Saturday’s Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. de stijl says:

    Yesterday morning out walking I found a $20 bill. Stuck to a clump of grass next to the sidewalk on a major thoroughfare. All wrinkly. Been outside and rained on at least once.

    I eyeballed it for ten seconds to determine there wasn’t a fish hook embedded. Too good to be true, there has to be a catch.

    Nope. Just a twenty dollar bill in the wild. When I first saw it I saw the 0 and I assumed it was ten dollars.

    I’m not hurting for money, but 20 bucks for free is appreciated.

  2. Jen says:

    Jimmy Buffett has passed away. Hopefully enjoying a Cheeseburger in Paradise.

  3. Scott says:

    @Jen: Just saw that. Was a fan since the 70s. Part of my young adulthood. His blend of musical genres was pretty close to unique.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    Packing up day here at the lake. It’s been a great two weeks. Sitting in a kayak in a mountain lake and hearing nothing but the wind and the water just resets me.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Plan for 55,000-acre utopia dreamed by Silicon Valley elites unveiled

    The story can be summed up as “Galt’s Gulch meets NIMBY,” tho I am unsure if the Galt’s Gulch is truly applicable to their plans. That is their own damned fault tho for keeping this whole thing tightly under wraps for the past 4 years while they were buying up the land for it. People instinctively impart evil intents behind projects planned in secret.

    “Why don’t they want me to know?”

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From ‘Astonishingly cruel’: Alabama seeks to test execution method on death row ‘guinea pig’:

    Foa added that Alabama’s new published protocol for death-by-nitrogen was “alarmingly vague – officials evidently don’t know what they are doing and are hoping for the best. The state is treating a human being like a guinea pig in a laboratory and calling it justice.”

    The protocol includes a brief passage on nitrogen hypoxia that has large sections hidden from public view. “This is a vague, sloppy, dangerous and unjustifiably deficient protocol made all the more incomprehensible by heavy redaction in the most important places,” said Deborah Denno, a law professor at the Fordham University law school who has done pioneering research on execution methods.

    The protocol, the first that a state has released publicly for nitrogen, indicates that the gas will be pumped into Smith through a “mask assembly”, which will be connected to “breathing gas tubing”. “The mask will be placed and adjusted on the condemned inmate’s face”, it says, and then after the prisoner has been allowed to make a final statement “the Warden will activate the nitrogen hypoxia system”.

    The gas will be passed through the mask into the prisoner for 15 minutes, or for five minutes beyond the moment that he flatlines, whichever is longer, the protocol says.
    Joel Zivot, a professor of anesthesiology and an expert in lethal injections at Emory University, said that even the term “nitrogen hypoxia” was a misnomer. “Hypoxia means low in oxygen, so someone has combined that with nitrogen and called it a thing. Medically, it’s not a thing – there is no such thing as nitrogen hypoxia. It’s a made-up term,” Zivot said.

    Yep, that’s got Alabama written all over it.

  7. de stijl says:


    I read about that earlier this week, but never made the connection to Galt’s Gulch which is spot on perfect. How did I not make the connection?

    I read one of Ayn Rand’s books in my early teens. A hundred pages of another before I stopped. Holy crap! That was the stupidest, boringest, pointless drivel, propogandiest shit I’d ever read. I was a youth, but books were my friends. I knew when one was deliberately trying to sell me an unearned bill of goods. The silliest characterization of purported human being characters ever. Obvious archetypes so obvious you had to laugh at the attempt.

    No one talks like that ever. This is obvious propaganda.

    Indoctrination failed. I openly mocked Randian libertarianism for decades. So facile, so silly, so unserious, so self-absorbed. It offended me fundamentally.

  8. Michael Cain says:


    …keeping this whole thing tightly under wraps for the past 4 years while they were buying up the land for it.

    Wonder if they’ve been buying up senior water rights to go with it? That would actually be harder to hide. I don’t know the details of California’s water law, but it’s as complicated as any other western state. Repurposing water rights usage is often difficult — eg, seniority for use for agriculture may not transfer to use for a city.

  9. CSK says:


    Creepy. I’m getting Celebration, Florida vibes.

  10. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    I cannot in good conscience keep that $20 bill I found. It is unearned.

    Next time I encounter someone asking for alms, I’m giving them twenty bucks. Destiny loaned me $20 l don’t need. I owe that back to the universe plus interest.


