Thursday’s Forum

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

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. Kathy says:

    On more A380 news, Air France has retired all their A380s. Adn Emirates is looking to cancel some of the last outstanding A380 orders, which Airbus is naturally loath to do.

    In this hemisphere, United announced a partnership with Clorox. I had no idea they were looking for new catering.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Slava Malamud is one twitter account I follow. He’s funny as hell and has a sharp eye for hypocrisy honed by growing up in the USSR/Russia.

    Slava Malamud

    Yes. Yes, you have gotten it. Finally! Exactly. This is precisely and absolutely the case. Thank you. You’ve nailed it. Yup.

    The Hill
    Press Sec. Kayleigh McEnany: “If it were any other President of the United States, the media would take him at his word.”

    Slava Malamud

    America, 2001: “OMG, 3000 of us senselessly died! We must dutifully accept all kinds of restrictions to our freedom, including government surveillance and some dude looking at images of us naked in an airport!”
    America, 2020: “100,000 dead is a small price to pay for MY LIBERTY!”

  3. Bill says:
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: I just saw that video. They need to replace their customers.

  5. Mikey says:

    How soon is now?

  6. MarkedMan says:

    Hate to be a pain, but within the last week or so there was a discussion about new books to read. The discussion I’m looking for wasn’t Teve’s request for non-fiction last Friday, as I’ve gone through virtually all of the posts responding to him and didn’t see anything. I’m pretty sure it was a request for recommendations for fiction. It might have been alt-history fiction but I’m not sure. Anyway, several people recommended the same series and I planned to look that up, but life intervened and now I’ve forgotten the series author and main character. All I have in my head is “Harry Freechase” which the Google informs me is completely meaningless. Can anyone point me to the open forum in question?

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Wielding an assault rifle in public makes you an ‘Alpha’ the same way as throwing dollar bills at a stripper makes you a ‘ladies man.’

  8. CSK says:

    Harry Turtledove writes alternate history fiction. Is that any help?

  9. sam says:

    “Harry Freechase”

    The Flashman series, Harry Flashman? George Macdonald Fraser, author.

  10. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Follow me on this one…

    I love a good post-apocalyptic movie… which is a problem as there are SO many bad post-apocalyptic movies to wade through. But still, in film, I have hope that humanity can overcome the worst. Sometimes it doesn’t, and that may be OK too, if the plot made the trip worthwhile.

    Yesterday, I had to take my dogs into the local, really awesome vet (awesome because she intentionally wants to keep her practice small, charges very reasonable rates, and does house calls if your pet is geriatric). Their response to COVID-19 was to instigate a “no customers inside” policy. They take the pet in, provide required care, and the pet is returned to you.

    This minimizes their potential exposure, and still provides great service. They have found something that works well for them and for the customer.

    On the other hand…

    I went to the local clinic, and extension of the hospital where they removed my gall bladder. There were several signs at the entrance that everyone that enters must wear a mask. They (the clinic) have created a scheduling policy that mornings are for those that have not had Covid exposure, and that late afternoon is for those that may.

    This makes sense as Colorado has a mandatory mask-on policy if you go outside, to try to limit potential exposure as part of the “safer at home” policy.

    In the morning, I went in for a follow-up, and there were 4 people waiting (including me), all with masks, all socially distancing. Then a guy — I’ll call him Goober — walks in, no mask, doesn’t ask for a mask, and just decides to hang out for whatever reason (he had to pick something up, I can guess). So Goober is looking at people with masks. Goober is looking at people that purposefully backed away from him because he was not wearing a mask. And unfortunately the people at the reception desk said nothing to confront him.

    Goober is willfully ignorant. Goober did not look like he had a problem with that at all.

    From now on, I’ve decided that this minority of people that intentionally choose not to wear a mask will be called zombies. They are the walking dead.

    You see them shopping, you hear them say things like “the virus is political”, you see them gathering in larger tightly spaced groups.

    You can’t reason with them, they will not follow social conventions, they are acting out of selfish self-interest, and due to their chance of increased exposure may could be not long for this world. Unfortunately many of the zombies will be asymptomatic and will survive… but will infect others that may not. (Much like “Florida man’s wife”)

    You can’t stop a zombie…. especially when it is in a hoard. Other people mean nothing to them. 100,000 dead mean nothing to them, they just keep moving forward with the assumption that somehow their super-zombie powers will overcome a virus that is 120 nanometers in diameter. They seem not to understand that one infected sneeze produces up to 35,000 potential covid-19 particles.

    Zombies, man… they creep me out.

  11. Teve says:


    Nearly half of the accounts tweeting about the coronavirus pandemic are likely bots, Carnegie Mellon researchers say, adding that the tweets appeared aimed at sowing divisions in America.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: That jogged my memory. It was a time travel(?) series where the main character participated in all the major wars. Is that the Turtledove series?

