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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Pulp diction: Samuel L Jackson to voice Amazon’s Alexa

    Still not about to buy one, but starting my day with a “motherfucker” or 3 is attractive.

  2. Teve says:

    Is Uber still subsidizing 60% of the cost of each ride with investor dollars? I’m just wondering how much longer that scam is going to stay afloat.

  3. Teve says:

    The conservative response to David French saying there was clearly a quid pro quo is entertaining.

  4. de stijl says:

    I’m stumped.

    There’s nothing to talk about today.

    The US and world news scene is so boring right now.

    If only there were a scandal or two.

  5. de stijl says:


    I would buy it just to hear Ezeckial 25:17.

    That would be a righteous “Wake up! Get your ass out the bed” alarm.

    If that were my alarm, all bullets would miss me that day.

  6. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Majel Barrett would be a good choice. Or Douglas Rain.

  7. de stijl says:
  8. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: Hit snooze again! I double dare you!

  9. de stijl says:


    I’m an urban person sans car (because it doesn’t make economic sense). Barely used Uber or Lyft.

    I’m used to the taxi experience. You get what you pay for. A ride a to b.

    The process of rating your driver and he / she rating me is repugnant. It’s a effing ride, not a date or a performance.

    The rating thing I get was a plus back in the day. You don’t want asshole drivers. You don’t want asshole customers.

    But having them 5star each other is just so stupid just so they can remain employed or tenable to be serviced is a bad business model.

    Everyone is doing a 360 employee review for a ducking ride back from Target.

    With a taxi I get from a to b if I have the cash + tip. That’s exactly what I want.

  10. de stijl says:


    Bring me a Big Kahuna burger, I’ll slap snooze until noon.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    I’d say there’s the new kerfuffle over BJ and his entourage’s interactions with the HOC, but honestly the U.K. situation has become so chaotic politically that it’s just turned into More Of The Same Old Thing. Am surprised that the rest of the EU hasn’t just keeled over with boredom. I have this imagined picture of the rest of the EU representatives seated around a table labeled “Brexit negotiations”, some snoring on the table, some playing games on their smartphones, and the rest watching spiders weave webs as they tap their fingers.

    (Just refuse to extend the next time around, guys.)

  12. Teve says:

    I usually dislike SE Cupp but she’s right about this:

    S.E. Cupp
    It’s hard to play the “If Obama had done it” game, because he’d have been impeached by now.

  13. de stijl says:

    Can someone who often uses Uber / Lyft tell me why it’s better than a taxi?

    I’ve only used Uber a handful of times. Perhaps I missed the killer feature.

  14. Teve says:

    it’s Thursday, and it usually takes 12 / 24 / 48 hours for the trolls to get their talking points, so we should be seeing some good activity from them soon.

  15. de stijl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    But I don’t want the UK to leave. It would be stupid.

    And I don’t want to punish any Briton either Leave or Remain voter or leaner.

    Destabilizing a modern G7 economy is a really bad idea. With major consequences. Doing it on purpose is bonkers.

  16. Teve says:
  17. Teve says:
  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: It’s a real page turner.

  19. de stijl says:

    I’m essentially retired. I don’t have to work again unless I choose to.

    Not having to get up at 6AM on Monday is a gift. As is 6AM Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

    For those still working, do not sell yourself short.

    Do not let them control you. Your boss is not your friend. Your company does not value you. Take care of yourself. Do not trust them to do right by you; they will not.

    It’s profit and loss. Effort or commitment is immaterial to them. They do not value you, no matter what the poster says.

    Unless you’re self-employed, work is a means to make money. If you’re lucky, you can learn new skills on their dime. A transaction, no more.

    Work ethic should be beneficial to you and them. If it is not, look for a new job.

  20. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:
    I’ve never seen a Commons session like it, in terms of ministerial statements and behaviour.
    Backbench belligerence is par for the course, but ministers are a different matter.

    Attorney General Cox at first states he respects the Supreme Court verdict; but then:

    “This Parliament is a dead Parliament, it should no longer sit. It has no moral right to sit on these green benches,”

    Prime Minister describes the Act requiring him to seek an extension as “the surrender Act”; when asked if he would seek an extension replies “No.”
    When asked to moderate his language by a Labour MP recalling the murder of her fellow MP by a Leave fanatic replies: “I’ve never heard such humbug in all my life.”
    And that the best way to honour her memory is to implement Brexit on his terms!

    Johnson just torched any remaining faint hope of recruiting opposition MPs to support any deal he might present.

    35% “rev the base” No Deal strategy is clearly in play, with aim of forcing election before 31 October. (With idea of post-election option of No Deal to pander to the ultras, or if enough seats, betray ERG and DUP and ram May’s deal through)

    Opposition must now bring forward the date on extension compulsion to force the issue, and prepare to install an emergency government.

    British politics is now at DefCon 1.

  21. Teve says:

    Donald J. Trump
    8:41 AM · Sep 26, 2019

  22. Michael Cain says:

    @de stijl:

    Can someone who often uses Uber / Lyft tell me why it’s better than a taxi? I’ve only used Uber a handful of times. Perhaps I missed the killer feature.

    Some of my suburban friends sum it up as “My Lyft ride is there to pick me up in 15 minutes. The cab is an hour and a half, if at all.” That may just be situational, or it may be the killer feature.