    A couple years back I was outside of Target waiting for a taxi. A guy walked up to the outside ashtray and scooped some of the half smoked cigarettes. He sat in the shade, smoked, and chilled. He caused no harm to no one, was minding his own business.

    I noted him. After waiting a half hour for the taxi, I walked over and gave him $20 bucks, an almost full pack of Marlboros, and a lighter.

    The local cops showed up. Some Karen/Ken ratted him out to the cops and dude was doing nothing at all to anyone except existing. One of the cops that arrived was sporting a Punisher patch on his city issued uniform.

  11. CSK says:

    Mohammed Al Fayed, Dodi Fayed’s father and owner of Harrod’s, has died at 94.

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: When the characters are obviously unreal, they’re not archetypes, but I forget what the term is. Perhaps stereotypes?

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Utah woman who gave online parenting advice via a popular YouTube channel has been arrested on suspicion of aggravated child abuse after her malnourished son escaped out of a window and ran to a nearby house for help, authorities said.

    Ruby Franke, whose now defunct channel “8 Passengers” followed her family, was arrested on Wednesday night in the southern Utah city of Ivins. She was taken into custody at the home of Jodi Hildebrandt, who owns a counseling business she says teaches people to improve their lives by being honest, responsible and humble.

    Franke has recently appeared in YouTube videos with Hildebrandt posted by Hildebrandt’s counseling business, ConneXions Classroom.

    The neighbor saw duct tape on the boy’s ankles and wrists and called law enforcement, the affidavit said. The boy was taken to hospital, where he was put on a medical hold “due to his deep lacerations from being tied up with rope and from his malnourishment”, arrest records said.

    Franke’s 10-year-old daughter was later found malnourished in Hildebrandt’s house and was also taken to hospital, officers said. Two other of Franke’s children were in the custody of child protection services, the affidavit said.

    Franke and Hildebrandt were arrested on suspicion of two felony counts of aggravated child abuse, though charges had not been filed, according to authorities.

    I can’t help wondering what kind of parenting advice she dispensed: “Duct tape is good for shutting up the whiny little brats when they are hungry. Also works for quick and easy hair removal. No more barbershops!”​

  14. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Flat (one dimensional) character?

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: I only read the Fountainhead, more than enough to convince this union carpenter that she was full of it. I did manage to finish it but only because of the painful latent stupidity that kept me laughing till the end.

    @Michael Cain: Good point! I hadn’t even considered water rights. Here in Misery it’s just not an issue.

    @CSK: I had never heard of Celebration, Florida before.

  16. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m going with CSK – caricature.

    Rand described and voiced people who did not exist and said things no person has ever said, would ever say. In pursuit of propaganda for a seriously demented political philosophy.

    If you have to invent characters that act and speak like aliens mimicking actual human people and human speech patterns, you have obviously failed.

    I read fully the one about trains and metals and Dagny (bad-ass name) and some supposed ubermensch named Roland or Ronald or Roald or somesuch who blatted on for twenty pages about a very disturbed understanding of liberty and civil society.

    Ayn Rand taught me what propaganda looks like and feels like. Folks nowadays would call it gaslightling.

    Yet, her work has found an audience even until today.

  17. CSK says:


    It’s been around for about 20 years. It’s grotesque.

  18. charontwo says:

    Piece at Politico on the effect of partisanship on health and life expectancy. Very long but also very interesting, lots of graphics and details. Here are the opening paragraphs:


    Where you live in America can have a major effect on how young you die.

    On paper, Lexington County, S.C., and Placer County, Calif., have a lot in common. They’re both big, wealthy, suburban counties with white supermajorities that border on their respective state’s capital cities. They both were at the vanguard of their states’ 20th century Republican advances — Lexington in the 1960s when it pivoted from the racist Dixiecrats; Placer with the Reagan Revolution in 1980 — and twice voted for Donald Trump by wide margins. But when it comes to how long their residents can count on living, the parallels fall apart. Placer has a Scandinavia-like life expectancy of 82.3 years. In Lexington, the figure is 77.7, a little worse than China’s.

    Or take Maine’s far-flung Washington County, the poorest in New England where the per capita income is $27,437. The county is a hardscrabble swath of blueberry fields, forestland and fishing ports that was ravaged by the opioid epidemic and is almost completely white. It has one of the worst life expectancies in the entire Northeast: 75.5 years. But that’s more than six years better than the equally remote, forested, impoverished, white and drug-battered Perry County of eastern Kentucky.

    The truth of life expectancy in America is that places with comparable profiles — similar advantages and similar problems — have widely different average life outcomes depending on what part of the country they belong to.

    Step back and look at a map of life expectancy across the country and the geographic patterns are as dramatic as they are obvious. If you live pretty much anywhere in the contiguous U.S., you can expect to live more than 78 years, unless you’re in the Deep South or the sprawling region I call Greater Appalachia, a region that stretches from southwestern Pennsylvania to the Ozarks and the Hill Country of Texas. Those two regions — which include all or parts of 16 deep red states and a majority of the House Republican caucus — have a life expectancy of 77, more than four and a half years lower than on the blue-leaning Pacific coastal plain. In the smaller, redder regional culture of New France (in southern Louisiana) the gap is just short of six years. So large are the regional gaps that the poorest set of counties in predominantly blue Yankee Northeast actually have higher life expectancies than the wealthiest ones in the Deep South. At a population level, a difference of five years is like the gap separating the U.S. from decidedly unwealthy Mongolia, Belarus or Libya, and six years gets you to impoverished El Salvador and Egypt.

    It’s as if we are living in different countries. Because in a very real historical and political sense, we are.

    The geography of U.S. life expectancy — and the policy environments that determine it — is the result of differences that are regional, cultural and political, with roots going back centuries to the people who arrived on the continent with totally different ideas about equality, the proper role of government, and the correct balance point between individual liberty and the common good. Once you understand how the country was colonized — and by whom — a number of insights into Americans’ overall health and longevity are revealed, along with some paths to improve the situation.

    Highlighting this:

    One example: States that have expanded Medicaid eligibility have seen significant reductions in premature deaths while those that have not have seen increases. At this writing, 11 states still haven’t expanded the state-implemented program even though almost the entire burden of doing so comes from the federal government. All but two of those states are controlled by the Deep South and Greater Appalachia. Just one — Wisconsin — is in Yankeedom, and its Democratic governor has been trying to expand it through a (vigorously gerrymandered) Republican legislature. Expansion was a no-brainer for Republican administrations in Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, New Hampshire and Vermont, but a bridge too far for their colleagues further south.

    A curiosity (possibly) showing the effects of culture:

    Analyzing Hispanic life expectancy provides some fresh twists. Hispanics actually have much higher life expectancy than whites in the U.S. Researchers call this the “Hispanic Paradox” because it confounds the usual associations between socioeconomic status and life expectancy, and they’ve spent considerable time trying to understand why without reaching a solid consensus. It has been established — by demographers Alberto Palloni and Elizabeth Arias — that Cuban and Puerto Rican Americans don’t have better life expectancy than whites, but Mexican-Americans do.

    Which also tracks the blue-red divide.

  19. charontwo says:

    Andy Beshear says the scheme enacted by Republicans in the KY legislature in 2021 to try to force him to appoint a Republican if McConnell can’t finish his term violates both the U.S. and KY Constitutions.

  20. gVOR10 says:

    @de stijl:

    Yet, her (Ayn Rand’s) work has found an audience even until today.

    Alan Greenspan, Fed Chair under Reagan, was part of Rand’s inner circle. He read Atlas Shrugged in draft form as she wrote it. (Maybe it was more palatable in small doses.) When he described himself as an “Objectivist” in front of a congressional committee he should have been laughed out of the room.

    I read IIRC The Fountainhead and parts of Atlas Shrugged in High School and had the same reaction you did. Corporations don’t act this way. People don’t talk like this. And Gary Cooper blew up an apartment building someone else owned. Didn’t property rights mean anything?

  21. CSK says:


    I was 14 when I first tried to read The Fountainhead. My reaction to the opening, where Howard Roark stands naked at the edge of a cliff laughing because he’s just been kicked out of architect school, was “Oh, come on.”

  22. Grumpy realist says:

    @de stijl: I’m too lazy to post the link, but there’s a Bob the Angry Flower cartoon (Atlas Shrugged Part II) which does a marvelous job in a few short panels demonstrating exactly what is wrong with the whole Randian ethos.

    There’s also the chastened comments made by Alan Greenspan when he was forcibly confronted with the fact that humans don’t act the way Rand says they do.

  23. CSK says:

    Bill Richardson, 75, has died.

  24. Mister Bluster says:

    Bill Richardson, U.S. diplomat and troubleshooter, dead at 75
    WASHINGTON, Sept 2 (Reuters) – Bill Richardson, a former U.S. diplomat, congressman, energy secretary and New Mexico governor who made his mark on the world stage by securing the release of Americans and others held by various autocratic governments, has died at the age of 75, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement said on Saturday.
    Richardson, who made an unsuccessful 2008 bid to become the first Hispanic U.S. president, passed away in his sleep at his summer home in Chatham, Massachusetts, vice president of the Richardson Center Mickey Bergman said in a statement.

  25. steve says:

    Father was ultra-conservative and went through an anarchy-capitlaist period which he somehow reconciled with the religious cult we lived in. Anyway, I had to read all of Rand’s books. Thought they were pretty bad and it was unrealistic (says the guy who loves sci-fi). It was also very obviously preachy and I hated that. A book that makes a point within the context fo a good story is OK. A book where characters repeatedly have long monologues pushing some POV just suck.


  26. CSK says:


    You suspend disbelief when you read sci-fi.

  27. BugManDan says:

    I watched the 3 part Atlas Shrugged movie, and it was even worse than the book for unbelievable speeches, actions, etc. The one thing it had going for it over the book was that it took less time to get to the end.

  28. de stijl says:


    He was too pure and righteous for that architect school run by bureaucrats and lackeys. He needed to architect the fuck out of so many socially prominent buildings that his beautiful structures would make the plebiscite, the hoi polloi would question the very nature of the governmental pact. The buildings he designed were that powerful and transcendental it would transform society itself.

    Um, nope. Not gonna happen. What was she thinking? (Hey, after 45 some years I came pretty close with Roland, Ronald, Roald guestimation.) Roark is easily within shouting distance, IMHO.

    I remember trying to read the last bit where she laid out the philosophy and world view with polemics and I was so checked out. I was simultaneously bored and extremely annoyed.

    I’m fairly sure I’m conflating several of her books into one big narrative. Know what? I don’t fucking care. Usually, I would be way more precise about plot and characters and which book had which bit, but plot and characters meant nothing to her – it was a means to an end. It let her soliloquize on her favorite topic through a gossamer thin character veneer.

  29. dazedandconfused says:

    @de stijl:

    I suspect Rand had an acute case of PTSD…as in Post Traumatic Stalin Disorder. It’s not uncommon in the families which suffered deeply but survived his reign, and the condition can be passed down in some degree for at least two generations (so far).

    The man left deep, deep scars. Ayn’s fantasy world seems to be the Marxist/Stalinist one turned precisely inside out. It appears an escape but it incorporates the same fundamental error of human society and nature being manageable affairs, so it’s anything but.

  30. de stijl says:


    I understand and am sympathetic, but I am in no way obligated to read her drivel.

    She is perhaps the worst storyteller of the prominent 20th century authors. Her books suck so hard. Blatant maladaptive use, complete misunderstanding of the hero journey.

    I’m all for subverting expectations for cool and intetesting effect, but her characters exist to spout polemics. Be types. It’s hyperjuvenile. It’s cartoonish.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Years ago, a fellow faculty member* at the community college at which I taught used Rand’s Night of January 16th as the text for his major project paper for the end of the term. Students were to play the role of juror and write a essay fleshing out the rationale for the verdict they supported. Given that I’d decided to read the play, he asked me what my verdict would be and why.

    Briefly, I would vote for conviction and for the death penalty because I have the power to choose that outcome, and it meets my needs.**

    His response was to the effect that I wasn’t supposed come to that conclusion.

    *Said faculty member was a major league objectivist and supporter of the Libertarian Party in Washington State (no surprise there).
    **Which is, essentially, the argument made by the accused for the crime that precipitated the murder/suicide/McGuffin that provides the grist of the story.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @steve: Obviously preachy was a feature of dystopian fiction of the period. The same thing happens in 1984 and Brave New World. Also, with a slightly different twist in the extended monologues in The Old Man and the Sea where Santiago is talking to the fish. (Which several students found to be moronic until I explained the device to them–and which caused me to wonder if their teacher hadn’t explained it or if it just stuck when explained by an outsider.)

  33. de stijl says:


    The Chicago Boys and Pinochet in Chile were running an experiment. How far can we push this?

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Rand’s work, especially the novella Anthem, works really well for teaching students how rhetorical theory functions. They deconstruct really well, too, because of what we’ve all been noticing here. They’re made to order for showing how text fails when confronted by its internal inconsistencies.

  35. de stijl says:


    You suspend disbelief partially and conditionally. And not just with sci-fi, but with all fiction.

    I always try to come into a piece open and accepting, but I am me and will not follow every path. I just won’t. I think Heinlien is wrong and fascist adjacent, and I’m not going to accept that.

    I will be open to the premise within reason, but I’m not going to swallow the conclusion the author chose to go to without thinking it through.

    I’m open-minded, I’m not an idiot. (Okay, sometimes I am an idiot.)

  36. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Do you recall if your colleague told you how his students voted?

  37. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Wait, wut?!

    Are you saying Animal Farm is a preachy allegory?

    My favorite Orwell book is Down and Out in Paris and London. It’s not allegory. It’s not future dystopia. It’s a straight up telling of what it is like to be really poor and barely scraping by in a big city.

    I have been really very poor before. I have been briefly between addresses before. Life is often cruel and hard.

    I vibe with that work more so than with his more famous ones.

    My dumb-ass university in the north ass end of St. Paul hosted one of the world’s biggest academic symposiums on Orwell’s 1984 in 1984. Why would such a pedestrian Midwestern liberal arts school host such a prestigious gathering of scholars and thinkers?

    Basically we called dibs in the late 79 and invited people to come in 1984.

    I myself was doubly obligated. I was at that time sort of a philosophy major in good standing and an attentive student so I was asked to help with the hosting process.

    Simultaneously, I was a senior person in campus security.

    Hamline pulled in a staggering number of world renowned thinkers and artists to talk about Orwell’s 1984 and present their stuff basically because they called dibs first.

    We were the second best school in town from an academic perspective. Macalester had a better faculty. St.Thomas was way bigger.

    But we called dibs. Calling dibs is surprisingly effective.

  38. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    What do you mean by “all fiction”? There’s Fictional Realism, which is written precisely so you can recognize the characters and situations as life-like. You don’t have to suspend disbelief, because the premise is/could be entirely feasible.

    With science fiction you DO have to suspend disbelief to accept a premise such as Lizard People invading the earth four hundred years from now.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    All that you need to know about Libertarians is that they remain completely committed to the obvious rightness of their philosophy despite the fact that everywhere Libertarian principles have been tried on a small or even large (Kansas) basis it’s been an abject failure – and they learn nothing from those failures. In fact, the failures go right down the memory hole and are never even acknowledged.

    The only thing you need to know about Ayn Rand is that her Uber-character, Roark, was persecuted by the establishment for his radically pure taste in architecture. He espoused (drum role) modernism. In the real world, as opposed to Rand’s hysterical caricature, the establishment was busy commissioning modernist buildings like the the Chrysler Building and well, everything by Frank Lloyd Wright. In other words, like a typical melodramatic 13 year old she was seething with self righteousness over the fools who couldn’t see the genius of her insights, which were of course insights most of the world had been having quite nicely without her histrionics.

  40. de stijl says:


    With all fiction I have to be the unseen observer who witnesses conversations and sees people I never could IRL. I am a portable invisible witness or I am in someone else’s head
    and see what they are seeing, or I am the camera.

    Unless the narration / narrator is unreliable.

    Every piece of fiction either written or visual requires you to cede control. Even the most banal two camera sit-com. There is no way for me to witness this unless I am the camera.

  41. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    Ceding control isn’t at all the same thing as suspending disbelief.

  42. Gustopher says:

    Of the various recent deaths… I thought Bob Barker and Jimmy Buffet were already dead — like, many years dead. I have no idea what this means other than I’m getting old, but it’s weird seeing that these people died (again?).

    Not sure I thought about Bill Richardson at all, but that just seems normal.

  43. de stijl says:


    Please describe what you mean by suspension of disbelief.

    I think we are talking past each other.

  44. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    It’s when you willingly avoid thinking critically or logically about something that’s unreal or impossible. That’s the literary definition, anyway, and the one I’ve always used, and is in fact the standard definition of the phrase. Hence my example about Lizard People invading the earth. Science fiction requires a willing suspension of disbelief.

  45. Mimai says:

    At the risk of outing myself as an unsophisticate, I rather enjoyed the experience of reading Rand’s books as a youngster. Strident, self-righteous monologues pinged this young mind just right.

    I wasn’t looking for high prose at the time — indeed, it would’ve certainly been lost on me. What I did find, and what did resonate, was a seemingly coherent philosophy that challenged my existing worldview. Challenged it hard.

    The Virtue of Selfishness, in particular, pushed against the (my) received wisdom and morals and ethics. And I enjoyed that quite a lot. Still do, though in much different ways these days. Suspending (dis)belief != suspending beliefs.

    So I tip my hat to Rand (and many other writers) in gratitude for shaking up this young mind.

    And with that out of the way, I’ll let folks return to a favorite pastime of punching Libertarians.

  46. de stijl says:


    Seriously! No one got my “be rich or die trying” joke. It’s a stupid joke. Bill Richardson, Be Rich. Yay, it’s pretty dumb.

    Tens of thousands of people die everyday. In most instances a few people, or a few dozen people will care about an individual death.

    I have no affiliation towards Bob Barker beyond him being somewhat amusing briefly in Happy Gilmore and for advocating for spaying and neutering your pets. That’s not upsetting or sad in the least. It’s the normal course of how lifespans work.

    99.999% of the time I don’t care, will celebrate their work when a celebrity dies. The last celebrity death that impacted me at all was Anthony Bourdain. The time before that was Kurt Cobain.

    All of us will die, in my case fairly soon. I will be sixty come October. It is inevitable. I might live to be 100. Who knows? My desire and hope is that I won’t die due to the effects of extreme Alzheimer’s dementia. I have plan for that already in place. My DNA strongly suggests that that will be my path. Yay, I’m gonna refuse that path if it becomes inevitable and will dip out on that early and very willingly. I have seen end stage dementia twice and will not willingly go down that path.

    My grandmother forgot how to chew, ffs. How does somebody forget how to chew? My mother thought I was her high school boyfriend and wanted me to … not going to finish that sentence.

    I just refuse to go down that path and if need be, I will dip out early no question.

    If I dodge that bullet, I will die from something and relatively soon in the broad span of life. About 15 people will actually care.

  47. Tony W says:

    Apparently Mr Trump is on the hook for $300 million by this time next week.

    I made popcorn

  48. CSK says:
  49. DrDaveT says:


    And with that out of the way, I’ll let folks return to a favorite pastime of punching Libertarians.

    Real libertarians are down with my right to punch them, because Freedom.

    Faux libertarians who actually value some things more than freedom but won’t admit it… also get punched.

  50. de stijl says:


    I don’t even have to will it, it just happens naturally when I consume media. I can instantly lose the notion that I am the camera or I am in the narrators head.

    I sort of equate ceding control with suspension of disbelief. I suspect we are 90% in accord and getting pissy about terminology. Hell, it just occurred to me I asked you to define the terms which is a pretty dick move. I apologize. At the time I was trying to understand, but it could be read as aggressive which was not my intent. I apologize if it came off that way.

    I am rewatching Mr. Robot. I am suspending disbelief/ceding control. But my brain is always there, alive, present. I see the way Esmail frames shots and can and do appreciate that as a fan of great cinematography. I get pulled out repeatedly by geeking on writing and framing, the presence of so much open space / negative space around Elliot. The score.

    I am still incredibly open to the story of Elliot and the plot. I can do both simultaneously and you do it too. Will suspend disbelief on the plot and admire the visuals.

    I think we are just getting pissy and sniping at each other over definitions and word usage.

    I’m going to step away unless you have a genius retort way out of left field. We are at the point we’re needlessly annoying each other and being pissy.

  51. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    I’m cool. 🙂 This would probably make an interesting discussion if we were up to it. I’m a literalist; I go by the dictionary definition of words. By the way, that was a nice thing you did with the found 20 bucks;


  52. de stijl says:


    I have a big problem with Rand as a writer.

    I have a big problem with Objectivism as a political philosophy.

    I know that I can be both selfish and community minded simultaneously. If I help make a better community I benefit.

  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: After he heard my answer, we stopped talking about it, for some reason. 😉

  54. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    That’s known as enlightened self-interest.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    There’s a surprise.:D

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: And then there’s cracker, who summed up a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man class discussion on realism by noting that we tend to say that text has realism to the extent to which it conforms to our perceived reality*.

    *Which, in those day I expressed as “panders to our biases.” (I’d been doing this type of stuff since the 7th grade. To this day, I’m amazed that none of my teachers have ever cringed upon seeing me in their classes on day one. My teachers have been made of stern stuff.)

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: The Libertarians I met teaching with my fellow faculty member were uniformly convinced that Libertarianism cannot fail, it can only be failed.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Who is the third party who will keep track so as to advise you of your condition? I ask because both my mom and dad were well into the condition before anyone even thought about looking for it.

  58. Mimai says:

    @DrDaveT: So much punching. Might I suggest you balance that out with some kicking. And pinching. And hair pulling. Pace yourself, there are still a lot of Libertarians running amok.

    I do hope you’ll share your definition of Democracy next.

    @de stijl: So many problems, Mr. Carter, so many problems. I suspect we share many of the same ones. And I’m still grateful for the challenge and shake-up she caused me. Not dissimilar to the gratitude I hold for Hákarl and stinky tofu (a bit unfair but in keeping with the norm around here).

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tony W: I’ve seen this show before with Trump Casinos. TIAA/CREF was a bond holder owed a share of a $1.6 billion (IIRC) bond payment that Trump couldn’t make. The bondholders were given a choice: “loan” him back the interest payment so that he could “reinvest” it in the enterprise or watch him go banko (now instead of a year or so later, as it turned out).

    You’d think that vulture capitalists would have learned by now, but it seems that in the world of ill-gotten gains, hope springs eternal.

  60. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Sure, but the reality you know–your perceived reality, if you will–is what you have. You can’t hop into someone else’s. Reality is everyday life as you know it. It’s entirely possible to envision or identify with someone else’s reality, though.

    Damn, we’re getting cosmic.

  61. DrDaveT says:


    So much punching.

    Not really. I’m not a very scary person; I tend to be the punchee rather than the puncher in such situations. Which might be part of why I have such an unflattering opinion of libertarianism.

  62. de stijl says:


    Utah kinda freaks me out. The scenery and the parks, both national and state are freaking gorgeous, but Moab and St. George and smaller towns are uncomfortably friendly, opening, and welcoming in a strange Ned Flanders vibe.

    I have done “the Mighty 5” several times and probably most of the state parks, too. Utah is freakishly gorgeous to my head.

    A lot of times I go there to shroom my brains out and gawk at the night sky for hours. So when I go into town for breakfast or lunch the next day my brain is basically scraped clean and I am as open and vulnerable as I can be.

    I then encounter the locals. I have nothing against the LDS church. Hey, they do not proselytize overtly at me. But their thing is pretty culty. The waitress isn’t flirting with you because she wants a good tip, she is flirting with you because she has been taught from birth to help outsiders get right with God. LDS is Christian or Christian adjacent, yes?

    Everybody you meet and interact with in town reminds you of Ned Flanders or his family. It always feels as if you were one of the outsiders in Midsommar and your name isn’t Florence Pugh.

    I’d take outstate Minnesota nice over outstate Utah nice any day of the week. Utah is way creepier in my estimation.

  63. Starchild says:

    @de stijl: You write @MarkedMan: @MarkedMan:

    You may not realize it, but libertarianism is actually all around you. Every time people interact with each other on a voluntary basis, rather than under government coercion, that’s libertarian.

    Unlicensed garage and sidewalk sales, unpermitted busking, jaywalking, riding bicycles without helmets, having a drink or smoke where it’s not allowed, loaning money to a friend or family member, sleeping or camping in public, building an addition on your home without government permission – all peaceful libertarian activities.

    Authoritarians will always come up with reasons why you shouldn’t be allowed to use your own time, money, body, and property as you choose. They want to treat you like a child, or a cow to be milked.

    The results of this statism are great – if you like a society with more war, conflict and suffering, less harmony and prosperity, dominated by the wealthy and privileged in power, at the expense of ordinary people.