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:

    From the “You can’t make this shit up file”:

    Dave Brown
    ‏That’s the Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy

    Happy Birthday to the US Navy! To the men and women who keep our waters safe, We thank you.
    -Bryan Mast
    US Congress

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    After a white police officer responding to a report of a house door standing open killed a black woman inside her own home on Saturday, an attorney for the woman’s family said the officer had not had time to perceive a threat before shooting.

    “You didn’t hear the officer shout, ‘Gun, gun, gun,’” attorney Lee Merritt said after viewing video taken from a Fort Worth officer’s bodycam during the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson, 28. “He didn’t have time to perceive a threat. That’s murder.”

    Jefferson’s family told KXAS TV she was watching her eight-year-old nephew when she was killed. A neighbor had called a non-emergency line to report that the front door to the house was open.

    In a brief statement to media on Sunday, Lt Brandon O’Neil of Fort Worth police said the officer would be interviewed on Monday by the department’s major case unit. “The officer observed a person through a rear window in the residence and fired a shot at that person,” O’Neil said. “The officer did not announce that he was a police officer prior to shooting. What the officer observed and why he did not announce ‘police’ will be addressed as the investigation continues.
    The video released by police shows two officers searching the home from the outside with flashlights. One shouts: “Put your hands up, show me your hands.” One shot is then fired through a window. The officer does not identify himself as an officer in the video.

    “It’s another one of those situations where the people that are supposed to protect us are actually not here to protect us,” said Jefferson’s sister, Amber Carr. “You know, you want to see justice, but justice don’t bring my sister back.”
    Neighbor James Smith, who called police about the open door, told reporters he was just trying to be a good neighbor. “I’m shaken,” he said. “I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault. If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive.”

    Smith said Jefferson and her nephew typically lived with an older woman, who has been in hospital. “It makes you not want to call the police department,” he said.
    The bodycam video released to media did include blurred still frames showing a gun inside a bedroom at the home. It was unclear if the firearm was found near Jefferson.

    Yes, because everyone knows a black person with a gun is the most dangerous thing in the world.

    Yeah, the implied victim blaming of including that gratuitous still is disgusting, but the fact remains that in a society that encourages it’s citizens to arm themselves, and carry guns everywhere they go so that they can “defend” themselves, cops should not be shooting armed people just because *they have a gun*, at the very least not until they point said weapon at them, (and even that is problematic) because shit is confusing and who knows what a person hears or doesn’t hear at such moments.

    Not to mention that if I had 2 unknown guys sneaking around my house at night shining flashlights in my windows, your Dawg Damned right I’m grabbing my .357, AND calling 911 for whatever good that might do me.

    **otherwise known as “exercising their 2nd Amendment rights”

  3. Tyrell says:

    The General Motors strike

    Upon seeing the news of a GM workers strike my first thought was that I had somehow stepped through a time warp and wound up in the 1960’s or ‘70’s.
    A strike? Why now? Why GM? I thought they restructured and had things straightened out after the big recession bailout. GM employees are wanting a package that works out to $63/hour counting benefits. Ford workers get about $60/hr. But the problem is that any gains now could cost them a lot in the future. GM is not the giant corporation they were back in the 1950’s – 1980’s.
    Pontiac and Oldsmobile are long gone. Saturn never worked out like they planned. The workers are also wanting GM to save plant closures by bringing back work from Mexico. That will be even harder to pull off. I can’t recall a union being able to stop plants from closing or moving. Increasing electric car production will reduce the employee numbers by 30-40%; electric cars require less workers and time to assemble. But ev sales will continue to lag because of high sticker prices and range issues.
    The workers and management need to take a look at things in perspective: how will this affect the future of GM. Look at Eastern Air Lines.
    The whole concept of workers unions is an outdated format. What needs to be the new arrangement should be a management – workers organization in which these things would be worked on, managed in an ongoing consensus: known also as site based management. The contract concept needs to be changed.
    The big elephant is the costly baby boomer retirement and health benefits packages that have to be paid for by a decreasing work force. This is hitting the large corporations and governments. Look at Illinois and other states losing people because of tax increases to keep the state from going broke.
    “GM’s Strike Is About UAW Leadership’s Grasp For Relevance, Not A Nonexistent Shift To Electric Cars” (Forbes)
    Next time: GM history timeline: “Mark of Excellence”?

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:


    GM’s Strike Is About UAW Leadership’s Grasp For Relevance, Not A Nonexistent Shift To Electric Cars (Forbes)

    Forbes predictably parroting and justifying the stance of management’s taking the money and running..

  5. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: GM’s CEO makes $10,577 per hour. I’m sure the Forbes article was very critical of that, and didn’t just focus on the working class guys.

  6. CSK says:

    Good article: “A Short History of the Trump Family,” by Sidney Blumenthal in the London Review of Books.

    You may have to register. It’s free.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: He works sooooooo hard for that money.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Another for the “Headlines I Never Thought I’d See” file: Andy Serkis plays talking anus in fatberg prevention campaign

  9. Sleeping Dog says:

    It appears now that she wasn’t holding a gun (which she legally possessed), but a video game controller. A report this morning revealed she was playing a video game with her nephew.

  10. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Trump’s big China agreement isn’t an agreement…or all that big.
    Once again Trump has been played; turns out trade wars ARE hard to win.
    No wonder that fat orange fuq went bankrupt 6 times.

  11. al Ameda says:


    The workers and management need to take a look at things in perspective: how will this affect the future of GM. Look at Eastern Air Lines.

    Yes, look at Eastern Airlines.
    Just another chapter in the Trump bankruptcy experience.

    Donald Trump owned Eastern Airlines for a short time in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1989, Trump raised $365 million to purchase the Eastern Shuttle, which provided business travelers with quick flights between New York, Boston, and Washington. Within 18 months, the airline lost over $125 million, and by 1992, Trump decided it was time to walk away.

    Trump knows bankruptcy.

  12. Kathy says:

    Remember how many of the problems in Boeing’s 737 MAX family of aircraft derive from extensive modifications on the 737s, a design over 50 years old?

    Well, between that problem, and problems with their newest generation 777 wide body, Boeing has apparently stopped or slowed work on their mid-market airplane, notionally called the Boeing 797. But rumors are swirling about taking an existing design and modifying it. The objective seems to to be giving new engines to the 767, as well as adding some other improvements. This is being called the 767-X.

    The idea is not outrageous. The 767 was not designed as a small regional jet capable of operating at airports with minimal capabilities. So ti can be re-engined, much as the rival Airbus A320 and A330 families have been to good effect.

    But Boeing is missing out on new developments. The 767 was a perfectly good airplane for its time (early 1980s), and plenty are still around. In fact, the freighter version is still in production, as is a military aerial refueling tanker version (albeit plagued with many issues).

    There has been some progress since then, though. Specifically the extensive use of lighter composites in Boeing’s current crown jewel, the 787 Dreamliner. This offers amny advantages beyond saving fuel through reduced mass, like the ability to pressurize the plane for a higher altitude equivalent, or the ability to carry air with higher humidity.

    I would add the same criticism to Airbus for coming up with the A320neo and A330neo families, but at least they haven’t been at it for 50 years (just thirty).

  13. Scott says:


    The big elephant is the costly baby boomer retirement and health benefits packages that have to be paid for by a decreasing work force.

    These benefits are deferred income already earned. When the stockholders and management give out bonuses, dividends, are allow looting by private equity firms, they are stealing already earned income. This framing about poor companies being eaten alive by retirees has to stop.

    People criticize the post office for having to prepay health benefits. No, this sounds like good practice to me.

  14. Scott says:

    There was a full page ad in yesterday’s San Antonio Express News for Don, Jr, Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Brad Parscale visiting Tuesday at a local country club (not too far from my house.)

    Given that Don Jr left his wife and five children for Kimberly and they’re traveling around the country together, I am assuming the topics will be family values and nepotism.

  15. DrDaveT says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson: It’s fascinating to watch Orwell’s vision for the abuse of language playing out before our very eyes. I would never have thought it could happen to this extent in the US during my lifetime. And yet, there are voting idiots out there who will read this (and its myriad brethren) and actually believe that it is Nancy Pelosi, and not Donald Trump, who is destroying the international reputation of the US, giving aid to our enemies, trampling the rule of law, and injecting irrevocable vertigo into the Balance of Powers.

    Moderators: note that Ms. Ericson never posts more than one comment, posts oddly-formatted prefab text, and does not respond to challenges. Sounds like a drive-by bot; you might want to consider banning the account.

  16. Scott says:

    @DrDaveT: The link attached to her name goes to a bare minimum site that says she is running for Congress from Vermont as an independent. It is either phony or vanity. Can’t decide.

  17. Teve says:

    Nancy Pelosi’s tongue is cruel and barbarous, and
    totally unworthy of the position of Speaker of the House.
    She has excited domestic insurrection amongst us.

    I think that was stolen from a Ken Burns Civil War episode. 😀

  18. al Ameda says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson:

    Open Letter to the Unites States Congress:
    to Rep. Jeff Van Drew, Democratic Party, New Jersey;
    Rep. Kendra Horn, Democratic Party, Oklahoma;
    Rep. Collin Peterson, Democratic Party, Minnesota;
    Rep. Anthony Brindisi, Democratic Party, New York.

    October 14, 2019
    Dear Democratic Party Members
    in the United States Congress,
    House of Representatives:
    Please file a

    If we had a normal functioning EPA this letter would be classified as a Super Fund Site, and Republicans who ‘crafted’ this letter would be quarantined at Guantanamo.

  19. Guarneri says:

    Hunter Biden’s belated action in establishing an appearance of propriety years too late. Hunter’s declaration that he won’t take any more foreign-owned board assignments if his father is president underscores the fact that he shouldn’t have taken them when his father was vice-president, either.

    Ya don’t say…………

  20. DrDaveT says:


    Hunter Biden’s belated action […]

    Kurds are dying as we speak. You could at least pause briefly in your pathetic trolling as a token of sympathy; I know actual shame is beyond you.

  21. Gustopher says:


    Upon seeing the news of a GM workers strike my first thought was that I had somehow stepped through a time warp and wound up in the 1960’s or ‘70’s.

    I hope all the newfangled devices and the short skirts didn’t frighten you.

    I’m still not sure how you have a time warp to 2019.

  22. Gustopher says:

    @Guarneri: sure, but none of this says that the President asking a foreign government to investigate his political rivals is fine, let alone holding up military aid until that happens.

  23. Jay L Gischer says:

    These days I feel like cutting Guarneri a little slack (not that I agree with his postings as a general rule) because I feel sure that he, at least, is a real person, not a bot, or Russian sock puppet.

    Ms Cris Ericson, I’m not so sure about. Nor can I discern the purpose to her posting.

    I guess it might be similar to our concerns about the right-wing media bubble. Some conservative acquaintances were constantly getting exercised about how “the MSM is not covering this story!!!1!11!”

    In this case, there’s a good reason: Republicans forwarded a motion that says they don’t like Nancy Pelosi. In other news, it’s expected to snow in parts of the country including Alaska this winter.

  24. Moosebreath says:


    “Hunter Biden’s belated action in establishing an appearance of propriety years too late. Hunter’s declaration that he won’t take any more foreign-owned board assignments if his father is president underscores the fact that he shouldn’t have taken them when his father was vice-president, either.”

    Meanwhile, Ivanka and Jared and Don Jr. and Eric do not even bother establishing an appearance of propriety when their father (or father-in-law) actually is President. And you call at their feet because of it.

  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson:

    by making
    unfounded and un-tried accusations against
    President Donald Trump

    Um…Trump has admitted to it.

  26. Tyrell says:

    @al Ameda: Eastern was big around here – had all the best gates. I had a relative and friends who worked for Eastern*. They got paid very well compared to most of the other airlines and local industries back then. They would hire college students to clean and straighten up the cabins nights and weekends. They paid them $5 – $7/hour. That was when the minimum wage was around $2/hour. A relative kept telling his fellow workers not to be too greedy at contract time. Then the airline industry was de-regulated and they lost their gate monopoly. They went down after that. Frank Borman tried to get them going but couldn’t.
    *The airline of Eddie Rickenbacker, one of America’s most amazing persons. He was a war hero and raced in the Indy 500 four times. Then he took Eastern and made it a great company. When I was a kid I heard adults talk about him. Yet most people today have never heard of him. What are they teaching in history now a days?

  27. CSK says:

    @Tyrell: It’s true that the old Boston-NY-DC shuttle was great. Then Trump bought it and wrecked it.

  28. de stijl says:


    [Mandolin playing funereal lament]

    [Camera slowly pans across tintype of Confederate camp photo]

    My Dearest Mother,

    We are beset by hooligans in frocks.

    Our fine boys are bewitched and enscorceled by camp followers of questionable loyalty to the great cause. The situation engenders great distress in my heart, but the blessed Almighty gives me strength.

    One such papist Jezebel, named Miss Nancy Pelosi, openly spreads seditious gossip as she surely opens her legs, if you will permit the crudity.


    (Writing fake civil war letters is hard to maintain after a sentence or two. “My dearest Mother” does half the lifting.)

  29. Kathy says:


    Eastern went broke trying to adapt to deregulation, more or less. Pan Am’s story is a bit more complicated, and I lack all the facts. But the shuttle services in the northeast were incredibly profitable (though not so they could sustain the rest of the airline).

    From what I’ve read about Trump’s foray into aviation, he wrecked it by meddling with a successful business model in a business he knew nothing about.

    Much as he has been doing with the country these days.

  30. Matt says:

    @Kathy: Once again the 737 max designs (there are several generations prior to the current) were perfectly fine as they behaved just the same as prior 737s. Only when they moved the engines did they upset the usual handling. Which was only a problem because Boeing wanted the plane to handle exactly the same as prior 737s to avoid re-certification and other “costly” stuff. The problem was the MCAS was thrown together and modified heavily before being finalized and installed. So much so that the current MCAS doesn’t even match the specs/information that was given to the FAA. Without the MCAS the 737 max flies a bit differently than regular 737s with a nose pitch up tendency which can be easily accounted for by the pilot. Such a tendency though would require the plane to go through a series of new certifications. Pilots would have to be specifically certified for those versions of the 737 max which adds further cost on the airlines part. The MCAS was the sole problem with the up engined max series..

  31. Kathy says:


    The original design was meant to be able to operate at airports with minimal facilities. it was low to the ground because not all airports had the means to unload cargo and luggage from higher up. all the designs of small planes from that general era are low to the ground. But the other major ones, like the 727, DC-9 and even the Vickers VC-10, had the engines at the tail, not on the wings.

    This didn’t matter until the MAX, as the engines were not that big, and the nacelles could be made with a flat bottom. The MAX engines are larger, and didn’t fit anymore. This required raising the plane a bit, which introduces plenty of ancillary changes, and, as has been noted, moving the engines forward.

    So, yes, the problem with the MCAS was a cost-saving measure to expedite certification, and allow pilots rated on earlier versions to just move to the MAX without having to qualify for a new rating. But that was because the older design had been surpassed by other developments.

    A 767-X is not a terrible idea. It would have been better if they’d thought of it before retiring the plane from their passenger lineup, but ok. We’re not likely to see the same issues that afflict the MAX, but there will be other issues.

    For instance, there are still a fair number of 767s and 757s out there. They have a common pilot rating, meaning you can fly both it you are rated on either one. So…

  32. Ms. Cris Ericson says:

    To those of you who took your time to criticize me or my originality:
    I am a perennial political candidate in Vermont.
    I am a senior citizen now.
    I will not be put in a pre-conceived box and told how to write because I value creativity.
    I have been on the official election ballot in Vermont every two years starting 2002, and have been on the primary election or general election ballot as an Independent, a Democrat, a Republican and for the United States Marijuana Party.
    I was the first candidate running for Governor of Vermont in 2002 who dared to say the word “marijuana” during a live televised debate.
    I have filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission for exclusion from television debates which were in part federally funded by our taxpayer dollars.
    I have ten years of litigation experience in federally regulated toxic hazardous substances.
    I have an amazing first hand knowledge of how corrupt some of our government officials are.
    I have been in live televised debates as a candidate, on the official election ballot,
    running against Bernie Sanders.
    In one debate he said that the F-35 Strike Fighter Jets have “no nuclear components” and I said he was not telling the truth to voters. Hundreds of people in Chittenden County were forced to move from their homes to make way for these jets.
    I did work for an aerospace contractor after college, briefly, building fuel and brake fluid hoses for jets from blueprints, and I knew where to research the truth.
    Now, people living in the most populated county in Vermont are suffering from the noise level of the F-35 strike fighter jets. If one jet crashes over Lake Champlain then 1/3 of Vermonters will lose their drinking water.



    Because I am wrongfully excluded from the majority of debates and forums, I get few votes. Hopefully the FEC will get another Commissioner and address my long list of complaints.

  33. de stijl says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson:

    I don’t live in Vermont, so this basically moot.

    Based on your statements I would never vote for you, but your dedication to public service and policy change must be applauded.

    It’s a hard road.

    I hope you never win office, but I admire your chutzpah. My bit of advice is to listen more than you speak. That’s solid advice for everyone.

  34. de stijl says:

    Please seek out professional help. Your compulsions do not define you. I wish you well, good health, and happy days.

  35. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    Dearest Mother,

    The indignities continue. The blood of Kurds stains our hands like the Nacho Cheese from the Doritos. Our most honorable commandos of the keyboard are in the most untenable position, and I am afeared for their surety and safety.

    We await foreign assistance.

    Pray for us, and I will pray for you Mrs. Pence,
    Jetho Beaugard Beaufort
    October 14th, 2019

    Is it less weird if everyone calls Mike Pence’s wife mother, or if just he does it?

  36. de stijl says:

    Guided By Voices – Motor Away

    Best song ever?

  37. de stijl says:


    Ommfg, you almost provoked an aneurysm – you came close to killing me.

    I haven’t laughed that hard in ages.

  38. de stijl says:


    “We await foreign assistance.”

    You, like Buffy, are a once in a generation slayer.

  39. de stijl says:

    Too late for those not already invested, but “Lodge 49” is the best show* on TV. Season finale in a few minutes.

    You can stream on AMC’s service / app.

    * Mr. Robot is a compelling counter-argument.

  40. de stijl says:

    “Lodge 49” is the best critique of 2019 capitalism extant.

  41. Teve says:

    Peter Baker

    Breaking: Bolton instructed aide to report Giuliani pressure campaign to White House lawyer. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton said, according to testimony to House investigators.

    Peter Baker

    On another occasion, he said, “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up,” according to testimony by Fiona Hill.

    Jon Favreau
    Will be interesting watching Trump try to discredit Deep State Democrat John Bolton.

    Kevin M. Kruse
    Add him to the long list of administration figures he insists never should have been hired.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: I think we have a “won the internet” here today 😀

  43. de stijl says:


    It’s going to really mess with my world view if John Bolton ends up being the bucking The Man “good guy” in this story.

    I’ll process it eventually.

    This is def an unexpected twist.

  44. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Gustopher’s “We await foreign assistance” bit nearly killed me. It induced a spasm.

  45. Kit says:

    What’s the deal with this password-protected system that Trump is using to hide the transcripts of his phone calls? Can he leave office and forget to hand over the password? Can he have the contents erased?

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @Ms. Cris Ericson: If you want to actually have attention paid to you and have a chance in any election, you’ll modify your writing style and will stop with the conspiracy theories.

    As it is, you’re coming across as a senile granny who believes in contrails and aliens held in storage at Area 51.

  47. Teve says:

    “You will note that in the Trump video, he’s not killing Assad, or ISIS fighters, or Putin, or Kim, or Xi … for many of this president’s supporters, the glorious promise of Trump is the feeling they get imagining him hurting the Americans they despise.” –