    I used to get paid to be the in-house futurist at a giant corporation. I’ve always said the market that will make autonomous vehicles take off is keeping aging Boomers in their suburban houses for a few/several more years. Maybe those Boomers will own the small electric autonomous car that takes them to the doc or the grocery. Maybe a company like Lyft will put a couple hundred in every big suburb.

  23. CSK says:

    There’s an interesting article in today: “The Atheist Revolution,” by Derek Thompson.

  24. de stijl says:


    S. E. Cupp is not a bad commentator. She’s smart. She values facts. I often do not respond positively to her conclusions, but she is good at her job.

    She is better at her job than 95% of her rivals.

  25. Kathy says:


    I’d no idea the GOP needed help destroying their party.

  26. Jen says:

    @Teve: The whistle blower complaint is interesting, in that it connects some dots and adds additional detail and context as to activity going on outside the confines of the call.

    What struck me most was the statement in the Appendix that asserts that this was “not the first time” that the White House has used the stand-alone computer system to essentially hide politically sensitive information, rather than the system’s intended use to protect information that is national-security sensitive.

    Also is very clear that Trump ordered the military aid withheld until they decided to “play ball.”

  27. Jax says:

    @Jen: That part really struck me, too. So what else have they hidden?!

  28. Teve says:

    @CSK: that’s a really good article, there are two or three paragraphs I would except here, but people should just go read the whole thing.

  29. Teve says:

    @Kathy: 🙂

  30. de stijl says:

    @Michael Cain:

    I live in town. A taxi is 10 to 30 minutes away. As of now, I prefer taxi. I get the same service and I don’t have to fake bond with the driver.

    I can see why Uber / Lyft might work in distal travel points long term, but I do believe the business model is flawed because it assumes that riders and drivers should rate each other and that is essential.

    You are / were a futurist. That is exceedingly cool. I was a big data person. If we’d have hooked up on a gig, I would have pumped you for all the insight you could provide.

    What a cool job!

  31. CSK says:

    @Teve: Thanks; I thought so. Thompson’s explanation for the rise of the non-religious really makes a lot of sense.

    And thanks for the link to the whistleblower’s complaint. Yowza.

  32. de stijl says:


    I thought the President represented all citizens, not just those who voted for him / her. Silly me.

  33. Teve says:

    Man, right-wingers on Twitter are entertaining:

    Replying to
    Joe Biden and his cocaine addicted son may now be in legal jeopardy.

    The “whistleblower” should be arrested for treason.

    Democrats will pay for this in 2020.

  34. grumpy realist says:

    @de stijl: The U.K. is going through one of its typical fits of historical insanity just as the U.S. is doing as well. There’s not much the outside world can do except bolt down the hatches, protect itself, and wait until the stupidity dies down and the involved individuals are chastened through their encounters with reality.

    It’s a pity in the U.K. case because I suspect that over half of the population really don’t want to go through the chaos of a no-deal Brexit but they’re getting dragged into it by a bunch of narcissistic politicians who believe they can use a no-deal Brexit to gain multiple years of political power. (It’s also yet another case of Britain’s enshrinement of posh boy amateurism over careful planning from experts. No wonder British industry has been collapsing.)

    Oh well….

  35. dennis says:

    I honestly think it’s a mistake to berate the (A)DNI over the disclosure process and the actions he took therein. Rep. Schiff is making a mistake. I loathe Trump as president, but smoking peripheral agents rather than going straight after Trump and Barr is going to blow back on the whole process. Democrats sure know how to f*** up a hand of four aces. Geezus.

  36. de stijl says:

    @Michael Cain:

    Also, I want to see how the legal issues work out. How it works out versus muninciple taxi governance.

    If it gets more people to where they want to be affordably, it’s good.

  37. de stijl says:

    I’m now officially fixated on Futurism as a career.

    Is there a process? A methodology?

    How does one differentiate between want and will and might?

    Very intrigued!

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Indeed. The next step in this drama will be for the whistleblower to speak with both committees. You can expect both of them to press for the identity of the persons named as sources for the information summarized in his MFR, which I expect he/she will supply. From there, we’ll almost certainly move to subpoenas compelling their testimony before the committees and subpoenas compelling the production of any and all information concerning the incidents alleged to have been improperly sequestered within this standalone national security system, White House assertion of executive privilege seeking to forestall the above, and almost certainly multiple legal actions initiated by the House to compel production.

    In a word, Watergate redux, but this time around with stupid people in the White House.

    I’d suggest stocking up on popcorn.

  39. Joe says:

    @dennis: NPR ran an interview this morning with one of Obama’s DNIs, who essentially defended each of McGuire’s decisions in context even though he thought the call memorandum should be the subject of real investigation.

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: So even Trump can sense the Rats are edging closer to the railings.

    Once they start jumping ship it’s going to be like lemmings. With the addition of Brave Sir Willard trying to get from the back of the pack to the feint so he can pretend to be leading.

  41. de stijl says:

    @grumpy realist:

    A very good friend of mine was an alcholic.

    When he was sober, he was smart and insightful, and interesting.

    When he was drunk, he was an asshole. He was drunk a lot.

    I decided that until he chose not to be an asshole, we should not be friends. Very welcome to detente and reciprocal friendship when you are better and capable, please contact when you are better.

    Britain is to Europe as the drunk friend. Wild behavioral swings. Professions of allegiance, and then utter refusal.

    The EU is enabling Britain’s behaviour.

  42. Teve says:

    Trump has tweeted something like two dozen times this morning. If you read the replies you can’t tell the difference between Russian plants and demented idiots.

  43. As others have noted in the comments, the whistleblower complaint has been made public. My post on that release and the contents of the complaint can be found here.

  44. Jay L Gischer says:

    @de stijl: I have had terrible experiences with the scenario where I call a taxi to come to my house to take me somewhere. They lie to me about how fast they will get there. Uber/Lyft does not do that, since it shows me drivers/vehicles that are close to me, and tells me how far away they are.

    When I go to the taxi stand at the airport and get a ride home, it all works fine, except for the 50 percent airport surcharge. But maybe Uber does that too?

  45. Mister Bluster says:

    Rep. Chris Stewart (RUtah) said he would let Maguire complete answers to questions then immediately interrupted Maguire’s response to the first two questions. The second time to puff up his own (Stewart’s) military service

  46. Blue Galangal says:

    @Joe: I get that he’s (A)DNI and that he is most likely a Trump/GOP loyalist. At the same time, was there not a point when he ought to have realized Barr was implicated and could not sign off on withholding this information? This is a laywoman’s view, of course.

  47. dennis says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    By the specific terms of the WB law, the complaint did not meet the criteria to turn it over to the intel committee. Legally, he could have dismissed it as such, but he didn’t. He disclosed it outside of the ODNI to the DOJ, which action brought light to it, and Barr’s unlawful disposition of it. Kudos to Maguire for that.

  48. Jen says:


    the complaint did not meet the criteria to turn it over to the intel committee

    I thought there was considerable difference of opinion on this–some were asserting that it did not meet the criteria, while others said it did.

  49. Kathy says:

    I started yesterday a Great Courses series on How the Stock Market Works. I’ve listened to many lecture series from this company, and this is the first one with a long disclaimer in the introduction, regarding the risk of investment, and the material is for “educational purposes only.”

  50. Michael Cain says:

    Watching Parliament yesterday my impression was that the members favoring Remain or a stay-in-the-single-market Brexit are absolutely terrified that Boris is on the verge of out-maneuvering them all and will deliver no-deal on Oct 31.

    I think they’re right to be terrified, but it’s their own damned fault. Back in June the EU27 sent what I thought were pretty clear signals that this Parliament — not some hypothetical after an election that has not been called yet Parliament — had to do something concrete. Bercow has bent over backwards to stretch procedure to allow Parliament to do so on its own, but they have refused.

  51. Teve says:

    The Honorable Tom Cotton is today spreading claims about Hunter Biden being in a paternity suit.

  52. Kathy says:

    re the Coke with Coffee, I didn’t mention the flavor seemed familiar. I just couldn’t place it. Today I tried one again, and I was able to recall it. The thing tastes a lot like coffee-flavored hard candy. If you were sucking on one while sipping Coke at the same time, that’s more or less the flavor you’d end up with.

    Hope this helps.

    I haven’t tried it with milk.

  53. wr says:

    @de stijl: “Can someone who often uses Uber / Lyft tell me why it’s better than a taxi?”

    For me, there are a couple of reasons, beyond the fact that I’ve never been in an Uber or Lyft with no air conditioning and terrible suspension, something that happens not infrequently in NY cabs — especially if you’re unfortunate enough to be picking one up at JFK…

    I hate sitting in a cab and watching the meter turn while we’re sitting in traffic. And I hate the suspicion that the driver is going the longest route possible to crank up the fare. Both Uber and Lyft tell you what the price is going to be before you book the car. That way there are no surprises — and I can make an informed decision on whether it’s worth the price or I should take public transportation. (They also give you a pretty good estimate of how long the trip will be..)

    The rating thing is really a lot less onerous than you make it out to be. At least it is to me. I don’t mind giving five stars along with a tip, since the total cost to me is the tip, and I don’t think I’ve checked my own rating in years. But if it makes you uncomfortable, definitely better to stick with the cabs…

  54. Teve says:

    Anne Wheaton
    Replying to
    My mentions feel like a child who just got busted and they know it. “But what about…!” My dudes, I’m a mom. I see right through what you’re doing. I believe in your ability to focus on the task at hand, and that task is Trump. Stop trying to re-direct the conversation.

  55. dennis says:


    The Inspector General is authorized to receive and investigate, pursuant to subsection (h), complaints or information from any person concerning the existence of an activity within the authorities and responsibilities of the Director of National Intelligence constituting a violation of laws, rules, or regulations, or mismanagement, gross waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to the public health and safety. Once such complaint or information has been received from an employee of the intelligence community—

    So, the specific rub is, since it was Trump who committed the “act,” and neither Trump nor his actions as president fall under the DNI’s authority and responsibility, Maguire was under no legal bind to forward the complaint to Congress. This is why I give him props for going to the DOJ: It may have been the only plausible way he was able to shed light on the matter without exposing the complainant’s identity, nor himself to legal jeopardy. Rep. Schiff should be praising the man instead of browbeating him, publicly or otherwise.

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: The talking points were on Laura Ingraham on Tuesday! WTF? Are all Fox viewers old geezers like me who have tremors that make their handwriting illegible? Can’t they just write these things down for themselvess?

  57. Teve says:
  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I would also go with the old saw “do something you enjoy,” but the catch there is that I may have enjoyed more types of work than most people do. It may not be possible for everyone to do something they enjoy unless they have fairly low expectations of how enjoyable work should be.

  59. dennis says:

    So, someone came up with this explanation for Schiff’s line of inquiry:

    . . . I agree with your concern on losing focus on Trump, but for career intelligence professionals, we are obliged to raise concerns that intelligence and law enforcement agencies are being intimidated, silenced and co-opted by Trump and Barr.

    If that is the case, I would think a seasoned congressman and Harvard law grad would be able to construct a line of questioning that didn’t impugn the (A)DNI and still exposed Trump and Barr as culprits on intimidating and silencing career employees. What’s your take, HarvardLaw92?

  60. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I got a downvote so at least one of the trolls is lurking. 🙂

  61. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: I must be missing a detail here. Has the EU agreed to grant another extension if some group or another in Parliament wants one? My understanding was that October 31 was the “sell by” date, not still some “best before” pull date.

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    To paraphrase: From Trump’s lips to God’s ears.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Cain: At least on the left coast, keeping aging boomers in their suburban homes is not going to be that hard. If I had to move into the center city area of Portland (major city closest to me) it would cost me roughly 120% of what I pay now for rent. To move back to my hometown (Seattle) would cost me 150% and, additionally, be a useless effort since there aren’t enough residential type services in the city center area the last time I checked. Seriously, Seattle is the only city I’ve ever seen where the real estate ads for downtown properties only say “close to restaurants and bars.”

  64. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: Actually shows up, and I don’t have to speak to a dispatcher with a strong accent over a cell phone connection. I’m a little hard of hearing, and just plain terrible with accents.

    No “we don’t take credit cards” discussion, when they clearly do. No annoying breaking a bill when tipping because they give you back two fives and some change on a $9.38 ride, hoping to get a $5 tip.

    Cars are clean.

    Also, I get to burn a little Venture Capitalist Cash.

    For all of that, I have to mark someone as five stars while I tip them. I’m old fashioned and think “perfectly adequate, no complaints” is really three stars, but whatever, I know the game, so give them five stars.

  65. Guarneri says:

    I’ve had an epiphany. I was thinking about all that has transpired with the Russia investigation, Ukraine, etc. Thank god someone made sure Trump didn’t interfere with the Mueller investigation. Can you imagine? Why, it would be like Joe Biden demanding the firing of………..

    Oh, wait.

  66. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    31 October is the drop dead date. Unless an agreement has been negotiated and agreed to by all parties, or an extension is somehow granted (I have my doubts that one will be), as of 1 November a no deal Brexit becomes the default outcome. The U.K. will revert to WTO trade terms with respect to trade with the EU, and the rest (no passport travel, right to work, customs streamlining, borderless bank footprints, etc.) comes crashing to a halt.

  67. HarvardLaw92 says:


    LOL, no, it’s not like that at all.

    But thanks for trying. As always, it’s entertaining

  68. Guarneri says:

    Well, let’s move past that. Never mind. Now we have Trump sending Rudy over to Ukraine. Can you imagine? Unbelievable. Its almost as if the DNC, Dick Durbin, Pat Leahy and Bob Menendez went over to Ukraine and demanded………….

    Aw, crap. Never mind.

  69. Guarneri says:

    Well at least we have Adam Schiff quoting his imaginary friend. In the name of comedy you see. A real Mitch Hedberg.

  70. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    The actual ride isn’t any better on Uber or Lyft, but hailing a ride when your in an unfamiliar local is much simpler with the app and payment is as well.

  71. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I once had a boss say to me “maybe you’re just one of those people who always hates his job.” He was a very nice man other than that, and I explained that I liked my job well enough before he was my boss.

    So, I would add the rule: follow the good boss, and don’t get too hung up on your current project.

    (I never manage to live that rule, but those who do seem happier with their jobs)

  72. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Without having seen the exchange in question, my general take is that Schiff has never been much of an attorney, hasn’t actively practiced as one for close to 25 years, and he’s probably playing to the camera as a politician.

  73. mattbernius says:


    Thank god someone made sure Trump didn’t interfere with the Mueller investigation.

    For once the facts show you’re right (but for the wrong reasons)…

    From the Mueller report:

    “The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests

    The fact that this is the best you have seems to be a real indication that you are starting to realize how bad this is for the president. At least you could have the balls to instead of trying to dissemble, admit that he did what he’s being accused of, but you don’t think that it was wrong/inappropriate. Because that’s where your going to have to end up eventually.

  74. Gustopher says:


    blah, blah, blah, whistleblower hearings, blah

    First, welcome back.

    Second, and I only pick you because you were the most recent comment when I started typing (slowly), we have a thread on the whistleblower complaint. Get over there with this stuff.

    The open thread is for fluff, nonsense, and how we’re all going to die because of climate change.

  75. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl:

    The EU is enabling Britain’s behaviour.

    Good analogy.

  76. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: There really is a “there” there, but not much of one. The original story seems to start at People Magazine.

  77. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I just remembered something about milk and sodas–it works better to add the milk to the soda rather than the soda to the milk if you are concerned about too much foam. Also try to avoid stirring the milk after adding it. Swirling the contents in the glass will lower release of the CO2 that makes the foam.

  78. Michael Cain says:


    31 October is the drop dead date. Unless an agreement has been negotiated and agreed to by all parties, or an extension is somehow granted (I have my doubts that one will be), as of 1 November a no deal Brexit becomes the default outcome.

    One of the reasons I think Boris is pushing so hard for an election to be called in the next couple of weeks is to get Parliament dissolved before the second half of October. My suspicion is that along about the last week in October, with no extension granted and no-deal staring Parliament in the face, May’s deal is going to start looking very, very good. It only lost by 58 votes last time. I’m sure Bercow would allow it back for a fourth vote.

  79. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Thank you. I thought that was the situation, so I was also perplexed by someone trying before Parliament ended its session trying to pass a law which would seem to have made a no-deal Brexit illegal–as though that was in Parliament’s control outside of selecting to agree to one of the available deals already in place.

    I’m also perplexed by the idea that no-deal is a good idea, but hey, “not my circus, not my clown car.”

  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: That’s a good piece of advice. Hard to implement in my work situations, but I can see how being able to do that would be good.

  81. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The law in question requires the PM to request an extension. It was intended to forestall a situation where he just runs out the clock and gets no-deal by default.

    No-deal is a ridiculously horrific idea, but I tend to agree. I’ll add that all of the legal work necessary to set up new continental banking entities into which this flood of assets and personnel exiting Britain can be parked has been quite profitable for us, so thanks I guess. It’s still a knife into the heart of the British economy. They’ll be feeling the damage and fallout from a no-deal for years afterward.

  82. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    You’re right that 31 October is the end of the current extension period.

    The Benn-Burt Act passed by Parliament obliges the government, by 19 October, if Parliament has not approved a deal, or positively approved an exit without a deal, to request an extension to 31 January 2020.

    If the EU offers an alternative date, the government must within two days refer that offer to Parliament, which may reject the offer, but otherwise any offer must automatically be accepted.

    Of course, the act cannot oblige the EU to agree.
    Article 50 extensions require unanimous approval from the Council (i.e. the 27 states) and the EU Commission does not have a say.

    I am certain the alliance has been in contact, behind the scenes, with European politicians on their countries positions.
    My read is that despite massive annoyance at the situation, no country is at present prepared to veto so long as Ireland is asserting that it’s vital interests are at stake.

    If I am mistaken, and a further extension is refused the anti-No Deal alliance would either have to concede defeat, or install an emergency government and (depending on the vote numbers in the Commons) either resurrect May’s Deal with an agreement to shift to EEA/CA in the post-withdrawal trade talks, or use the nuclear option: Revoke Article 50.

    The European Court of Justice decision of December 2018 seems clear that until 24:00 31 October the UK retains the right to unilaterally revoke Article 50 and terminate the withdrawal process. (Subject to this being a complete end to the matter, not a tactical move.)

  83. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Cain:

    I’m fairly convinced that he is intent on pushing for a new election because he knows that it’s his last chance to shore up a Tory majority for a fixed term. If the election happens post no deal, the Tories will (rightly) be blamed for the economic chaos that will result and they’ll get decimated at the polls.

    That having been said, I think that Johnson is just self-absorbed enough that he’s focused on his own ambitions, and really couldn’t care any less about the fallout. It’s possible that he’s deluded enough to think that the EU will panic at the thought of a no-deal and cave. If so, he’s sorely mistaken. They’re already preparing for it here, and have been for months now. From the EU’s perspective, or at the least from France’s perspective (which is the one I’m most involved with since I live and work here), no-deal has already been decided. They’re just waiting for the herald to announce it at the door.

    I’ll defer to John’s analysis, however, as he’s much better informed about the minutiae of this situation than I am.

  84. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog: ,@Gustopher: , et alia.

    I promise to give Uber / Lyft a clean and fair comparison next go ’round.

    I do like the “time to pick up” feature.

    Also, it’s a distance fee for service, not distance plus time. In cities where you’re brand new, that could be helpful if you don’t know the route.

    I do not like their model of treating their drivers as contractors. It sheds all ethical responsibility. I spent a third of my working life as a “contractor.”

    (One place, I worked for two and a half years at the same desk. It was good cash money though, yo.)

    Will probably never come around on the rating system. I want a ride, not a buddy. I want to go here and I will give you rate + 20%, more if you help with packages.

    I promise to try again openmindedly (but I sorta like the taxi system / process).

    I think the biggest bonus is the driver tracker feature. It’s nice to have a super defined arrival window.

    I really dislike the rating system. It’s essentially meaningless. For doing base level service I must give a 5. Why am I being asked to rate you? And apparently, my driver rates me, too. It’s stupid. The 360 review process on a single transaction/ interaction is fucking moronic.

    I want get from a to b.

  85. de stijl says:

    One time work took me me to the western suburbs of Chicago. The travel person put me on a flight to Midway because it was cheaper.

    I took a taxi that drove on toll roads directly past O’Hare 45 minutes after I got in the car. My destination was five minutes from O’Hare. I could have walked from there.

    I spent $200 (reimbursed) and two hours to get to and from the *cheaper* airport.

    And all to ping a server and run a simple sample query from on site to determine response time.

    It was a pointless trip for a predetermined outcome. Apparently, the folks who paid me needed eyes on the prize.

    Stupidest work trip ever. I spent more time in a taxi than I did on site or in the air. Though, I did get to visit (something) Village in Illinois.

    Seriously! I could have walked there from O’Hare in twenty minutes. And it could all have been done with a few phone calls, anyway.

  86. JohnSF says:


    I’ll defer to John’s analysis…

    I blush.
    I preen.

    Glad to see you back BTW.

    You’re quite right; the rest of the EU don’t want No Deal, but are prepared for it, and better placed to endure, it than the UK.
    Ireland is the only other state anywhere as near badly hit; and the Brexiteer insouciance regarding the potential political and economic impact on Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the potential undermining of the Good Friday accords is shameful.

    The economic impact of “hard” Brexit, let alone No Deal, is horrible.
    Honda have already gone, Sony and Panasonic are relocating headquarters, Nissan and Toyota (and BMW and Vauxhall, and Ford and Peugeot, and Airbus, and… and…) have made it plain they won’t be making large investments in a UK outside the Single Market. Where they go, the supply train will follow.
    Plus all UK companies selling into continental JIT supply chains.
    And the tech companies flocking to Amsterdam or Dublin to ensure EDPB status.
    Plus impact on farming and fisheries.

    Sheer lunacy.
    But the Brexiteer base are largely “anti-globalists” or naïve believers in “sovereignty” and EU dominance, who cannot, will not, address the realities.
    While the leadership are either romantic Anglo-Nationalists, weird “libertarian” Singapore-on-Thames types, opportunists or worse.

  87. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Stupidest work trip ever.

    My stupidest work trip ever had me catching a plane to Hermosillo, Sonora, at 6 am (*) in order to make a payment of about US $50.

    The payment was for the right of our company to submit a proposal in an open contest to a state government agency. A very hefty contract was at stake, so it made sense (though in the end we didn’t submit the proposal; I forget why).

    What made it stupid, is that the payment could be made in a bank, many branches of which exist in Mexico City, but due to an error by the agency, only cash deposited in Sonora could attain the coveted reference number indicating what the money was for.

    I was done around 10 am my time, and spent the rest of the morning going back to the airport to change my flight back. This was when change fees were not outrageous.

    So we spent a few hundred dollars to make a fifty dollar payment.

    (*) A freeway was closed and I got lost trying to get to the airport. In those days I had no smartphone, so no Waze or Maps. Boarding was a t 6, I managed, after running through the terminal, to get to the gate at 6:05. Fortunately they were just beginning to board. I mention this because it’s the closest I’ve ever come to losing a flight.

  88. de stijl says:


    I had a guy who wasn’t my official boss, but was the project sponsor, so he was basically my boss. Worst person I’d ever worked for by a thousand miles.

    Project ends. I’d worked 80 to 110 hours on base salary per week to get us there. I worked every day – Saturdays and Sundays included – for six grueling months.

    I had to withdraw. Too much stress.

    Took a few months off. Started contracting. Did a few gigs.

    Hey! There’s a job that could use your skills. It’s for your old company; they’ll pay for travel.

    I rent a car, drive 4 hours, and guess who I’m reporting to? Dude had worn out his welcome at the old joint and was selling the same shit to a new schmuck.

    Of all the gin joints in all the world, I walk into a workplace run by my nemesis.

    I ducking owned it. We had a contract where we billed double for more than 40 hours per week. I made 85% of my bill rate. That dude is why I’m retired now: worst boss ever

    For the next two and a half years, I worked hard as I could. Psycho boss lasted 2 years – apparently having an affair with your assistant is not a good career move.

    Psycho boss got off on having his minions working stupid long hours. Thanks, dude! I billed at stupid high rates because of rarish specialization.

    I got three offers to come on board full time. The new person was cool – I liked him a lot. We still text / e-mail about stuff.

    I made more money during that stint than my entire salaried career.

    My worst boss gave me more money than I can responsibly spend until I die.

  89. Jen says:

    @de stijl: Now THAT is today’s feel-good story.

    I think I should shut down my computer and let that be the thought I’m left with for the day.

  90. Mister Bluster says:

    Between 1932 and 1961, Chicago’s Midway Airport, located on Chicago’s Southwest Side between 55th and 63rd Streets and Cicero and Central Avenues, boasted the title of world’s busiest airport.
    Encyclopedia of Chicago

    My dad had a habit of taking me to landmarks when he could. I never lived in Chicago but our family visited Illinois to see relatives and on one of those trips we went to Midway just so I could see what was then “The World’s Busiest Airport”. Likely in the late 1950s.
    O’Hare was just getting started but I remember him saying he wanted me to see Midway before it, as he said, “gets left in the dust”.

  91. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl: Just to add my 2 cents…

    The Uber business model is doomed, but while it lasts I prefer them to cabs for many of the same reasons noted above:
    1. Cab dispatchers suck, and cabs are always late if you phone for them. Uber is faster and more transparent.
    2. The cars are newer, cleaner, and more comfortable.
    3. I hate doing money transactions in a car or leaning in a window on the street. I really really love not having to pay the driver by hand, and not having to look him in the eye when I tip. Plus I can leap out of the car as soon as we arrive if I’m running late.
    4. I love knowing what route the driver is planning to take, so I can preempt them when I have local knowledge that’s relevant.
    5. I like being able to dynamically adjust where I’m supposed to be picked up.

  92. Tyrell says:

    News you may have missed if you have been watching the big networks:

    (Guidance warning: This contains no political, slanted, or gossip reports)

    “Bollinger Motors shows off new four-door electric truck prototypes” (Verge)

    “US power output from renewables exceeds coal for the first time in history” (Verge)

    “The Earth Had a Near-Miss With An Asteroid” (Pacific Standard)

    “Rare Zebra Foal With Polka Dots Spotted In Kenya” (Forbes)

    “Their dark materials: Researchers accidentally create “blackest black” (Newsela)

    “Loch Ness monster could be a giant eel, say scientists” (Newsela)

    “Mercedes-Benz EQ reveal the Silver Arrow 01, Vandoorne & de Vries complete line up (Formula E)

    “Major 6.5 Quake Hits Indonesia” (Weather Channel)

    “Just the facts”

  93. Jax says:

    @Tyrell: The little zebra foal is so adorable! I feel like I need 10 of them!

    (Says the gal who had to take a Facebook sabbatical because she was buying too many animals she didn’t need)

  94. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Good points.

    Also, use a glass with smooth sides. The glasses I got for the office are lovely, but they have like little squares inside which provide more nucleation sites for bubbles.

  95. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: @JohnSF: Thank you both for the clarification. Your explanations help make the move sound way less hubristic than it seemed.

  96. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl:

    Will probably never come around on the rating system.

    My thoughts exactly. It’s a taxi ride. I’m even more laissez faire than most of you in that I don’t even care that the driver works on making the ride as long as possible. He has to make a living, and driving (anything) is a tough way to do it.

    Of course, my experience using taxis is nearly all in Korea where the cities are large in population but geographically small enough so that a yuuuuuuuuuge taxi fare is about $12. Seoul fares are higher, but the city is significantly larger than most and traffic is always a bear. (But no one takes a taxi from the airport unless they are big time rich when the Limousine Bus is only about $15 to Seoul and the light rail express is $10.)

  97. de stijl says:


    You can’t leave us hanging.

    What animals?

    (Btw, I remember reading somewhere that zebras aren’t very trainable and are sorta mean.)

  98. Gustopher says:

    I donate money to a food bank one neighborhood over that also does a lot of good work for the homeless. I do this for two reasons:

    1) There is a genuine need and the work hard to meet it.

    2) I hope the homeless people in my neighborhood will go over there.

    Am I a bad person?

  99. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Well, so far my count is at 2 dogs, waaayyyy to0 many cats, some chickens of breeds that I didn’t own before, some pet cows my friend couldn’t see go to slaughter, and some horses that will never make cow horses.

    I have a dream, on the horses. I’ve always wanted a sorrel horse with a flaxen mane, ever since I was a little girl. I offered to buy the horse I wanted, and they wanted $7,000 for a 2 year old that was not halter broke. Then they mentioned her Mom was for sale, and that she’s foaled horses that color every time she’s bred to that stud.

    So I bought the Mom and breeding fees, and I worked some serious horse-mom shit to have her brought to me. Foal is expected May 25, 2020.

    Anybody who DOESN’T think I don’t want a polka dotted zebra doesn’t know me very well.

    Is it time for late night OTB yet? I wanna hear some muuuuusic!!!

  100. Mister Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..I hope the homeless people in my neighborhood will go over there.

    Does this work?
    Or are you going to get elected Mayor on the promise that you will build a wall and the people in the next town over will pay for it?

  101. de stijl says:


    The weird bit as a contractor is knowing you’re being paid a huge multiple of what they pay their FTEs.

    I’m fairly smart and I had rarish sklills, but I’m not that smart and rare skills can acquired with effort.

    I worked with a woman who produced a result that replicated a waterfall query. Had I been asked, I would have replied that it is impossible.

    She just did it. She captured the total possible result set with a wide net, applied a query, then applied a query to the query results, then applied a new query to those results, etc., etc.

    With MS Access. She did a freaking waterfall.

    It wasn’t efficient, it was brute force, but it worked. She chained the queries to query the previous result set. Effing brilliant. She basically recreated a series of write to temp db, query, post results, write to new temp db, query again, etc. It took hours to run, but it worked. CW at that time says you can’t do it. She did.

    We recruited her. I made 4x times her salary and she figured it on her own. It was humbling. When I saw what she did, I was blown away. What I thought and had been trained to think was impossible, was possible.

    And even kind of easy once you get the process and flow.

    Last I heard she still works for Greg.

    Heather, you are a genius! Good luck and good life!

  102. Jax says:

    @de stijl: You should listen to Alabama People by Dead South. I cannot find a video to link to. They’re FUNKY, man… far as I can tell, there’s no drum set. Cello (stand up bass), and a tambourine, but no drums.

    My youngest is just starting band. She’s on percussion. We’ve listened to this song over and over, and it SOUNDS like there is a drum….but there is not!!! She is fascinated, and I think I’ll search in my tiny town for cello or “stringed instrument” players to give her some lessons.

  103. Mister Bluster says:

    @Jax:..I wanna hear some muuuuusic!!!

    I’ll bet you can sing along with this!

  104. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: I CAN!!! That was awesome! 😉

    I bet you know this one.

  105. Jax says:

    “Silence like a cancer grows….”

  106. de stijl says:


    New music!?

    I gave you The Jayhawks and Golden Smog a week ago.

    That is a precious gift. Those people are really good. Jennifer Save Me may be the perfect pop / country / Americana song.

    I know you’re a country girl and a Country girl, which is not my strong suit.

    If you’re dying, try The Pixies. There are countryish roots in many of their songs.

    Javalina is a strong song.

    Hey! is a great song. Kim Deal’s backing vocals and bass work are insanely great.

    You cannot go wrong with The Pixies. They are solid gold stupid good.

    Monkey Gone To Heaven is great. All off Doolittle is so cool. And Tromp d’ Oeil and Bossa Nova and Surfer Rosa. The Pixies are all time greats no fooling.

    Here Comes Your Man. Gigantic. So many great songs.

    If I were forced to pick, I would go with “Hey!”

    We’re chained. Black Francis makes three syllables out of “chained” We’re cha a ined. We’re chain a ained. All while Kim is singing background.


    Go to youtube, find a 50 song playlist. There is almost no filler or garbage in their catalog. Those folks were almost uniformly great. That is insanely difficult to do!

  107. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl:

    What I thought and had been trained to think was impossible,

    Well that explains it. It really does. Apocryphal story (that I’m sure you’ve probably heard) about Thomas Edison: After the tungsten light bulb filament became reality, he was asked how he did it. The story is that he hired metalwork hobbyists to work on the project. When asked why not metallurgists, the story has it that he said that metallurgists know that tungsten can’t be stretched into wire, so he needed people who didn’t know that to figure out how to.

  108. de stijl says:

    The Pixies cover of “Head On” of The Jesus And Mary Chain original song makes me want to kick life in the balls.

    The original is also truly great.

  109. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I literally had been told it was not possible to do a waterfall with current SQL.

    And once I understood what she did, it’s actually simple. It’s brute force, but it works. Seriously brilliant work.

    And I got paid to put an application around her work and give the big boss a button to push. I’ve never experienced imposter syndrome so intensely. I did promote her work and insight and gave her all the credit.

    Made me feel like a jackass. She’d done the hard part. I made it look pretty.

  110. Jax says:

    @de stijl: I have always liked the Pixies, and I put GoldenSmog and the Jayhawks on my playlist. 😉

    Did you ever listen to any ska? There was a period of time I used to visit the clubs….maybe early 90’s? Maybe Salt Lake, Denver or Minneapolis? I’m not sure, it’s all a blur….

    I was kind of excited to find one of my favorite “semi local” bands back then online. Swim Herschel Swim.

  111. de stijl says:


    Pass my best regards onto your youngest. Percussion is hard. Myself, I cannot keep a beat. I always speed up.

    Drummers and bassists are the heart. Encourage her.

  112. Jax says:

    @de stijl:And now….some Ray Lynch. Found this….Denver, maybe? Maybe Memphis….or Phoenix.

    There’s a reason I’m in good ol’ Wyo.

    I love Uber/Lyft. I went to Vegas last year and stayed at a really awesome resort on Lake Las Vegas. I only have one particular slot machine I play, so I got an Uber to the strip, walked the whole damn strip to find my game, saw Ron White, won 5 grand on my slot machine, and got a ride back to my hotel without even having to think about it.

  113. de stijl says:


    I love ska.

    This might be old news to you, but Toots and the Maytal’s “Pressure Drop” is life changing.

    I got introduced to it from The Clash version almost 40 years ago. Dear lord, I’m old.

    I like listening to both back to back. The different takes are a nice contrast.

    Are you a fan of The Specials?

  114. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: There’s a lot of riff-raff one neighborhood over, so maybe it works. Or maybe it’s just putting resources where the problem is more acute. Who can tell?

    I doubt a few thousand a year makes a big difference actually.

  115. de stijl says:

    Apropos of nothing.

    Michael Reynolds turned on to We Were Indians. Apparently, one of the dudes was his realtor. Gotta love Cali.

    My fave is “You’re All There”

    It starts off fairly good song with an interesting go-pro vid. But it winds up to a full-out rave-up.

    I love a good rave-up.

    The vid is fairly a stupid concept. It’s not horrible.

    But the last minute is a full-on rave-up.

    I effing love a full on rave-up.

    Do you want strange connection. Watch Trainspotting and Brave back to back.

    Kelly MacDonald is astonishing good in both.

  116. Gustopher says:

    @Jax: A classic from Ola Belle Reed, a great banjo playing gal.

    She was a good Christian woman, and she wasn’t going to change any of the words of a song, because that would be lying, so she performed a lot of lesbian love songs.

    The weird instrument is a mountain dulcimer.

    And some Dock Boggs:

    The weird instrument here is a banjo played oddly.

  117. wr says:

    @de stijl: “I got introduced to it from The Clash version almost 40 years ago. Dear lord, I’m old.”

    Tell me about it. I spent this summer going to concerts by artists whose albums I first bought in the 1970s — Mott the Hoople, Jackson Browne, Bryan Ferry, Elvis Costello, Ian Hunter (with his own band, playing a series of shows at a small club to celebrate his 80th birthday), Squeeze. And The Waterboys who, to be fair, didn’t start recording until the 80s. Also went to see Chvrches, because there’s still good music being made…

  118. Tyrell says:

    @Kathy: “On the Road Again” Willie Nelson’s great hit.
    Watch PBS’ excellent documentary about country music. Best Ken Burn’s work since his epic Civil War series.

  119. Teve says: