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. Teve says:

    Peterson with a spinning backfist

    the best part is how the referee Herb Dean just knocks him the f*** off the other guy. 😀

  2. Sleeping Dog says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    When I first heard the term “resting bitch face” I just thought it was some kind of misogynistic bullshit perpetuated by emasculated men. This AM I read this from Arwa Mahdawi:

    Women are getting surgery to fix their resting bitch face
    “Although the term RBF entered the cultural lexicon about six years ago, requests for the procedure ‘more than doubled’ over the last year,” one plastic surgeon told the New York Post. News which should probably give you active rage face.

    WTF? So I looked it up. Turns out RBF is real. It is still misogynistic as all fuck (tho men apparently can have it too) but there is actually a structural component to it. Or so says Throwing Shade: The Science of Resting Bitch Face:

    We all know the face. No, not just the face, but that face. That look that she swears is not a look. She says she’s not angry; she reassures you she’s having fun. But her face has been “throwing shade” all night – without saying anything, that face is indicating that she is not happy; more than not happy, she’s about to make your night miserable too. There are plenty of memes, jokes, and videos, much like this one, which make light of that face, which in 2015 has become better known as “Resting B—- Face” (RBF).

    Some argue that the term itself is misogynistic1. Others argue that it’s a misinterpretation of something innocuous, like social anxiety. Although both make strong arguments, one could spend longer than this blog to discuss all possible root causes. But the root causes may not even matter, as that face continues to stare at us, haunt us, and make us second guess our every decision when it’s pointed in our direction. RBF. We recognize it in celebrities, on the streets, and even in our own family. No currently celebrity has received as much ridicule for RBF as poor Kristen Stewart, who (perhaps undeservingly) has become the poster child for such an affliction. But way beyond the cultural norms and cruel jokes, we have to ask: is there something more to RBF? What is the reason that we all react to that face so negatively?

    The answer may lie in our brains, which have evolved the fusiform face gyrus, an area that specializes in recognizing faces2, as well specific regions of the right parietal cortex that are specifically activated when analyzing facial expressions3.

    I have to say tho, I don’t know that face. I googled it. It took a bit but I finally found some pics of RBF. Guess what? I still don’t see it. So I come back to it’s all just a bunch of misogynistic cultural aspirations of the “ideal femininity” that are hung around the necks of women in the form of pressure to please the emasculated male.

    Or maybe I’m just prejudiced because I have “resting bitch face” too. All my life I have been told that I don’t smile enough, asked why I am not happy, or that I am intimidating. Funny that I never felt any pressure to have surgery so that people I meet would feel more comfortable.

  4. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: RBF is the appearance–but not necessarily the actuality–of slightly activated orbicularis oris, orbicularis oculi, and frontalis muscles. Which for normal people who haven’t studied the FACS and have never heard of Paul Ekman, means slightly pursed lips, slightly squinting eyes, and slightly elevated eyebrows.

    It gives a very ‘judgy’ appearance but doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. We are only really good at evaluating facial expressions when we know a person’s baseline, which we don’t with strangers.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: To which I repeat: Cultural bullshit. People are taught that a face is supposed to look a certain way from the moment they are born. It is why one has such difficulty reading emotion in the faces of foreigners, say for me, Chinese or Inuits.


  6. CSK says:

    RFB appears to be a descriptor applied to any woman who fails to wear a great vacant smile 24/7.

  7. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: facial expressions are loaded with all kinds of cultural bullshit. There are some cultures where people will make entirely different facial expressions based on whether or not they’re being watched by someone else of the same culture. Unmasking the Face is a good introduction.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Exactly.

  9. charon says:

    I remember now.

    You’re the person who believes that Trump is objectively brain damaged, and that can be for some reason be exploited for partisan gain. Hi!

    You’re pettiness is duly noted.

    You, De Stijl, are pretty late to the party, as we are closing in on that time when necessity forces the end of the dementia coverup.

    Here, as example, is Maggie Haberman of the Paper of Record quoting The Guardian:

    “watching a full presidential Trump press conference while visiting the US this week I realised how much the reporting of Trump necessarily edits and parses his words,to force it into sequential paragraphs or impose meaning where it is difficult to detect”

    The Guardian:

    Despite being subjected to a daily diet of Trump headlines, I was unprepared for the president’s alarming incoherence.

    As a political reporter for most of the last 30 years I have also endured many long and rambling political press conferences with Australian prime ministers and world leaders.

    But watching a full presidential Trump press conference while visiting the US this week I realised how much the reporting of Trump necessarily edits and parses his words, to force it into sequential paragraphs or impose meaning where it is difficult to detect.

    In most circumstances, presenting information in as intelligible a form as possible is what we are trained for. But the shock I felt hearing half an hour of unfiltered meanderings from the president of the United States made me wonder whether the editing does our readers a disservice.

  10. Teve says:

    @charon: rawstory:

    President Donald Trump on Friday uncorked a strange and nonsensical rant about the virtues of so-called “clean coal” during an Oval Office conversation with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

    When asked about the importance of Australia’s mineral industry, the president praised the country for doing so much to extract resources in what he described in an environmentally friendly way.

    “Coal, as an example, you’re the leader of safety in coal digging and we’ve actually studied it,” the president said. “We’re doing a lot of coal. You have very little — you have almost no — used to have a thing, black lung disease, and in Australia you almost don’t have it anymore, you’ve got all of the dust down.”

    After Morrison touted technological progress that has helped the environment, the president again jumped in with a non-sequitur about digging.

    “Environmentally, I have to say — and environmentally, the things they’ve done environmentally with digging. Digging is a, uh, you know, when you talk minerals it’s about digging. What you’ve been able to do with the environment having to do with taking minerals out of the ground, including and I would say even especially because you’re leading on coal… your record is so good in terms of illnesses from digging.”

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Alternatives to Resting Bitch Face

    Thanks For Behaving So Predictably Badly Face
    Stop Looking At the Clock While I’m Talking Face
    This is All a Bunch of Bureaucratic Nonsense Face
    You Haven’t Told Me Anything That I Didn’t Already Know Face
    I Would Prefer Not to Face
    A Smidge of Self-Awareness Would Not Go Amiss Face
    The Situations Are Really Not Analogous Face
    Please Tip a Bottle of Bourbon Down My Throat Immediately Face

    Even More Alternatives to Resting Bitch Face

    You Appear To Have a Shockingly Inflated Sense Of Your Own Importance Face
    Your Insincerity Is Astonishing Face
    You Seem To Know A Lot About My Job For Someone Who Knows Nothing About My Job Face
    I’m Going To Tell You I Need To Walk My Dog To Get Out of This Conversation Face
    It Would Be Impossible For You To Be More Petty Face
    I Would Rather Gouge My Eyes Out With a Dull Spoon Than Do That Face
    You Are Clearly Terrified of Being Left Alone With Your Own Thoughts Face
    It’s Not That Your Standards Are Higher Than Everyone Else’s It’s Just That You’re An Asshole Face

    Many more at the links.

  12. michael reynolds says:

    I have RPF, a related condition: Resting Prick Face. This has been much helped by gravity which over the course of better than six decades has relocated my face about half an inch lower than it used to be.

    The worst effect is that I can’t buy weed in places where it’s illegal because something about me screams, ‘Cop!’ (Which just goes to show how wrong RPF can be.) Guys with dreads carrying backpacks festooned with Rasta regalia, wandering sharp-eyed around big city parks tell me no man, no, not holding anything and skateboard away at speed.

    The curse of RPF.

  13. Teve says:

    Ryan Reynolds’ Trainer Has Fitness Tips for Mere Mortals

    Rule No. 1: “Don’t worry about what Ryan does.”

  14. Teve says:

    The Alaska Republican Party voted to cancel its 2020 presidential primary on Saturday, making it yet another GOP state chapter to defer to President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.

    has something like this ever happened in the modern era?

  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    Rather than reporting on Tiny’s press interactions, the press should simply print a transcript of what he said. In that way they will be accurate and not covering up his incoherence.

  16. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: That stream of witless babble he emits is one of the things the Trumpkins love about him. He talks just like them! Like a REAL American. Like Sarah Palin. That was a great part of her appeal, too.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    Given the complete and total silence from every single Republican Congress critter, it occurs to me that we live in a moment of unparalleled moral clarity: to vote for a Republican is to endanger the United States. It is a deeply unpatriotic act.

  18. de stijl says:


    Please do not fixate on me!

    I objected to your contention. If you feel I was personally attacking you , I apologize sincerely. That was not my intent.

    Your behavior creeps me out. I ask that you stop.

  19. charon says:

    @de stijl:

    Your behavior creeps me out

    In what way?

    Please do not fixate on me!

    If you do not want replys, do not address me, or comment on my posts.


  20. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I believe I have a resting friendly to neutral / friendly face.

    How do folks respond to RPF?

    If you go to a restaurant, tip 20% and show up the next week, do people still see you as RPF guy?

    Of course our perception of self is weird. I hate, hate, hate seeing myself on camera and hearing my voice as others hear it. It’s super creepy.

    It conflicts with my core concept of self.

    But it’s also true. This is how the world sees you. And judges you.

    That disparity basically runs my life. Or ruins. One of the two or both.

  21. de stijl says:


    Let’s disengage. Okay?

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    Once I actually interact with people they find me nice and charming. Very man-of-the-people, plus I just have a decent voice for projecting sincerity and humor.

    So if RPF is misleading, so is voice.

  23. de stijl says:

    Please object if this is too personal.

    You remind me of Jonathon Banks.

    In character as Mike Ehrmentrout. Seemingly dour. But a mensch at heart.

    My realtor has a son who golfs with him every week. Apparently, he’s the nicest dude you’ve ever met. Friendly, open, honest, cool.

    It could be worse. I apparently look like the dude from Rick rolling.

  24. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    A topless girl in Jamaica once said I looked like / reminded her of Ferris Bueller.

    Ferris Bueller was a straight up dick.

    So, I pre-appolligize for the Jonathon Banks / Mike Ehrmentrout comparison.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    I’ll take that and bank it. Jonathan Banks is under-appreciated. There are some scenes of his in Better Call Saul where you realize you haven’t breathed in five minutes. If they make a movie of my life (a sure sign of creative collapse) it’s either Banks or JK Simmons.

    I have layers, DeStijl. Layers I say.

    You could do worse than Rick Astley. Bet he could buy pot in a NYC park.

  26. michael reynolds says:

    @de stijl:
    I was in an industrial city in what used to be East Germany a few years ago. I was standing outside a head shop/tattoo parlor waiting on my daughter who was inside. I began to notice people eyeballing me warily, some veering away. Big, mean-looking, shaved head, leather jacket, sunglasses: It occurred to that I was the very picture of an ex-Stasi.

  27. Teve says:

    @de stijl: Jonathan Banks has Resting Jonathan Banks Face.

  28. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You look like a cool guy.

    I look like the uncoolest guy in internet history.

    I have layers too.

  29. de stijl says:


    The concept of Resting Jonathon Banks’ face deserves an upvote.

    You are sorta a genius.

  30. de stijl says:

    I remind random folks of Rick Astly and Ferris Bueller as comparisons.

    I suck.

  31. de stijl says:

    @michael reynolds:

    JK Simmons kicks butt. That guy is awesome even in his insurance commercials.

    And he’s a good looking dude.

    Rick Astley was pretty.

    Do you see the distinction?

  32. Teve says:

    Brit Hume
    · 4h
    Trump’s claims about the NY Times losing money are so easily checked that one wonders why he keeps repeating them.

    Preet Bharara
    Because he’s a liar. You can stop wondering.

  33. grumpy realist says:

    Nice mordant comment from the EUreferendum blogger Dr. Richard North:

    Having the Labour Party conference popping up to interrupt the Brexit crisis is rather like having to watch an advert for feminine hygiene products in the middle of an action sequence in a James Bond film. The best one can do is make a cup of tea while waiting for the action to resume.

  34. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “Jonathan Banks is under-appreciated.”

    By the world at large, probably. Not in the biz — at least not by writers. I remember 20 years ago when there was an open guest star role, everyone wanted him…

  35. Teve says:

    @wr: when I was 11 my favorite show in the world was Wiseguy. Starring Ken Wahl and Jonathan Banks.

  36. Jax says:

    We’ve started the time of year where we start bringing our cattle home from the forest grazing allotment. I took a little video of the scenery at 8,500 ft with my drone while I was looking for cattle, thought you guys might like to see what it looks like in the land of very few people.

  37. An Interested Party says:

    That stream of witless babble he emits is one of the things the Trumpkins love about him. He talks just like them! Like a REAL American. Like Sarah Palin. That was a great part of her appeal, too.

    Don’t forget George W. Bush…for some reason, Republicans loved to be talked to by people who appear to be idiots…

    when I was 11 my favorite show in the world was Wiseguy.

    That was a really good show…

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: HA! I thank you for the laugh.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Nice. It’s been to long since I have been at elevation.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @An Interested Party:

    for some reason, Republicans loved to be talked to by people who appear to be idiots…

    It makes them feel smarter.

  41. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks. That’s where my heart says “home” is, right there. I’m gonna have to make another run at it when the leaves on the aspens really start changing. It was a productive drone run, I found 45 head hiding in the high country that we never would’ve known where to look for them without the eye in the sky. It’s taken a while for my Dad to get used to this newfangled technology thing, but now he won’t even ride out unless he’s got a “destination” in mind that I found with the drone. 😉

  42. wr says:

    @Teve: “when I was 11 my favorite show in the world was Wiseguy. Starring Ken Wahl and Jonathan Banks.”

    And there were a lot of TV writers coming up at the same time as me who felt the same way. I think that accounts for a lot of the Banks-love.

  43. de stijl says:


    Plus Joan Severence and super early Kevin Spacey.

    “The toes knows.”

    We’re officially old.

    Ken Wahl just dropped off the face of the planet after that, Jason Patrick style. Steven Bauer was in that too, who also dropped off the face of the planet.

  44. Jax says:

    @de stijl: If you had to pick your favorite Decemberists album, or even just one song, what would it be?

    Mine are probably (songs)
    Rox in the Box
    Mariner’s Revenge
    A Cautionary Song

    They’re all a little brutal in the storytelling category, but that’s why I like them.

    The albums are hard, I downloaded ALL of them at once and then put them on shuffle when I was on the tractor, so I was really confused until I realized I need to listen to the whole album in it’s entirety to understand what level of storytelling they were at! Myself, I prefer the older Decemberists, but my kids are all in on the 2018 version, we rock Everything is Awful and We All Die Young on the way to school.

  45. de stijl says:


    Wow! You really live in The Big Empty.

    I love visiting, but I could not do what you do. For two weeks I would love your situation, but for the rest of the year I like city life and being able to walk to the grocery store.

    Plus you have a drone!

  46. gVOR08 says:

    I was born and raised in North Dakota. In Jr Hi they had a very good required Civics class, so I was aware that the Dakota Territory had been made into two states, despite essentially no population, so that Republicans could get an additional two senators. Erik Loomis at LGM has more of the story.

    Having held the presidency since 1860, along with both houses of congress for all but two years, Republicans panicked over the election of Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1884. Loomis recounts their invention of modern campaign finance, and their lying like rugs, to support the election of Benjamin Harrison, a solid pro tariff Republican. They succeeded, losing the popular vote, but winning handily in the Electoral College. They also got Dakota admitted as two R states, along with R Washington and D Montana. Moderate Republicans felt this was a bit raw and a violation of equal representation, but

    Harrison’s men didn’t care. “The difference between the parties is as the difference between the light and darkness, day and night,” one supporter argued in Frank Leslie’s. The Republican Party, he insisted, must stay in power to protect Big Business. If that meant shutting more populous territories out of statehood and admitting a few underpopulated western states to enable a minority to exercise political control over the majority of Americans, so be it.

    I sometimes dither over whether modern Republicans are unusually bad, or if they’ve always been this way. A lot of this Dakota story seems awfully modern.

  47. Tyrell says:

    @MarkedMan: I was raised and grew up as a Southern Democrat. While there are some around who are Republicans this is still Democrat country at the local and state levels. But the candidates at the national level leave much to be desired. I’ve said it once and so will say it again. We need someone like Johnson, Fulbright, Ervin, Humphrey, or Connally. Common sense, middle class.

  48. An Interested Party says:

    @gVOR08: But remember, Democrats can’t do anything like that because it would just be so wrong and such a violation of norms and would lead to escalation by Republicans…I guess any excuse will do to stop Democrats from levelling the playing field…

  49. de stijl says:

    There is a road that runs east-west in northern North Dakota and Montana. Way north of I-94.

    It must be a state highway. I have no idea what the number is.

    You go 10 miles between driveways. You go 60 miles between towns.

    It is Big. And it is Empty. And the sky is immense. Almost overwhelming. The profound lack of any discernable human civilization is something I lack the words to describe.

    Driving that road was a life changing experience. I cannot tell you why. It just happened.

  50. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..You go 10 miles between driveways. You go 60 miles between towns.

    Sounds like that trail makes this road look like the Santa Monica Freeway!

  51. de stijl says:


    I’m more of a song guy, not an album person.

    I’d go with “I’ll Be Your Girl”

    I love the song, and the video is amazing and heartbreaking. One of the most affecting videos I’ve seen.

    I wanna give that guy a hug.

    If you like The Decemberists, check out The New Pornographers.

    Letter From An Occupant is a great song.

  52. de stijl says:

    I hyped Wilco earlier and did not give a song reference.

    Check out “Jesus, Etc.”

  53. de stijl says:


    If Jonathan Banks has an active Twitter account, you should @ him.

    Resting Jonathon Banks Face is a great concept. It’s on you, though. I cannot remember my Twitter password: it’s been years since I’ve used it.

  54. grumpy realist says:

    Aside from the standard Brexit screaming and running around in circles, the big ruckus rocking the U.K. at present has been the collapse of the travel agency/package tour generator Thomas Cook, leaving several tens of thousands of Brits stranded abroad.

    Thomas Cook has been trying to claim that its financial collapse is purely Brexit-related, but most others think that bad planning, an expensive merger, and the rise of the internet in travel planning has had more of an effect. Not to mention the astronomically high salaries its heads were awarding themselves.

    Sometimes something that looks like stupidity is in fact just stupidity.

  55. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Best story of the week?
    Faux-christian Mike Pence using an 8 SUV motorcade on Makinac Island…motor vehicles have not been allowed there since 1898.
    These guys are just the biggest pieces of shit at every single level.
    And Pence, who claims to love a man who washed the feet of the poor, needs 8 vehicles to travel in a place with no vehicles.

  56. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Anyone think the Tea Party is going to protest the $28B farm bailout because of Trumps Tariffs?
    Russia is now the #1 supplier of soybeans to China, while US soybean exports to China have been wiped out. These markets may not ever come back.
    Just for reference…Obama’s Auto Bailout was $12B.

  57. Mikey says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Having grown up in Michigan and been to Mackinac many times, this just plain pissed me off. Not that anyone should be surprised by the tone-deafness and entitlement of anyone in this abominable administration, but still.

  58. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    Having grown up in Michigan and been to Mackinac many times

    Yeah…I’d love to hear a reaction from Tim Allen, famous Michigander and staunch RWNJ.

  59. 95 South says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Probably Secret Service orders. Did yo check, or are yo making an assumption?

  60. Kathy says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Thomas Cook also runs an airline. Or ran it, anyway. The aviation blogs say it also faced stiff competition from other airlines, like Ryanair and Jet2, among others.

    It’s the latest European airline collapse in a short time. Monarch, Primera Air, WOW Air, and lesser known ones like Aigle Azur and XL in France just last week.

    The thing is these are not fly-by-night operators, nor necessarily poorly financed start-ups with unrealistic expectations or too-good-to-be-true fares (like Air Madrid, for instance). Monarch and Cook were well-established players (Cook’s German subsidiary, Condor, is still afloat). It’s more like when Mexicana collapsed in 2010 rather suddenly, leaving lots of people stranded as well.

    Europe’s aviation market is very crowded, with many low-cost and ultra-low-cost airlines all over, as well as small regional airlines. Competition is fierce.

    My advice would be to get travel insurance, or to investigate what travel protection your credit card(s) offers, if travelling in or to Europe.

  61. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Anyone think the Tea Party is going to protest the $28B farm bailout because of Trumps Tariffs?

    Oh, of course they will.

    The minute a Democrat takes office, and not a picosecond earlier.

    Just like their “See Something Say Something” notions of security became “Security Theater” as soon as Obama came into office.

  62. Jax says:

    @95 South: Are you missing a U key on your keyboard? At first I thought it was just a random typo, then I thought maybe it was some kind of redneck gangsta shit, but I’ve noticed every time you respond, you spell yo’re…and now it’s yo.

    Juuuust curious. 😉

  63. Mikey says:

    @95 South: President Ford took a horse drawn carriage when he visited Mackinac Island. But then he was a Michigander, and understood the place. Pence apparently couldn’t be arsed.

  64. DrDaveT says:

    @95 South:

    Probably Secret Service orders.

    You are such a pathetic tool.

    (Yeah, OK, I won’t feed the troll anymore.)

  65. 95 South says:

    @Jax: Daryl’s first comment to me was “Yo’re an idiot”. It still makes me laugh.

  66. 95 South says:

    @Mikey: A few weeks later, he was nearly assassinated by the Manson family. A few years later, Reagan was shot. Then came 9/11. I bet security is tighter than it used to be.

  67. Mikey says:

    @Kathy: We flew Condor from Baltimore to Frankfurt in July. The aircraft had Thomas Cook on the side, and a British flight crew. The flight was good, comfortable seats, great service, and about $500 less per person than any other airfare I could find.

    Condor is still flying but I’m wondering about availability given they won’t be able to contract with Thomas Cook anymore.

  68. Mikey says:

    @95 South: You’d think the Secret Service could protect the VP on a tiny island that doesn’t allow cars, but hey, maybe they needed an armored Lincoln to take Pence a distance he could have walked in less than 10 minutes.

    Is there any idiocy that emits from this administration you aren’t going to pretzel yourself to excuse?

  69. 95 South says:

    @Mikey: I hate the trade war and the deficits, among other things. Adult topics. The First Lady decorating like a whore and Pence’s eight cars are stupid and usually untrue.

  70. Mikey says:

    @95 South: I hadn’t heard that about the First Lady and would have doubted it if I had. Her fashion sense seems pretty solid to me. I even thought the weird Christmas tree thing was kinda cool.

    But the Pence Mackinac thing is of a piece with the administration’s lack of respect for…well, anything that doesn’t benefit them directly. And even if there’s a legitimate rationale, their handling of it always screams “entitled and tone-deaf.” They not only don’t understand, they don’t even try.