Open Forum

The floor is yours.

Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds 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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Bill says:
  2. Jen says:

    Well, this is fun. A Republican FEC Commissioner blocked the publication of the entire weekly digest the FEC publishes because it included clarification on the illegality of soliciting foreign help for a federal election, and what constitutes “a thing of value.”

    This, from a person who sits on the commission that oversees election law adherence.

    It is astonishing to me that all of these people are throwing away their proclaimed values and frankly also their legitimacy to protect this president, who clearly is in over his head and cares not one whit about doing things legally.

  3. Mister Bluster says:

    Joe Biden thinks TV producers should stop putting Rudy Giuliani on air

    Well I agree. Rudy is about worthless…
    But I am not a candidate for President USA.
    Just about the time I think I might be able to excuse? overlook? Biden’s fallibilities another dead skunk turns up on the road.
    Besides this being a dumb request it displays a degree of cluelessness in the Biden campaign organization about how this will play right into the hands of Trump’s drones.
    Can’t Biden take the heat?
    What’s he going to do if he is elected and Republicans still control the Senate?
    Ask the media to stop interviewing Moscow Mitch?

  4. Tyrell says:

    Time to get MOTIVATED!
    (warning: language)

    (Blood, sweat, respect. The first two you give. The third you earn”

    (“Don’t waste one minute” “I dreamed of coming to America”)

    If these don’t get you going, you’ve been on the couch too long. Turn off the tube and get moving!
    Achieve your goals!

  5. Teve says:

    @Jen: they’re not exactly the smartest segment of the population, to put it nicely.

  6. Kathy says:

    On the advice of a co-worker, I watched the first season of “Titans” on Netflix.

    It left me with two questions:

    1) Why does everyone (meaning DC) need to do R-rated, overly violent, dark versions of super heroes just because Marvel scored with Deadpool?

    2) Why did I watch the season through to the end? Seriously, after two eps I was sure there’d be little of interest, while the story crawled along, and I was proved right. I haven’t figured that one out.

    I will admit the final episode of season 1 might have been good, if taken completely out of context. That is, if you ignored having seen the whole season up to that point. With minimal spoilers, the problem is our intrepid super heroes have been killing bad guys and police officers, not to mention destroying property on purpose, and causing a lot of collateral damage, and then everyone’s very concerned that Batman might attempt to kill the Joker.

  7. gVOR08 says:


    not to mention destroying property on purpose, and causing a lot of collateral damage

    Many years ago an economist wrote an entertaining mock paper on the economic impacts of a comic book world in which half of Manhattan is destroyed every few months. Insurance and construction would certainty be different.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    Luke Skywalker is my hero today. Via Balloon Juice, Ivanka tweeted a picture of herself and Jared in evening dress with their kids, one in a very expensive looking Storm Trooper suit.

    Ivanke Trump
    The Force is strong in my family.

    Mark Hammill replied
    Mark Hammill
    You misspelled “Fraud” #GoForceYourself

    One Adam Parkhomenko added

    Mommy, why does Luke Skywalker hate us?
    Because we are terrible, terrible people, son.

  9. Kathy says:


    A quick guesstimate I made once of how many calories The Flash would expend running, led me to conclude he’d spend most of his time eating. To be fair this is brought up from time to time. In an early century Justice League cartoon, he once asks for a coffee with 25 sugars.

    And that would pale in comparison to Superman, of course. He’d have to fly around with massive nutrient bags and a tube going down his nose to his stomach.

    That kind of spoils the picture of the dashing hero in tights, doesn’t it?

  10. Kathy says:


    The Trump spawn might want to steer clear of wearing Stormtrooper outfits, too. A little too on the nose, no?

  11. Mister Bluster says:

    “Mr. Hume:

    “I’ve just read your lousy review of Margaret’s concert. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are an ‘eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay.’

    “It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you’re off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.

    “Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!

    “[Newspaper columnist Westbrook] Pegler, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you’ll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.


    President Truman’s daughter was an adult when this missive was penned.
    But that was in the good old days of 1950.
    I guess kids of today’s VIPs are just going to have to learn to take it.

  12. Michael Cain says:

    In London, the opposition has announced that there won’t be a no-confidence motion this week. I assume this means they still haven’t managed to put together a majority to back a non-Boris short-timer PM and schedule for what that PM would do.

  13. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: Rudy giving interviews helps us learn about high crimes and misdemeanors. Why would Joe Biden want to protect Donald Trump?

  14. Teve says:

    Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry (R), the top Republican on the House Committee on Armed Services, on Monday announced that he will not seek reelection.

    Thornberry’s decision marks the sixth Texas Republican to retire from Congress this year.

    Already Gone is stuck in my head. 🙂

  15. DrDaveT says:


    Many years ago an economist wrote an entertaining mock paper on the economic impacts of a comic book world in which half of Manhattan is destroyed every few months. Insurance and construction would certainty be different.

    This is why my favorite superhero movie is Hancock.

  16. Michael Cain says:

    I think cases like Thornberry are the down side of the rules the Republicans made for themselves back in the 1990s. Basically, they term-limited the time a member could spend as chair/ranking member of a committee. The 2021-23 Congress would be the end of Thornberry’s time as the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee. Things look like that would be two more years as ranking member, a worthless position in the House. Time to go.

    The up side, from the party’s perspective, is young guns like Paul Ryan. Chair of both Budget and Ways & Means while still in his early 40s. There are some others. Never would have happened under the old rules.

  17. Mister Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..Why would Joe Biden want to protect Donald Trump?

    Dunno. Another reason this is dumb idea.

  18. Teve says:

    My favorite meme of the weekend:

    “I got a speeding ticket, but my attorney Rudy Giuliani pleaded it down to first degree murder.”

  19. Tyrell says:

    @Kathy: Spiderman: all that climbing has to be tough. We had a climbing rope in PE class. That is a superior workout for shoulders, traps, arms, forearms, abs, and some legwork. If you have a large tree in the yard, it is a cheap piece of equipment.

  20. Teve says:


    Apostate Republican Peter Wehner asks today, “What’s the matter with Republicans?” His answer is the usual one: tribalism, self-interest, and fear of constituents who love Donald Trump. All true, I’m sure, but it misses perhaps the most important factor: Kool-Aid.

    For the past 20 years Republicans have been drinking their own Kool-Aid. They believe that Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt politician of our era. They believe that Barack Obama engaged in a calculated campaign of illegal executive orders throughout his entire second term. They believe that Democrats secretly—or not so secretly—favor open borders with Mexico as a cynical ruse to increase the number of Democratic voters. They believe that progressives, if given power, will make it all but illegal to practice the Christian faith.

    Against that backdrop, ask yourself this: is it really that big a deal to ask the Ukrainian leader to investigate Joe Biden? I mean, sure, maybe Trump shouldn’t have done it. But compared to everything Democrats have done—IRS targeting, Benghazi, emails, killing the filibuster, Kavanaugh, DACA, the list is just endless—it maybe rates a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. It’s a trivial molehill that Democrats and their media enablers are trying to turn into a mountain.

    And besides, even if Trump was a little over his skis in his conversation with Ukraine’s president, there really is a huge scandal surrounding Joe Biden. Right? Clearly the guy tried to call off the Ukrainian dogs in order to help his son make a ton of money, and used a billion dollars in taxpayer money to make his threat good.

    Don’t just shake your head at this. Lots of Republicans believe it. And frankly, a lot of you probably believe equally crazy things about them. The big difference is that while some liberals may watch more MSNBC than is good for them, they also ingest other news that prevents them from going entirely over the edge. A great many conservatives don’t. It’s just Fox and Hannity and Breitbart 24/7.

    So they stick with Trump. Some of them do it because they’re cynical and just want to hold onto power, but a lot of them do it because they aren’t cynical and truly believe Ukrainegate is a minor thing that wouldn’t rate a blurb on page A10 if a Democrat did it. They are entirely unaware that the narrative they hear on Fox is anything but the straight story. This is true of both Republican members of Congress as well as the rank and file.

    The Kool-Aid is powerful. Don’t underestimate it. And don’t expect even smart Republicans to admit that it’s the real problem. Even the smart ones are afraid of it, after all.

  21. Teve says:

    Replying to

    CNN: Giuliani subpoenaed
    MSNBC: Giuliani subpoenaed
    Fox News: Hillary Clinton

  22. Teve says:

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
    It’s wild to me how people crawled over my 60 mins interview with a fine-toothed comb to find any word or reason to claim I’m unfit for the job, yet here Kevin McCarthy (the GOP Leader!) is a bumbling, sloppy, dishonest mess & his mediocrity is accepted as a matter of course.

    (60 minutes clip)

  23. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Superman is solar powered. And many of his abilities seem to defy the laws of physics anyway, so I would be hard to say how many calories he would have to ingest.

    – grabbing an airplane by the tip of the wing, and not have it collapse into a messy ball with crumpled people inside would require somehow changing the forces all along the structure of the plane.

    – Great Wall of China Vision, introduced in Superman IV, involves him staring at rubble and having it reassemble as the Great Wall of China.

    – Super Baking allows him to bake a gigantic cake, with the center completely cooked and the edges not burned.

    – Super Ventriloquism allows him to project his voice so it is literally coming from somewhere outside his own body.

    I think he simply alters the nature of the universe, but believes that he is limited by traditional superpowers.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Perhaps if we learn too much about how this particular system works, we’ll discover that it was designed as/has evolved into a system that protects people inside the government from the consequences of their criminal acts when only the population is injured by those acts. (That it takes Congress/government itself being injured to matter to those in authoriteh.)

    Or am I being too cynical?

  25. Kathy says:


    Superman is solar powered. And many of his abilities seem to defy the laws of physics anyway, so I would be hard to say how many calories he would have to ingest.

    Oh, sure. It’s all fantasy.

    Though you can easily compute how much sunlight a Superman cross-section could absorb per hour, which would be more energy than what he could ingest. But then he should lie in the sun as much as possible, rather than spending hours in an office at The Planet 😉

    There’s an essay by Larry Niven called “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex,” which touches on Superman’s powers. The main theme is how could Superman procreate with a woman.

  26. CSK says:

    Jessye Norman has died.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    So Bob Barr is having his toadies reclassify ten year old emails so they can say Hillary had classified emails on her server. (This, by the way, is not a joke.) Next up, the State Department will reclassify Hawaii as part of Kenya to prove Trump was right about Obama all along.

  28. Kathy says:


    So Bob Barr is having his toadies reclassify ten year old emails so they can say Hillary had classified emails on her server. (This, by the way, is not a joke.)

    The law is notorious for being non-retroactive. This is more like malicious, wrongful prosecution.

  29. Teve says:

    Pompeo told Martha Raddatz that he didn’t know anything about the Ukraine call other than what he read in the newspapers. Turns out he was on the call. Is every single conservative evangelical a huge liar?

  30. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Biden wants to protect Tiny because the complete raison d’être of Biden’s campaign is that he is the one Dem who can beat Tiny. Without Tiny in office Biden has no reason to be nominated.

    Biden is probably the only Dem, who doesn’t want to see Tiny impeached and convicted.

  31. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan:..reclassify ten year old emails…

    Isn’t this a violation of Article I, Section 9 prohibition against ex post facto?

    Not that Brother Barrfly would let the Constitution stand in the way of his treachery.

  32. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: As I sit and watch this interview with McCarthy…Jesus, that was brutal…he presents himself as a complete idiot…that shouldn’t be surprising, though, look who he’s defending…

  33. Jax says:

    @MarkedMan: WaPo has been reporting on the intensified “Hillary’s emails” for several days and there’s so much other shit going on, nobody seems to get that this is another brick in the wall of Trump going after his political enemies. Only she’s not even running, but he’s determined to lock her up for fake shit.

  34. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party:

    “How do you expect the president’s defense to roll out, going forward?”
    “Defense of what?”
    “Well, there’s an impeachment inquiry.”

    general consensus on political Twitter is that of all the Trump defenders on Sunday, McCarthy was noticeably the stupidest.

  35. Teve says:

    McCarthy was the guy 2 years ago who reportedly said “There’s two people, I think, Putin pays–Rohrabacher and Trump” so maybe he knows he has to defend Trump but his heart just isn’t in it. Or maybe I’m trying to give him too much credit and he’s just an idiot.

  36. Jax says:

    @Teve: I’m not going to be satisfied, as a taxpayer and a voter, until I get the Putin and Saudi Arabia transcripts, in their entirety.

  37. de stijl says:

    Lodge 49 is my favorite non-streaming show on right now.

    It is so innocent and heartfelt and exuberant.

    It’s about death and grief and end stage capitalism and the destruction of communities and and societal isolation. But it’s also about alchemy and synchronicity and connection and family – real or created.

    Plus there’s Dud.

    Compare and contrast to Preacher, also on AMC, which has an amazing cast and great set pieces, but is about nothing. It can be very clever, but mostly tries to shock and amuse. Half-baked at it’s peak.

  38. Teve says:

    The Verge
    · 19m
    EXCLUSIVE: In leaked audio, Mark Zuckerberg rallies Facebook against critics, competitors, and @EWarren

    so in the last week we’ve found out that both Wall Street and Mark Zuckerberg hate Elizabeth Warren. Geez I was already Team Warren, now I’m becoming Ride or Die.

  39. Teve says:
  40. Teve says:

    Social media gets remarkably better when you start banning assholes. Here’s the latest guy I just blocked:

    Replying to
    Racial equality is a myth. There’s no evidence to support it.

    Buh Bye!

  41. Teve says:

    Peter Baker
    Trump wanted to dig a water-filled trench at the border stocked with snakes or alligators. He wanted a wall electrified with spikes on top. And he suggested migrants be shot in the legs to slow them down. From the stunning new book by


  42. Teve says:
  43. Mister Bluster says:

    North Korean projectile landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, Tokyo says

    I wonder if President Puke has read The Japan-U.S. Security Treaty.

    Article III
    The Parties, individually and in cooperation with each other, by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid will maintain and develop, subject to their constitutional provisions, their capacities to resist armed attack.

    Somehow I doubt it.