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @sam: That was it! Thanks. And now I’m not as embarrassed remembering it as Harry Freechase…

  14. Kathy says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Not as many zombies down here, but you do see a few. Mostly clueless idiots who don’t get the idea of keeping their distance, or who don’t want to bother.

    I had the thought of getting a realistic-looking water pistol, one that looks like a real gun, to hand out to zombies and say “Here. Why don’t you get it over with and spare yourself the agony?”

  15. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:
    Sort of like the people who deliberately cough on others, or pick up items in the grocery store, lick them, and then return them to the case/shelf.

    People like this have always been with us. Back in the eighties, when there were warnings about the toxicity of carbon tetrachloride, there were idiots who’d guzzle a bottle of it, grin, and say, “Look at me! I’m fine.” They may have subsequently died. But at least they were hurting only themselves.

    I assume these bots are tweeting that the virus is a hoax.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @sam: BTW, which one should I start with?

  17. CSK says:

    The Turtledove book Guns of the South does involves time travel.

    The Flashman series–which is wonderful–doesn’t involves time travel. Harry Flashman is contemporary with all the events he witnesses and in which he participates.

  18. sam says:

    Start with Flashman — begins on the day he is expelled from Rugby. Here’s a link to the order of publication and historical order.

  19. Teve says:

    plant-based plastic bottles will degrade in a year.

    There are a lot of obstacles to a technology like this. Odds are, it won’t make it, but here’s hoping.

  20. Stormy Dragon says:


    The other question is “degrades into what?” From what I understand, garbage that decomposes is an even bigger pollution problem because it gets in landfills and pollutes water supplies an generated methane, a major greenhouse gas, whereas plastic just sits there stably.

  21. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: good question. They take plant fructose and convert it into polyethylene furanoate. Which they say is 100% recyclable. But I don’t know enough chemistry to have an opinion about it.

  22. KM says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    You can’t stop a zombie…. especially when it is in a hoard.

    Oh there are ways, we just choose not to use them. This, I think, will ultimately be the downfall of our society when they do the post-mortuem.

    For instance, our dedication to liberty and our principles has allowed a group of people to effectively become bio-terrorists on command. Deliberate infection efforts are treated as nuisances, not genuine threats on people’s lives. I promise you, terrorists groups are watching us tolerate this crap and are thinking up ways to use it. After all, they wouldn’t even need to recruit the covidiots. They’d just chat them up online as a fellow “truth warrior” and then send someone infectious to go meet with them as a “freedom party”. Two weeks later, the useful idiots go and spread their disease everywhere and the terrorist didn’t even have to lower their mask to give away their identity. I would absolutely not be surprised if we found out later militias and terrorist groups were actively (and possibly successfully) spreading COVID-19, not to mention angry people who want to “covertly” get rid of family or people they don’t like. Need X gone but it to look like an accident? Oh, you think COVID’s a hoax and didn’t know any better – not your fault they were hospitalized and died, nature did it.

    The longer this goes on, the more my faith in humanity get eroded. I’m not looking forward to explaining to my future grandchildren the madness that the last 3 years hath wrought…….

  23. Jen says:

    On the masks/no masks, I’ve seen a marked increase in the number of people who claim that they cannot wear a mask for medical reasons, the most common one being severe asthma, suggesting that masks further restrict their breathing and can lead to an asthma attack.

    Is there any validity to this, or is this excuse-chasing to avoid being socially ostracized?

  24. CSK says:

    I think it’s an excuse. The other day someone, perhaps on Twitter, was promoting the idea that people who don’t want to wear masks as a gesture of rebellion should simply claim that there are medical reasons for them to not to do. That way they can go maskless and still have access to shops, etc. This isn’t to say that there aren’t some people who have a legit reason not to wear masks.

  25. Teve says:

    I’ve been thinking that the Republicans didn’t want voting by mail because they only win by suppressing turn out, but this article says that voting by mail doesn’t favor Democrats.

    Even if it doesn’t, I’m still in favor of it because it should increase turnout and therefore democracy.

  26. Kari Q says:

    A series of polls came out today of swing states. The pollster found Biden leading by 8 in Michigan, by 9 in Wisconsin, but trailing by 4 in Pennsylvania.

    I don’t know what will happen in November, but there’s no way Biden wins Michigan and Wisconsin big while losing Pennsylvania.

  27. Stormy Dragon says:


    The reason I’m asking is because the article specifically mentions composting, and I know a lot of stuff that is fine when composted gets nasty when it decomposes anaerobically (like in a landfill) and most places do not compost their garbage.

  28. Kari Q says:


    If they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, they are more likely to die from covid-19 and ought to be at home. I have a couple of friends with respiratory illnesses and they aren’t leaving their house. Of course, they are in a position to make that happen and not everyone is, but I’m still inclined to be skeptical of the claim.

    I think it’s just an excuse.

  29. Kit says:


    BTW, which one should I start with?

    I suggest starting with the one whose setting most interests you. I read Flashman and the Dragon when I was fascinated by that particular period. The books are just fantastically researched, and the more you know going in the more you will appreciate them.

  30. KM says:

    No, there absolutely is not. I have an aunt who just had a lung transplant – had both taken out and is running on just the one. She wore a mask and oxygen lines before when she couldn’t breath well and still wears one since she’s now immuno-compromised. The mask didn’t impair her breathing and she roundly mocks anyone in the family who complains about wearing a mask now, noting that if she can do it so can they.

    If your asthma is so bad a mask would compromise your air intake, you have ZERO reason to be out and about during a respiratory pandemic. My response would be to get yourself an portable O2 tank for when you “can’t breathe” and have it under your mask for emergencies. If your claustrophobia is so bad a mask sets you off, being in the car will do the same thing so why are you out? If your child is autistic and won’t tolerate the mask, they absolutely won’t social distance or follow health procedures so why are you risking infecting them by bringing them out in public??? Even the Trumpies used to claim “the vulnerable should be made to stay home, the rest of us can go out”.

    What is comes down to is people abusing ADA. You don’t have the right to ask what their diagnosis is but you ABSOLUTELY have the right to ask for proper documentation of it. The law isn’t written as “take my word for it”. The law also makes a clear exception for crisis like this and as long as reasonable accommodations are made (online or deliverable shopping offers “access”), they cannot insist on being in a specific area under their specified conditions. I used to work in a grocery story and take great delight now in backing up cashiers when someone gets shitty with them – no, they can’t claim ADA or a vague “disability”, paperwork or GTFO trespasser. The cops will be glad to take your ass off property because they’re getting sick and tired of these nuts too.

  31. Stormy Dragon says:


    While I agree 99% is bullshit, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s 100% bullshit. I’m sure there are people who have legitmate reasons they can’t wear a mask. Your “well my aunt….” story is exactly the sort of reasoning Republicans always use to disparage requests for accommodations by legitimately disabled people. Your aunt’s experience is only relevant to your aunt and doesn’t stand in for entire groups of people.

    All you’ve done is identify is another group of victims of Republican intransigence: the minority of people who legitimately can’t wear masks who now have their lives made harder because they’re surrounded by a mob of “MUH FREEDUMBS” bros.

  32. Neil Hudelson says:

    @CSK: @sam: @MarkedMan:

    Thanks to that open forum, I just started the Flashman series yesterday. Perhaps an OTB book club is in order? With a baby and toddler at home, I’m a slooow reader now, fitting in whatever I can before I fall asleep at night, but if I knew there was a discussion to be had each week it would probably motivate me.

  33. CSK says:

    According to an article in, the California Dept. of Public Health wrote that “Wearing a mask may actually be harmful to some people with heart or lung disease, because it can make the lungs work harder to breathe.”

    Such people should, however, probably not be going out during the pandemic.

  34. Teve says:

    Just came across an interesting chapter in Narconomics. To summarize:

    1 to stop low-rent meth cookers, the US made it hard to buy sudafed in quantity.
    2 which put a lot of low-rent cookers out of business.
    3 so production moved to Mexico.
    4 where cartels set up industrial-size factories.
    5 and now a $20 will get you three times the meth it used to at double the purity.

  35. KM says:

    To expand on one of my points, Disney is now starting to open up and is demanding all attendees and employees wear masks. There’s a pushback from people (mostly locals at this time) that they won’t wear masks because “it should be optional” and there’s a growing number of parents of autistic children claiming it violates their child’s rights. It’s only a matter of time before there’s an incident.

    First off, I think it’s mindblowing that you’d drag an autistic child to a theme park right now. They can be overwhelming to neruotypical individuals on a good day, let alone the stress and changes a pandemic would bring. Social distancing in the queue for Space Mountain – are you kidding?? Main Street is elbowing folks out of the way normally since it’s an intentional choke point – how are you going to maintain traffic flow and be able to empty the parks at night? So my question is, why in God’s name would you inflict that on someone who may not understand? Wearing a mask in FL heat and humidity is going to SUCK so how do you get the importance across to a child who can’t stand waiting in line or why it’s necessary to do what they want? Why would you take a situation virtually guaranteed to cause a meltdown and MAKE IT WORSE by forcing them go at an inopportune time?! It’s borderline child abuse to place a child in a situation like this because you want to make a political statement or point.

    Full disclosure: we’re going down there after Labor Day. I’m *very* invested in how they are going to handle this because frankly it’s the only way I can stop this vacay from happening. FL looks like a hot mess of anti-maskers, covidiots and people likely to shoot when confronted. I want to see if Disney sticks to their guns and it’s Masks or GTFO, Security-Assisted. It’s going to be unpleasant as is but I cannot imagine watching the poor staff have to risk their health dealing with an unmasked child’s meltdown and lashing out. If you can’t or won’t wear a mask continuously, then now’s not your time to go.

  36. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Ok, it’s been a decade since I was involved with composting and waste management professionally, so my knowledge is a bit rusty AND most of my knowledge was specifically about the locale I was working at the time, but if memory serves…

    1. Many locales have regulations that attempt to ensure as little anaerobic activity occurs. This usually involves layering of waste with fill dirt, and then mixing the two with landmovers, before adding more dirt on top. Often various enzymes are sprayed as well.
    2. Modern landfilles also try to capture the methane that is generated. Again, it depends on the city and state. There’s not a 100% perfect system (or even close) but you can mitigate the effects of anaerobic activity. If you ever pass by what looks like grass covered rolling hills with capped PVC pipes sticking out everywhere, you might be seeing an old landfill. Those pipes are methane chutes.
    3. You can theoretically go back and remediate methane-generating patches by mixing those patches with patches that are decomposing. Churning the soil cap breaks the seal that is preventing oxygen from reaching the waste, and mixing anaerobic patches with decomposing patches moves good bacteria into the dead zones.

    Re: contaminating water supply. That’s an entirely different issue, and it’s one that faces plastics too. Plastics don’t necessarily just sit there stably. I mean, they can, but many processes break plastics apart. The heat from composting/degrading materials around plastics will break them down. If they aren’t covered and are exposed to the sun, further breakdown occurs. Many bacteria ‘eat’ plastic. This is complicated because there’s ‘good’ bacteria that actually decomposes plastics, and there’s ‘bad’ bacteria that helps plastics break apart into millions of tiny plastic pieces. To the naked eye the processes look the same. But, as I had to explain to my father as he proudly showed me his compost pile that was decomposing plastic bags, what you’re actually doing is creating much more plastic surface area, which leads to a much higher leaching of BPA and other harmful chemicals into the soil. Which circles me back to the point I started to make–plastics in landfills that break down because of heat, sunlight, and bad bacteria, will also contaminate soil and water supplies if the landfill is unlined. (or, TL;DR the lack of landfill lining and/or the production of waste in general is the problem here, rather than certain wastes causing harmful runoff while other wastes don’t.)

    The big issue with current compostable plastics is that they don’t compost in nature. If you buy a cornstarch fork or plate and toss it into your compost bin, you’re likely still going to see it there years later. (If you’re city offers roadside compost pickup, you might be OK, if they’ve invested in the proper equipment to compost the plastics. [Maybe I just should say compostable plastics are crap unless you live in California]). Current compostable plastics need (relatively) high levels of sustained heat, pressure, and churning. According to the the spokesman for this new plastic, it will compost “in nature,” which if true is HUGE. Digging further into the article, it states that one of the major bottling companies plans to unveil cardboard bottles lined with this plastic. This would also be a huge development in and of itself–greatly reducing the actual amount of plastic (or completely avoiding the use of glass) is beneficial regardless of how well the plastic composts.

    Related: a new GMO enzyme can break down PET plastics into the component chemicals in a matter of hours. While I would prefer moving away from PET as much as possible, creating a closed-loop system would be an acceptable step forward.

    ETA: Link to enzymes article:

  37. Teve says:

    Sebastian Gorka and Dennis Prager are now pitching a supplement called Relief Factor. Don’t ever change, Trumpers. 😀

  38. Tyrell says:

    @KM:I wear a bandanna that I can adjust so it does not pressure my nose. I have had two nose surgical procedures to straighten it so I could breath better. There is not much cartilage left in there so just a slight pressure can cause pain. Probably broken a few times from my neighborhood football days.
    I know of other people who have asthma and other problems with masks. One is allergic to the rubber straps.

  39. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Thanks for the insight.

  40. MarkedMan says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Sounds good to me. If there were a way to have a zoom discussion that would be great, but I don’t know how we could pull that off without the Trolls crashing it…

  41. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: you can put a password on it. Exchange it via email.

  42. Gustopher says:

    So, yesterday, I was peacefully working and listening to Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems, and the album ended and Spotify played other things, as is its habit, containing a heavy mix of Leonard Cohen. All well and good.

    And suddenly, my ears and my psyche are assaulted by the voice of Leonard Cohen singing “her nipples rose like bread.”

    Assuming I somehow misheard that, I went back in the song and let it play it again, and indeed, I hear “her nipples rose like bread.”

    So, I hunt down the lyrics for “Night in Santiago”, because this has to be one of those misheard “Excuse me while I kiss this guy”/“Starbucks lovers” moments, but no, “behind a fine embroidery, her nipples rose like bread.”

    All through the song the lyrics are terrible. Some of the worst I have ever heard, all delivered with Leonard Cohen’s gravelly voice. So, please enjoy it.

    It was a posthumous release, put together by his son, using a vocal track his father had recorded, and some new music added. Not great music either.

    I can only wonder — what did Leonard Cohen do to his son that was so bad his son would let this see the light of day?

    Also, I wonder if this was his normal writing style — to just fit terrible, terrible words in place for the meter, and slowly go back and replace the majority. Is there a working version of “Hallelujah” filled with hysterically bad sexual similes? Or a version of “Everybody Knows” that explains that “everybody knows the capybara is the worlds largest rodent”? If so, then I hope his son continues to defile his legacy.

  43. Teve says:


    Trump: “When you say per capita, there’s many per capitas. Is this like per capita relative to what?”
    How did this guy made it through elementary school?

  44. CSK says:

    It’s apparently a fish oil supplement that costs about 20 times (rough estimate) what any other fish oil capsule costs.

  45. KM says:

    @Tyrell :
    But you’re still trying – good for you! I’m sorry to hear it’s uncomfortable due to a physical issue but I’m sure somewhere out in the wilds of the internet, there’s a solution for you to be comfortable as well as be able to protect yourself/others.

    If not, it’s a good opportunity to design one and make a fortune! The person who comes up with a mask that reliably doesn’t fog glasses or have hot breath linger is gonna be a *billionaire*. Toss in a way to deal with coffee/bad breath and we might as well just give them all the money in the world. Come on, capitalism, don’t let me down now…..

  46. Jen says:

    @Teve: I worked in a state senate office in the mid-90s, and one of the costs of meth production that typically isn’t considered is the massive expense that surrounds cleanup. Home cookers, no matter how small the operation, had to be treated as a hazmat site. The state department of environmental quality/similar had to go in for cleanup.

    It was so bad in our state that they had to hire more people to deal with the cleanup, and then because of what the waste was, there was a substantial cost to the state to destroy (or, even worse, secured holding if it was evidence).

  47. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve: Anecdotal stuff from when Colorado changed to mail ballots. The evidence for overall increased turnout is sketchy. The bigger bumps in turnout here are usually because there’s a ballot initiative people feel strongly about. There is some evidence that mail ballots helped Republican Senator Cory Gardner win in 2014 (when it was new) due to increased rural turnout. I myself think it was a second-order effect, if that. The big story was that Udall let it be close in the northern Front Range suburbs by running a truly bad campaign. The most likely outcome this year is that Gardner gets crushed because he has managed to really piss off voters in those same suburbs (a recent poll put Hickenlooper up 54-36).

    Here are two correlations about mail ballots possibly worth discussing. They are immensely popular in the western states. In 2018, just over 70% of all ballots cast in the region were ballots delivered to the voter by mail. In 2020 it will almost certainly be 75% and may reach 80%. The only states that do not use mail ballots for the large majority of voters are AK, ID, NV, and WY. NV and WY will probably change over by 2022 or 2024. The other thing I always hate to bring up. The relative size of the African-American minority in a state correlates with state legislative opposition to mail ballots. There are no western states where AAs are the largest minority group; there are some western states where they’re not the second-largest.

  48. Bill says:

    The Florida headline of the day-

    223,927 file new unemployment claims in Florida

    With those kind of numbers, can somebody please explain how Trump will win in November?

  49. Jen says:


    If not, it’s a good opportunity to design one and make a fortune!

    I told my husband, only in partial jest, that the timing for an American-styled burka has never been better. Covers the lack of salon coloring gray, covers the nose/mouth per CDC recommendation, and covers the additional pounds added by reduced physical activity.

  50. CSK says:

    And reduces costs for cosmetics and haircuts as well as hair coloring.

  51. Kit says:

    I had never heard about this long-standing mystery: Where Do Eels Come From?:

    People caught eels in brooks, rivers, lakes, the sea. They also caught them, inexplicably, in ponds that dried out and refilled each year, and that had no access to other bodies of water. They couldn’t help but notice that the creatures seemed to have no ovaries, no testicles, no eggs, no milt. That they were never observed to mate. That they sometimes seemed to issue from the earth itself. Eels were unaccountable

  52. Monala says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I’m really interested in environmental topics, so if you ever want to spill some knowledge about it again in these open threads, please do!

  53. Monala says:

    @KM: As a meme on Facebook notes, people never complained that “No shoes, no shirt, no service” signs were an affront to their liberty.

    Speaking of masks, as someone with asthma, I have often been saved by wearing masks during days when the air quality is bad, long before Covid-19.

  54. senyordave says:

    Amazon must have some amazing AI people. We have an Amazon Echo Dot, and last night I asked Alexa the following question:
    “Alexa, name a positive characteristic of Donald Trump”.
    Her answer was dead on, as if she had known Trump for years.

  55. Monala says:

    @senyordave: So what did she say? Or was she just silent?

  56. An Interested Party says:

    So, apparently, this is what Obamagate is…I’m sure Obama is quaking in his boots about this…

  57. JohnMcC says:

    @Gustopher: I judge from your comment that you know more than I about Leonard and his music. But will timidly suggest that he was well known for working on his lyrics over years. I bet there are notebooks stack high with ‘near miss’ poetry.

  58. JohnMcC says:

    @Teve: Recommend Dahlia Lithwick in this morning: The President Still Has No Clothes. Quite a lengthy piece detailing our Mr Trumps manifest intellectual shortcomings that have been airbrushed for the past half decade.

  59. JohnMcC says:

    @Bill: He’ll help us recall what a miserable hell-hole the U.S. was back before he was inaugurated. And Hunter!

  60. senyordave says:

    @Monala: The answer is:
    “Sorry, I’m not sure”. I could swear it is almost a mocking voice, but my wife says I’m hearing what I want to hear.

  61. Michael Cain says:


    With those kind of numbers, can somebody please explain how Trump will win in November?

    There seem to be plenty of places where the Republican message “All your pain is because the Dems shut down the cities” is getting a disturbing amount of traction. I was speaking with someone most of whose family is in a rural state where all of the Covid outbreaks are centered on meat packing plants. The workers are overwhelmingly Central American, Somalian, and Sudanese. She told me that the blame is not being put on the corporate owners, or the working conditions, but on “those people”. She expects the Republicans will win easily there in November on a platform of close the borders and deport the refugees.

  62. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: wow, the comments. Alinsky!!1

  63. Tyrell says:

    @Monala: Often forget the shoes until I walk up to the door and then have to run back to the car and get the sandals.
    I can remember “No children please” signs were at some restaurants.

  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: 68 in July. Chronic asthma for all 68 years, according to what my parents told me. COPD now. Wore a commercial grade exhalation vented mask with replaceable filters most of the day for about the first 3 years that I worked in the produce business. (I eventually became enured to the environment so that I only needed to wear it for certain jobs.) Masks are uncomfortable–particularly the vented type that I used because of the hard rubber frame that held the filter (on the order of a traditional gas mask)–and do interfere some with one’s breathing because of the natural resistance of the filtering medium–that’s why it keeps stuff out (duh!). But it is outside of my experience that the mask will “cause” an asthma attack although the extra resistance may well exacerbate an existing one depending on what triggers the attack. In my case, the mask always relieved the attack as the attack was caused by environmental factors which were diminished by wearing the mask.

    But having said that, I have to note that when I go out for my daily walk, for example, I avoid wearing even my made-from-a-handkerchief-and-hair-bands mask until/unless I actually go into the pharmacy/convenience store/grocery/wherever because the added resistance of the cloth puts some additional burden on my breathing–especially if my asthma or COPD is acting up.

    In general, I would agree with the person who noted that if the mask makes one’s breathing problems worse, the wiser choice is to avoid situations where the masking is important to begin with. “I can’t wear a mask, but I can go out” is nonsense. (And as I noted in a previous post, I encounter about one person per every 2 or 3 hours that I walk on my daily walks [in Kelso, WA, pop. ~12,000], so most days, I never encounter anyone.)

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Yeah, allergy to the rubber straps is a real nasty element in lots of situations with wearables. Fabric-covered elastic sometimes makes a good option, as does using some sort of cloth barrier where the strap will contact the skin. I’ve known people who would use a handkerchief at the back of their head to protect their skin–and particularly behind their ears–from contacting the rubber.

    You do what you can and what you need to, but you don’t say, “I have X condition; I’m exempt.”

  66. wr says:

    @Michael Cain: “She expects the Republicans will win easily there in November on a platform of close the borders and deport the refugees.”

    Well, sure. But Trump already had the racist scumbag vote locked up, and they were never going to leave him.

  67. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “All through the song the lyrics are terrible. Some of the worst I have ever heard,”

    You made me curious, so I googled the lyrics. Can’t say I agree at all. Very evocative, very funny.

  68. sam says:

    Rick Wilson
    May 19
    The latest episode of The New Abnormal is here for you, because we love you, and because Vampire Eric Trump, Reptile Porn Fan Don Jr., and Alt-Right Ivanka needed scourging.

  69. Moosebreath says:

    Trump once again says the quiet parts out loud. He is tweeting today to complain that Fox is doing nothing to get him re-elected:

    “Many will disagree, but @FoxNews is doing nothing to help Republicans, and me, get re-elected on November 3rd. ”

    Proving yet again that if this were a movie script, it would be rejected as too implausible.

  70. CSK says:

    So “we report; you decide” is actually supposed to mean “we work for Trump”? Is that it?

  71. DrDaveT says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Perhaps an OTB book club is in order?

    We started an office book club in response to working from home. Last month’s book was Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book, which I had read before. (More time travel!) Next month’s is The Master and Margarita, which I have not yet read and am looking forward to immensely.

  72. Matt says:

    @An Interested Party: Holy cow that’s like a slight step up from the Pizzagate crap. You know the conspiracy ginned up by people who took comments in emails out of context and tried to claim they were code for an underaged sex slave club under a pizza place frequented by democrats. Good enough to get a random dude to show up with a gun to free the nonexistent sex slaves from the nonexistent basement..

  73. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Susan Rice’s brief January 20, 2017 email to herself used the phrase “by the book” three times.

    First the tan suit, now an insistence on going by the book? That Kenyan sonofabitch!

  74. Tyrell says:

    The information that antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers could actually backfire came out a few years ago.
     Reasons Why You Should Stop Using Antibacterial Soap
    • Antibacterial Soap Contributes to the Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. …
    • Antibacterial Soap May Disrupt Hormones. …
    • Antibacterial Soap May Impair Muscle Function. …
    • Antibacterial Soap Increases Risk of Allergies. …
    • Antibacterial Soap is Bad for the Environment. …
    • Antibacterial Soap Isn’t Any More Effective Than Regular Soap.
    Cure worse than the disease?
    Jul 6, 2016 (Eco Watch)
    The main idea is that a lot of this sanitizing is making germs, bacteria, and viruses stronger. That was a lesson in seventh-grade biology. Less is better.
    Next: Kids vs. germs – who wins?

  75. Kurtz says:

    @Kari Q:

    Was the poll of PA the same as the pollsters for the other states?

  76. An Interested Party says:

    @Matt & @Teve:

    See, this is why we are so screwed as a country…when you have a large amount of people, particularly people who influence and/or control public policy, actually believing horseshit like this, there is no compromise possible…it’s a little difficult to reason with people who live in a whole different reality…

  77. Jax says:

    @Teve: Those dang “by the book” people are definitely deep state, a lot of people say. They’re not even good people, they’re just people….but they say a LOT of stuff, and he believes them! 😉

  78. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: And what?They are going to process their own chickens???


  79. Jax says:

    @An Interested Party: No. We have literally reached the point of no longer being able to compromise. They have determined that their freedumbs allow them to kill themselves and many others in the name of liberty, versus an unknown virus who does not care whether they are Democrat or Republican, Russian or American, Chinese or Vietnamese. The virus doesn’t care whether they are rich or poor, black, white, brown, red, yellow, or any shade in between.

    All we can do is watch them die, and hope they don’t take too many innocent people with them.

  80. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: NARRATOR VOICE: They do not know how to process their own chickens.

    Speaking from experience, most of them can’t afford to BUY a beef to have it processed, either. I’ve had sooooo many people wanting “a beef” right now….until they hear the price, even with my super-discount “I hate this fucking cow, she killed her calf and justice would be served if someone would eat her” prices.

  81. Gustopher says:

    @JohnMcC: I know very little about Leonard Cohen, other than listening to a few of his albums, and concluding that he got better with age. Like Bob Dylan that way, Johnny Cash, and maybe David Bowie.

    @wr: I’m not convinced this song was anything other than earnest. Maybe I’ve just missed that…

    I’ve always felt his lyrics were a bit ponderous and self-important, so maybe I’ve missed a lot of the humor in his songs. I do like his music for all of that, but I never really thought of him as funny.

  82. Teve says:

    Does anybody else think the every other day forum worked better than the every day forum?

  83. CSK says:

    Well, no. Sometimes they’re busier than others. Do you prefer the every-other-day format?

  84. Jax says:

    @Teve: No. With no “recent comments first”, I’d bail on those 150+ comments on open threads from the day before yesterday. Time moves fast in Trumpworld. What he said two days ago is no longer relevant, he’s walked it back 12 times and sent the PR gal out 12 times, then pooped while live-tweeting it.

    I have noticed that everybody waits til the next day once it gets to “downtime” according to their time zone. I don’t actually mind it, it keeps me straight on comment threads!

    It appears some folks want to start a book club, though, so if the hosts want to start a weekly thread on that, feel free! It’s your party, we’re just the attendees! 😉

  85. Teve says:

    @CSK: every day it seems like there’s a point early in the night where are you think, I’m not gonna post this on the oven thread, because nobody’s going to see it overnight and at 6 AM there will be another open thread, I’ll wait for tomorrow. But maybe that’s just me. Any Open Thread schedule is better than not having it. 😀

    Also, Timothy Dalton was a perfectly fine Bond. It is my contention that all the Bond actors make sense in the context of what had come before them.

  86. Jax says:

    @Teve: For what it’s worth, I leave my open thread from the day earlier open in my browser, then check while the coffee is brewing. It’s literally “How I know what actual day it is”, since school’s been out since March. I’m always amazed at 30+ comments on the new thread by 7 am, MST!

    Cue the Tom Petty, Freefallin.

  87. Mister Bluster says:

    “…a dirty little boy with a piece of chalk and a board fence and nobody looking . . . everything he touches smells like a billygoat”.

  88. Teve says:

    Seen on Twitter:

    “you don’t understand how shitty America’s infrastructure is until you go to Japan or South Korea.”

  89. Monala says:

    @Tyrell: You’re conflating antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers. The former is a recent invention causing problems that lead to antibacterial resistance. The latter is alcohol-based; alcohol has been used by humans as a disinfectant for hundreds or maybe even thousands of years (although for most of that time, without knowing why it worked) .

  90. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I leave my open thread from the day earlier open in my browser, then check while the coffee is brewing.

    In that case, I’ll reply to your earlier comment about people wanting to buy a cow until they hear the price. 🙂

    I raise meat birds for our own consumption (25 birds) and also for our son and his family (25) and our daughter and her husband (15), mainly because I can then control what goes into them and let them live as dawg intended, for 8 weeks anyway. Last year some friends started doing the same but they decided to process their birds as well, building a whole processing station with homemade plucker and all. He asked me if I wanted to borrow the plucker so I could do mine.

    I did not say no. I said “Fuck no.”

    I take my birds to a Mennonite operation about 3 hrs west of here. I drop them off at 6:00 AM, go to a diner down the way and eat breakfast then if the weathers nice I go fishing, if it isn’t I’ll pick some road I haven’t been down before or a little MO river town I’ve never been to and go see what’s there. About 2PM I return to Lawrence’s farm (USDA inspected facility), pay him about $1.25 per bird, load them up and drive home, where I put them in the freezer. No muss, no fuss.

    What’s not to like?

    Every Oct a buddy of mine throws a little festival/pig roast on his place. I always help him slaughter the unlucky one the day before. It’s a 3 or 4 hour job starting from culling it out all the way to grill ready and into the coolers for the night. At the end I always kind of wonder why we do it. I also buy half a pig from him every year. We get that one processed. Because it’s easier, and I’m not a bloody damn mess at the end of the day with a gut pile I need to bury.

  91. Jen says:

    @Monala: He’s also conflating the issues/results.

    Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that has been implicated in bacterial resistance. The prevalence of these types of agents is why we have issues with antibiotics not being as effective/antibiotic resistant bacteria.

    Then, there’s the question of the hygiene hypothesis, which is an idea that an overly clean environment isn’t giving our immune systems the workout that they need or expect, which causes them to go into overdrive–thus the rise in autoimmune disorders. There’s a fair amount of science behind this, and it’s really intriguing.

    But, none of this matters in the situation where we have a completely new *viral* disease. Viruses and bacteria are two different things, and right now, it’s important to wash hands, keep surfaces clean, etc.

  92. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “I do like his music for all of that, but I never really thought of him as funny.”

    He has always had a dark, dry wit, which is easy to miss because of his sonorous delivery. But it can be clearer in the reading. For instance, this verse from Everybody Knows:

    Everybody knows that you love me baby
    Everybody knows that you really do
    Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful
    Oh, give or take a night or two
    Everybody knows you’ve been discreet
    But there were so many people you just had to meet
    Without your clothes
    Everybody knows

    Or the first verse from Hallelujah:

    Now, I’ve heard there was a secret chord
    That David played, and it pleased the Lord
    But you don’t really care for music, do you?

  93. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “I’m not convinced this song was anything other than earnest. Maybe I’ve just missed that…”

    I think the first stanza is such a clever bit of understatement and misstatement that it effortlessly puts the whole narrative in the voice of a narrator who is teasing us with his story:

    She said she was a maiden
    That wasn’t what I heard
    For the sake of conversation
    I took her at her word

    She’s pretending to be a virgin. He’s pretending to believe she’s a virgin. And all “for the sake of conversation,” which is a delightful elision of his real intent. There’s such a playfulness here that I accept the nipples/bread rising as a deliberately inapt juxtaposition and not simply as bad writing.

  94. wr says:

    @wr: Oh, and two more of my faves:

    “You told me again you preferred handsome men/ but for me you would make an exception”


    “I was born like this, I have no choice/ I was born with the gift of a golden voice”