fun why don’t you give us your proofs and we’ll see whether I can take them apart. Ready?

  51. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @95 South:
    C’mon, man. Just one solid argument. Go…

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Next NS advisor or next to be fired in a Trump hissy fit? (And yes, I do think that Trump may be enough out of it that he thinks he can fire someone who doesn’t even work for him.)
    @Moosebreath: If Bolton had been “the sane one,” the administration and the GOP at large are probably in worse shape than anyone imagines. Bolton wasn’t “the sane one” even before he entered the dotard phase he’s in now.

  53. michael reynolds says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    He’s so dumb he actually thinks it’s a challenge. Being unable to refute the arguments for the existence of God would get you tossed out of a community college level philosophy course.

  54. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:
    To be fair, the Jesuits aren’t alone in studiously focusing on the present instead of a bloodstained past. There is literally no group – social, ethnic, religious or otherwise – on earth that cannot trace back to a sordid past done by one of their members. We are human, after all.

    That being said, facing up to one’s sordid history is an unpleasant duty all humanity shares. It does them no favors to claim to be men of God yet ignore what was done in God’s name. The RC has hidden horrors, some *very* recently, and needs to be held accountable for that. It’s not faith that compels them to protect predators but human folly. They simply don’t want to loss power, money or be held legally accountable. Too bad – either come clean or be dragged into the sunlight. No religion or faith should be able to shield evil from secular justice in their lifetime – what happens to you after that is beyond human control.

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kit: I think that one thing that everyone loses track of in this type of discussion is that these sorts of philosophical systems are and continue to be reflections of the societies in which they exist. The big economic breakthrough that is the current China was the realization that market capitalism didn’t have to be democratic. In much the same way, Evangelicals have discovered that “the body of Christ” doesn’t have to be other centered and loving. And finally, the things that make liberal society don’t have to be dedicated to greater equality; they can be used to stratify society and concentrate power just fine. That market capitalism without democracy, religion without love, and liberalism without dedication to equality are not the same and are not what they advertise themselves as doesn’t change that the “tools” of all philosophies can be and are used in the service of selfish ambition as easily as for the goals the genuine believers in them desire.

    We have met the enemy, and he continues to be us.

  56. 95 South says:
  57. Teve says:

    Adam Best

    “She’s got to be stopped.”

    Jim Cramer and a
    panel discuss Wall Street executives being absolutely terrified of Elizabeth Warren and how they’ve never seen anything quite like it before. This is the greatest Warren campaign ad possible.

  58. GHW says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Regarding: “We have met the enemy, and he continues to be us.”
    I suggest, We have met the enemy, and he continues to be our system of beliefs..

  59. KM says:


    Only a small number of straws actually wind up in the ocean. When I am at the beach, most everyone drinks from cans or bottles.

    No snowflake believes itself responsible for the landslide.

    “Logic” like that gets us full landfills and garbage-strewn oceans. “Only a small number”? How small is “small”? There’s 7.7 billion people on the planet – even if only 1% of them used a plastic straw today, that’s over 70 million straws. Consider the org number came from the straw manufactures themselves, let’s lowball and round it to 100 millions straws just to be even. 365 days in a year gives 25.5 trillion straws. That’s a whole lotta garbage, man. Anything that makes that kind of garbage should consider ways to reduce it’s impact if for no other reason that nobody wants to see the ground covered in trash. It’s just common sense.

    Then again, considering conservatives try to drink glass-filled steak with straws on TV and spend tons of money on Trump-branded straws to “own libs” , maybe we should just ignore you guys and let the adults do the thinking.

  60. michael reynolds says:

    @95 South:
    Ah hah hah hah. That’s what you’ve got? The prime mover argument? Jesus H.

    1) It’s nothing but can-kicking. Who moved the first movement? God! Oh? Then who moved God? Um… See, the problem with prime mover is that it answers precisely nothing. Boiled down it comes to ‘someone/something had to be first.’ Why? No answer. Why would that first thing be God? No answer.

    2) If there was a prime mover that in no way, shape or form validates the Christian expression of God. It could as easily be an argument for Vishnu or Zeus. Can you connect the theoretical ‘prime mover’ to the Bible? Nope. Jesus? Nope. Any conscious force? Nope. Would it necessarily be an act of will at all? Nope.

    I could go on but why bother?

  61. Jen says:

    Latest Emerson College poll in NH is interesting. 483 Likely Voters: Biden 24%, Warren 21%, Sanders 13%, Buttigieg 11%. Harris at 8%, Gabbard at 6%, everyone else 4% or below.

  62. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @95 South:
    You are so silly.

  63. 95 South says:

    @michael reynolds: 1) You didn’t understand the argument.
    2) I never said it did.
    How adorable.

  64. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @95 South:

    1) You didn’t understand the argument.

    Yeah…go with that.

  65. Teve says:

    @Jen: I’m hoping that’s Bernie’s ceiling. Warren’s the best candidate for 2020.

  66. CSK says:

    @95 South: There is no proof of God’s existence. It’s purely a matter of faith. Either you believe…or you don’t.

  67. Mister Bluster says:

    Just found out today that the Viet Nam war finally ended for a friend of mine earlier this year. He died in March I was told.
    I met him in the ’70s a few years after he was discharged. He had been drafted into the Marines. He did not talk alot about the war although I remember him saying that he voted for Nixon in 1972. When I asked why he said that he wanted Nixon to continue bombing the enemy because every time Nixon did the shelling of American positions would stop. I could not argue with that.
    As with many friends and acquaintances over the years our lives diverged.
    The last time I saw him was at a local coffee shop about seven years ago. He was in a wheelchair and could barely sit up or speak. Agent Orange he said. The VA had been treating him for throat cancer and other diseases that the defoliant he had been exposed to had visited on him.
    Now and then I would hear of him from others. One of his adult sons had taken him in and was caring for him.
    Today I ran into a mutual friend who gave me the news that the god damned war had finally killed him 44 years later.

    Steve Blake

  68. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

  69. Paul L. says:

    As a common sense start, the following gun safety/reform/control bills should be amended to only apply to registered Democrats.
    H.R. 8 Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019,
    H.R .112 Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019
    H.R. 1296 Assault Weapons Ban of 2019
    H.R. 1236 Extreme Risk Protection Order Act of 2019
    H.R. 1186 Keep Americans Safe Act
    H.R. 2708 Disarm Hate Act.

  70. Gustopher says:

    @KM: Given the number of disabled folks who apparently need straws, I think maybe we should go after one of the other minor trivial causes of the avalanche.

    My psychotic, wheelchair-bound uncle could only drink his coffee or his bourbon through a straw — he couldn’t hold a glass (or a knife, thankfully) with his hand on his strong arm curled up into a weird, shaky, claw like fist. I’m sure there are sympathetic, and less psychotic, people with similar issues.

    We should lay off the straws and go after packaging, disposable food containers, whatever. Lots of targets.

    Sure, dolphins will still die. Have we really gotten our fishing fleets acting better so we aren’t killing ten times more dolphins in tuna nets than we are impaling on straws?

  71. Mister Bluster says:

    Registered Democrats.
    In many States you do not have to register with any political party to vote for a candidate of that party.
    So…fuk you.

  72. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: single-use plastic cups and bottles would be a much better target.

  73. Michael Reynolds says:

    @95 South:
    Dude you are so far out of your depth. Just stop digging.

  74. Bill says:

    The headline of the day-

    Cashier arrested in Japan for allegedly using ‘photographic memory’ to steal credit card information of 1,300 customers

    This reminds me of a High school experience. One of my teacher’s had her teacher’s edition of our textbook open to where our next exam’s multiple choice section was. I could see all 20 answers from my chair in class……

  75. Paul L. says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Have to start somewhere.
    If the number of victims of gun violence and mass shootings goes down, Democrats can argument to expand it to Independents and afterwards Republicans.

    No Planes, No Cars, No Meat and No Guns.

    Vote Democrat.

  76. Paul L. says:

    No Planes, No Cars, No Meat and No Guns.

    Vote Democrat.

  77. Jax says:

    As a common sense start, let’s red-flag Paul. He’s obviously got a lot of hate in his heart. Or is he a bot? I’ve never really been able to tell….the repetition of subjects sure looks like a bot.

  78. 95 South says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Even seventeen-year-olds know sixteen-year-olds are shallow. Adults are supposed to look back on how cocky they were and feel embarrassed. An adult bragging that he hasn’t thought about life since he was 16 and he’s still smarter than his teachers is the equivalent of Al Bundy bragging about scoring four touchdowns in one game.

  79. Michael Reynolds says:

    @95 South:
    Where did I say I haven’t thought about life since I was sixteen? Right: nowhere. Want to try again genius?

  80. Mister Bluster says:

    @Paul L.:..Democrats can argument

    …no fluency in English vote Republican…

  81. Paul L. says:

    Thanks for showing how Red Flag laws will be abused.
    Demanding fluency in English is xenophobic.

    No Borders, No Planes, No Cars, No Meat and No Guns.
    Vote Democrat.

  82. Gustopher says:

    @Paul L.: you’re very dumb.

  83. Mister Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..very dumb

    I’ll bet he’s got photographs of the Airports that the Continental Army took over in 1775.

  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @GHW: Okay. I’m guessing you see a distinction there that I’m missing. If you would enlighten me, I’d appreciate it.

  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’m sorry for his families and your loss. May he rest in peace at long last.

  86. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..I’m sorry for his families and your loss. May he rest in peace at long last.

    Thank you.

  87. OzarkHillbilly says:
  88. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Doug? I told you I refused responsibility for the floor and that I would not be picking up the piles of shit that certain individuals were bound to leave on it.

    Get busy.

  89. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds:

    There’s lots of room for speculative fiction iterations of God. Just not gods that concern themselves with whether or not teenagers masturbate.

    He’s an ephebophile, not a pedophile.

  90. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: 10 dumbass comments outta 90 is really not a bad ratio for any internet discussion site though.

  91. DrDaveT says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I could go on but why bother?

    For what it’s worth, Michael, I have an argument against materialism that I find to be sound. It’s of the form “either materialism is false or none of our beliefs can be justified”, and hinges on the gap between syntax and semantics.

    As you note, just refuting materialism doesn’t get you to any particular other -ism (though it does suggest that either some form of idealism or dualism must be true, since not everything is material).

  92. Gustopher says:

    Meanwhile, the Trump administration is talking about rounding up the homeless in California.

    The planning has intensified in recent weeks. Administration officials have discussed using the federal government to get homeless people off the streets of Los Angeles and other cities and into new government-backed facilities, according to two officials briefed on the planning.

    But it is unclear how they could accomplish this and what legal authority they would use. It is also unclear whether the state’s Democratic politicians would cooperate with Trump, who has sought to embarrass them over the homelessness crisis with repeated attacks on their competency.

    I suppose the government facilities might not be concentration camps…

    I do think we need to address the homeless crisis, but I just don’t trust this administration to do it.

    We need more beds for drug rehab, more crisis centers, more options for the mentally ill, more affordable housing, better transportation… Or we could shove them in concentration camps.

    Hmm. Would a not-dangerous, but clearly insane person prefer to wander about the city aimlessly shouting at pigeons, or wander about a Trump branded golf course aimlessly screaming at waterfowl? Add some social workers to get them meals from the omelet bar if they refuse to come in, and I think we have a plan.

  93. Jax says:

    @Paul L.: Do you ever get outside your bubble except for to come here and lay down some turds?

  94. Kit says:


    Given the number of disabled folks who apparently need straws…

    Do they need plastic straws?

    I’ll admit to feeling conflicted on this issue. On the one hand, I think a little pushback against the national God of Convenience is good for the soul and might help pave the way for the larger sacrifices that are coming.

    On the other hand, the issue too easily allows the business to mobilize the ignorant, lazy and selfish among us in order to derail the conversation we need right now.

  95. GHW says:

    Regarding: “There is no proof of God’s existence. It’s purely a matter of faith. Either you believe…or you don’t.”
    That is precisely what is wrong with the cognitive habit of believing, to consider something true despite the lack of evidence. Sadly, believing isn’t limited to the real of fantasy. Believing corrodes thinking to legitimize irrational thinking, decisions, and actions. That is why I say believing is for babies (under age 7) – literally.

  96. Kit says:

    If I may chime in on the merits of the various proofs of God’s existence, I’d simply add that these arguments never involve a personal god who demands worship or gives a damn. An agnostic could accept such a being without feeling constrained in how he acts. And a believer welcomes such arguments only to the extent that they do away with arguments proving that God cannot exist.

  97. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: So what I’m seeing is that if I go to the Scribd web site on my computer I can see all kinds of books. Once I sign in, they show up as being available on Sept. 23. I just clicked “Save” on a half dozen books and every single one is not available until then. Then when I open Scribd on my iPhone and iPad they don’t show up in my saved list and ifsearch for them, they don’t even show up (at least as audiobooks). Anything similar on your end?

  98. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Paul L.:

    As a common sense start, the following gun safety/reform/control bills should be amended to only apply to registered Democrats.

    Have you ever herd of the Constitution? Why do you hate America so?
    As for common sense…you are lacking.

  99. Gustopher says:

    @Kit: Yes, they need plastic straws. Paper and corn starch break down quickly in hot beverages, and metal and glass have all sorts of problems (cleaning after drinking orange juice, for one). And, yes, disabled people drink hot things and orange juice.

    I have no objection to inconveniencing people for a noble cause, and on the surface it seems like such a trivial sacrifice, but the inconvenience is far greater to the disabled here.

    I’m not personally passionate about it, but it turns out a lot of disabled folks are, and I defer to them about it. It descends quickly into “blah blah blah ableist blah blah don’t care about disabled people at all blah blah how can they still be pushing for this blah blah blah ableist.”

    I may not be the best advocate for them, as my view is “you’re right, I’m convinced, I’ll even mention it to others, but stop bothering me.”

  100. Robert Landbeck says:

    @michael reynolds:
    The time is coming to blow the Jesuits and their church right out of the water with what, ironically both science and religion thought was impossible: A literal PROOF of God for faith. And this is what I’m testing for myself at the moment.

    The first wholly new interpretation for two thousand years of the Gospel and moral teaching of Christ has been published. Radically different from anything else we known from history or tradition. Redefining all primary elements including the very nature of Faith, the Word, Law, Baptism, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit and especially the Resurrection, this new moral teaching is predicated upon the ‘promise’ of a precise, predefined, predictable and repeatable experience of transcendent omnipotence and called ‘the first Resurrection’ in the sense that the Resurrection of Jesus was intended to demonstrate Gods’ willingness to reveal Himself and intervene directly into the natural world for those obedient to His Command, paving the way for access, by faith, to the power of divine Will and ultimate proof!

    Thus ‘faith’ becomes an act of trust in action, the search along a defined path of strict self discipline, [a test of the human heart] to discover His ‘Word’ of a direct individual intervention into the natural world by omnipotent power that confirms divine will, law, command and covenant, which at the same time, realigns our mortal moral compass with the Divine, “correcting human nature by a change in natural law, altering biology, consciousness and human ethical perception beyond all natural evolutionary boundaries.” Thus is a man ‘created’ in the image and likeness of his Creator.

    So like it or no, a new religious teaching, a moral wisdom not of human intellectual origin, transcending subjectivity, wholly testable by faith, meeting all Enlightenment criteria of direct, evidence based causation and definitive proof now exists, and carries all the implications that suggests. Nothing short of an intellectual, moral, spiritual and religious revolution is getting under way. To test or not to test, that is the question? More info at

  101. MarkedMan says:

    Oh boy…

    I am reminded of a Physics professor who, when he first joined the faculty of a prestigious university, started getting long letters from laymen who were absolutely convinced they had found a flaw in Einstein’s theories or a way to go faster than the speed of light. “Don’t respond”, his colleagues would warn him, but he assured himself that he could just jot off a quick note showing the mistakes in the argument and set the correspondent on the right path. After several years of tunneling ever deeper into rabbit holes he found himself telling a new colleague, “Just don’t respond”.

  102. Kit says:

    @Gustopher: Re: straws

    That’s interesting to hear. Still, I don’t think anyone is talking about making plastic straws outright illegal. Without knowing any details, I imagine that they would be banned in places that use lots of them, such as fast food restaurants and stadiums.

    Frankly, I think some people just enjoy getting worked up. The government’s coming for this guy’s guns and that guy’s straws. Yeah, yeah.

  103. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: there’s a really dumb creationist who likes to babble all day about quantum mechanics proving Jesus and if you point out he doesn’t understand anything about quantum mechanics he’ll just ban you. He usually posts at a creationist website called Uncommon Descent, but if you want the straight dope you can go to his website which is just one page with his manifesto. check this lunatic shit out. 🙂

  104. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Robert Landbeck:
    At first I thought your were serious. What a laugh. Thanks.

  105. Gustopher says:

    @Kit: By banning plastic straws in stadiums and restaurants, you are making them less accessible to people with certain disabilities.

    I think the answer is going to be better non-plastic straws that don’t break down while being used, and then people will discover those in the blow holes of dolphins, but by then dolphins will be nearly extinct and it will all be moot.

    I’d rather the answer be to find some other bit of plastic waste to get all worked up about, where there isn’t an unintended consequence on a disadvantaged community that lefties keep trying to dismiss.

  106. Kit says:

    @Gustopher: Personally, I think that if someone truly must drink hot tea in a stadium, then he can bring his own damn straw. If society can only change when absolutely no one is inconvenienced, then we will simply go down the drain together.

    That said, we are facing multiple crises and we need to act quickly and act effectively. Plastic straws will not effect any change worth having. Unfortunately, we cannot even move on plastic straws. So we are basically fuqed.

  107. michael reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan: @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    The simultaneously funny and sad thing is he’s so sure he’s making sense.

  108. Gustopher says:

    @Kit: Clearly, we need a giant government program to ensure that people who need plastic straws have plastic straws. I’m thinking a tax credit for the regular delivery of plastic straws to people of straw related disabilities. Means tested, of course, since the rich can pay for their own plastic straws. Republicans will probably demand that the straw recipients be drug tested, and that they be citizens, since we don’t want government services going to aliens.

    Set up several plastic straw distributors to compete for monopoly contracts over certain regions, and then let them merge until they can charge a small fortune.

    We can advocate for a public option for plastic straws, but then compromise on it.

    Andrew Yang would point out that with $1,000/mo, you can buy a lot of straws.

    Yeah, I’m not a great advocate for the disabled here. But it is more complicated than the straw banning brigade want to acknowledge.

  109. Gustopher says:

    I really hate means testing.

    It opens the door to questioning whether people deserve government services, drug testing, etc. And makes more people have no direct interest in a program surviving.

  110. Jen says:

    The new ProPublica examination of the rise of Brad Parscale is an interesting read. I remember discussing here the idiocy of the campaign fundraising emails sent to foreign officials in other countries (it’s illegal to solicit campaign funds for a federal election from non-citizens). I argued at the time that this is exactly why it’s important to have professional campaign staff who know the rules. Turns out it was just a little bit of sabotage:

    Although the campaign reported raising about $3 million in one day, more than half of the emails were caught in spam filters. Trump-haters had also slipped in prank addresses, generating embarrassing publicity about the campaign seeking illegal donations from members of the Australian, British and Icelandic parliaments.

    This was the first I’ve seen of any explanation of that particular blunder.

    Also, our president doesn’t think we should be using foreign spies for intelligence gathering, because “they aren’t loyal to their countries.” No kidding doofus, that’s precisely their value. How is this the person we have in charge?

  111. An Interested Party says:

    @Jen: That was a lovely article about Parscale…apparently scum attracts more scum…

  112. Mister Bluster says: