Open Forum

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

The floor is yours.

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


  1. MarkedMan says:

    I just finished the first episode of “Chernobyl” on HBO. Gripping. Incredible acting. Amazing writing and direction. We see tough, hard men, men who had risen to the top in their fields through tenacity and ruthlessness, who were confronted with a reality that flew in the face of everything they officially believed and everything their careers and positions depended on, and they react with anger and vitriol and shout down anyone who brings reality into their faith built world. They send others to their death and march to their own death rather than displease the powerful who control their fates. In other words, modern day Republicans.

  2. Teve says:

    Aaron Rupar
    · Sep 12
    Trump says the federal government gave San Francisco and Los Angeles notice today that they need to quickly clean up homelessness in their city, or the federal government is going to step in and do something about it

    @MarkedMan: that’s a hard show to watch.

  3. Teve says:

    I didn’t believe this was real until I watched the video:

    “Have a great weekend, the president makes such a thing possible for us all.”

    -lou dobbs

    no I’m not shitting you here is a link to the video on Twitter

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Ig Nobels are here! The winners include,

    a chemistry prize for Japanese scientists who calculated how much saliva a typical five-year-old produces in one day (half a litre);

    an engineering prize for an Iranian inventor’s nappy-changing machine;

    an economics prize for Dutch researchers who discovered that banknotes can spread infectious microbes, and none more so than the Romanian leu.

    Italian scientists won the medicine prize for pursuing the idea that pizzas offer protection against death, a question they never quite managed to answer.

    Mieusset and his accomplice, Bourras Bengoudifa, recruited French postmen to settle a mystery that has received precious little attention: whether a man’s testicles are both the same temperature. Having crunched the numbers from delicately placed sensors, Mieusset only deepened the mystery. According to his studies, the left one is warmer, but only when a man has his clothes on.

    Britain’s pride was upheld by Francis McGlone, a researcher at Liverpool John Moores University, who shared the Ig Nobel peace prize. As part of an international team, McGlone helped map out which parts of the body are most pleasurable to scratch. The ankles ranked highest, the researchers found, and then the back and forearm.

    the biology prize for a Chinese-led team that found that dead, magnetised cockroaches behave differently to living, magnetised cockroaches when studied with a quantum sensor;

    Huh, I never would have guessed that las one.

  5. Teve says:


    Italian scientists won the medicine prize for pursuing the idea that pizzas offer protection against death, a question they never quite managed to answer.

    It’s the journey, not the destination.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:


    or the federal government is going to step in and do something about it

    I await the spirited and principled defense of the free market from Republicans in Congress.


    I’ll be here all week folks.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Lovers of Modena’ skeletons holding hands were both men

    Researchers believe the two might have been siblings, cousins or soldiers who died together in battle.

    But not gay, no never that.

  8. CSK says:

    @Teve: Please tell me that was a joke. Please.

  9. Teve says:

    @CSK: everybody who chooses to support Trump winds up humiliated.

  10. CSK says:

    @Teve: That goes well beyond groveling.

  11. Teve says:

    @CSK: He’s a fucking joke.

  12. Michael Cain says:

    I’ve been advising people/managers for 40 years now that it’s a software world and they should plan accordingly. Volkswagen Group is belatedly taking that advice and consolidating the software organizations from all of their auto brands into a single division and establishing a common software architecture. I particularly liked the example of a current problem where the power train might be disabled if the GPS navigation app in the infotainment system fails.

  13. Teve says:
  14. Slugger says:

    Yesterday was 9/11, and we heard the usual things that I find a bit fulsome. Today is the day after. When we talk of 9/11, we rarely mention what followed. In the days after the original 9/11 we launched a war on Iraq. I am skeptical that this was the right move. What do others think?

  15. JohnMcC says:

    @Slugger: Well, no one was killed by Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. So there’s that.

    I’m actually pretty sad that in our present mess, no one seems to remember that GWB was really a terrible President. Awful. Rotten. One of the worst.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Slugger: The war on Iraq was a war of choice drummed up to ensure cheap *oil* and justified with cherrypicked intelligence at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. (don’t get me started on all the unintended consequences) Need I say anymore?

    And we never should have invaded Afghanistan either.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:
  18. gVOR08 says:

    @Slugger: What @OzarkHillbilly: said. The invasion of Iraq is the dumbest thing any president has ever done, at least in my lifetime. Even I am not old enough to remember Buchanan. We invaded Afghanistan to put Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda out of business. Had we done it as a raid, done what we set out to do, and left, it might have been OK. But W had to also go ahead and invade Iraq, leaving the military hanging in Afghanistan, apparently with no clearly defined mission. And with no credible plan for dealing with Iraq post invasion. W blew up the Middle East for no real reason except that he was too dumb not to. And torture and Guantanamo aside, invading Iraq when they posed no threat to us was a war crime.

    And please don’t tell me ‘he believed the intelligence’. The intelligence was cooked to support a decision already made to invade.

  19. Teve says:

    The invasion of Iraq is why I call Trump the Second Worst president of my lifetime (born in 1976). Anybody know the best estimate of the total number of deaths from that?

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: @OzarkHillbilly: You guys DO realize that this story ends with Trump saying “who knew homelessness would be so hard,” right?

    ETA: I mean, it’s why the Federal Housing Authority was formed in the first place.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: My Italian grandfather would be embarrassed! 🙁 Even he could have told them that pizza (something that, to my knowledge, he never ate–being from Tuscany) provides temporary protection against death–due to starvation. It’s the stuff Italian jokes are made from. :-/

    ETA: Still Teve’s was clever, at least.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Hey now, cold pizza and warm beer have revived me more than a few times after all night debaucheries.

  23. 95 South says:


    In the days after the original 9/11 we launched a war on Iraq.

    A year and a half.

  24. Gustopher says:

    @95 South:

    A year and a half.

    So… 500-600 days?

    People forget how long we deliberated over whether to do the wrong thing, whether we should wait until we were done in Afghanistan before doing the wrong thing, whether the evidence suggesting we needed to do the wrong thing was obviously fake or just subtlety fake, whether we should accept Saddam’s suggestion to let the UN inspectors in or just steamroll on and do the wrong thing, and just how much of a cakewalk doing the wrong thing would be.

    It was a disastrous decision, taken very deliberately.

    I recall hearing years later that some of the “evidence” was pushed by Iran who just hated Saddam, and that Bushies were duped because it was what they wanted to do. Not sure if that was a crazy conspiracy theory or not.

  25. DrDaveT says:

    Reposted from dead thread on Pinocchios:

    Analogy: fact-checking statements is like wine tasting.

    Wine tasting is a useful way of learning things about the relative quality and character of wines, but it makes some key assumptions. For one, it assumes that everything you’re tasting is actually wine, made from grapes and intended for human consumption.

    There are no descriptive terms or scores available to the wine taster if the glass actually contains motor oil or drain cleaner, and only a very confused person would try to assign Mobil-1 or Drano a description and a score. Nobody cares how much hint of vanilla or cedar or pencil lead the Drano features, nor should they.

    It’s equally confused to try to assign Trump mouth sounds a truthfulness description or score, for pretty much the same reasons.

  26. Teve says:

    Late next year, after Warren wins the election and Trump is a lame duck, he’s going to issue a bunch of pardons for himself and everybody linked to him, and Republicans and the media will pressure Democrats to just accept it and let it go for the good of the nation.

  27. An Interested Party says:

    I recall hearing years later that some of the “evidence” was pushed by Iran…

    It would be really nice if our foreign policy was based on what is best for us and not for countries like Iran and Israel…

    …he’s going to issue a bunch of pardons for himself and everybody linked to him…

    Ahh, but that only applies to federal charges, not state charges, right…

  28. de stijl says:

    Serious question for Doug, James, and Steven:

    Granting that the high majority of commenters here at OTB are basically the center-left variety, has that challenged you?

    You guys don’t slant posts, that is not what I’m getting at. You bring the facts first, and then your personal analysis.

    Is it strange or disconcerting for James, as an example, to address us idiots with a thoughtful post, and then us idiots pollute it with our comments?

    Or Doug? A little l GMU / Cato style libertarian? (Although, he’s grown.)

    You folks obviously did not set out to cater to a predominantly center left audience when you conceived this.

    What do you guys think about how OTB has changed, and what do you think of its current state, and what would you change about it?

  29. de stijl says:

    One thing OTB has granted me was insight when people here rightly criticized my behavior / comments as overbearing or controlling or too clever by half.

    I’ve tried to take that to heart and amend my behavior.

    Frankly, I was sometimes an arrogant jackass here. I am endeavoring not to be “that guy” anymore.

    Please correct me if I stumble.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: The interesting thing to me is how many of the people who post acknowledge having been Republican/conservative-libertarian until they simply couldn’t look past the lunacy any more. I grew up on the Left Coast, in Seattle, graduated from high school the year that Clark Hall–home of the University of Washington ROTC–was bombed. Attended SDS meetings and Black Panther teach ins at my high school. I got to see the lunatic fringe of the left up close and personal. For me, this is still a pretty center right place and the commentariat are not all that “liberal” compared to my home town and life experience.

  31. Gustopher says:

    Trump is suggesting a mutual defense treaty with Israel.

    I’m not sure what we would get from this.

    And Trump claims LED lightbulbs make him look orange.

    People said: what’s with the lightbulb? I said: here’s the story. And I looked at it. The bulb that we’re being forced to use! No 1, to me, most importantly, the light’s no good. I always look orange. And so do you! The light is the worst.

    His belief that everyone looks orange makes me think that his retinas must also be weirdly orange. Or an orange film that extends across his eyes. He sees the world with orange colored tint, so can’t see how oddly orange he is.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    For me, this is still a pretty center right place and the commentariat are not all that “liberal” compared to my home town and life experience.

    You should try spending some time in Ozarkistan. Here, the likes of James, Doug, and Steven are considered raging loony leftier than thou turncoats who have betrayed all that is right and true just because they allow facts to inform their opinions.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Trump is suggesting a mutual defense treaty with Israel.

    They’d have to be fools to think it was worth more than the sharpie he signed it with, the way he treats allies and unilaterally abrogates deals.

    As to what we would get from it, a lot of headaches and a shiny brand new Jerusalem trump Tower.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Currently, I live in Kelso, Washington, the seat of a county that went GOP 69% in both 2016 and 18, and I’ve been called a raging left loony turncoat–by a friend who I went to university with who lives here, too. Not Ozarkistan to be sure, but not the left coast either.


    His belief that everyone looks orange

    He doesn’t believe that, he’s just lying.

  35. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I like to think that he smeared the fake tan goo across his eyeballs, and now everything is orange. Can you prove this isn’t the case?

  36. grumpy realist says:

    The lawyers among us will be snickering at the following:

    Please be alerted to what we might call the “most French-sounding story ever”. A French court ruled that a man who died from a heart attack after having adulterous sex during a work trip had suffered a “workplace accident”. While his employers argued that the man (“Xavier X”) interrupted work for the rendezvous, it was decided that sex was part of everyday life, “like having a shower or a meal”. Therefore, crucially, the worker’s family would receive a better pension and other help.

    France isn’t the only country to define workplace accidents as anything that happens during a work trip, though all I can find for the UK are photos of people falling off ladders or lying under boxes. With due respect, Xavier appears to have raised the stakes on the definition of “work-related”. Meanwhile, British people on business trips worry about putting a Toblerone from the minibar on expenses.

    It’s difficult to imagine a journalist having such a work-related accident or indulging in anything but exemplary behaviour, but this makes a funny kind of sense. Certainly, it fits the standard British cultural characterisation of the French – the sophistication, the sang-froid regarding les affaires d’amour… and now the adulterous bunk-ups as part of the normal working day. Quelle surprise, right?

    (from the Guardian. Didn’t link to the complete article because there were several unrelated parts.)

    Well, it looks like that whole “frolic vs. detour” issue has been solved….

  37. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: Makes me wonder if Trump is gulping down dietary pills. One of the side effects can be xanthopsia (seeing everything as yellow). (Used as an essential element in Elizabeth Peters’ “To Die For Love” mystery–which is a wonderful satire on the whole romance novel industry, among other things.)

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Okay, if you want to go with that, suits me. It’s not a Occam’s Razor-ie as mine, but…

  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @grumpy realist: I LOVE that story!