Thursday’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. Scott says:

    A fun little video about a corner of aviation history courtesy of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works:

    Here are all the airplanes and easter eggs in the amazing Skunk Works video

    Founded 80 years ago by legendary aircraft designed Kelly Johnson, the Skunk Works began as an unremarkable hangar in Burbank, California, then rotated through a series of workshops-slash-hiding spots that included an abandoned distillery (there were still barrels of booze on the factory floor) and a giant circus tent under which Kelly and his engineers built the P-80 Shooting Star (more to come on that.).

    As a final commemoration of the factory’s anniversary year, Lockheed released a new video in November that celebrates 80 years of Skunk Works projects. The 30 second animated video (which for some reason repeats three times on its YouTube posting) zooms through a series of curtains, doors and scenes to “reveal” the history of the factory.

  2. Scott says:

    If you can’t get Congress to do the right thing because it is right for our national security then maybe get them to do the right thing because of self-interest:

    Bombenomics: Biden admin circulates map showing states that benefit from Ukraine aid

    Battleground states Pennsylvania and Arizona are reaping billions of dollars from Washington’s efforts to arm Ukraine, according to a graphic the Biden administration has circulated on Capitol Hill.

    The circulation of the graphic is part of the administration’s push to sell the American public — and their congressional representatives — on President Joe Biden’s proposal to spend billions of additional taxpayer dollars on the wars in Ukraine and Israel.

    Ukraine aid’s best-kept secret: Most of the money stays in the U.S.A.

    Here is the best-kept secret about U.S. military aid to Ukraine: Most of the money is being spent here in the United States. That’s right: Funds that lawmakers approve to arm Ukraine are not going directly to Ukraine but being used stateside to build new weapons or to replace weapons sent to Kyiv from U.S. stockpiles. Of the $68 billion in military and related assistance Congress has approved since Russia invaded Ukraine, almost 90 percent is going to Americans, one analysis found.

    But you wouldn’t know that from the actions of some U.S. lawmakers. When Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance (R) joined a United Auto Workers picket line in October at the Jeep assembly plant in Toledo, he said he wanted to “show some support for the UAW workers” in his state. Yet he has not shown the same solidarity with the UAW workers in Lima, Ohio, who are churning out Abrams tanks and Stryker combat vehicles for Ukraine thanks to the military aid that Congress has approved. Vance opposes Ukraine aid, as does Rep. Jim Jordan (R), whose House district includes Lima.

  3. Scott says:

    So when is Elon Musk going to go all Howard Hughes on us and start growing his fingernails and hair.

    ‘Go fuck yourself!’ Elon Musk tells fleeing advertisers

    Elon Musk has a message for advertisers who have left X en masse amid accusations of unchecked antisemitism on the social media platform: “Go fuck yourself.”

    “If somebody has been trying to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself,” Musk said during an animated interview at the New York Times DealBook Summit on Wednesday.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:


    It is said that the line between genius and madness is thin and history provides many examples of those who have stepped across that line. It appears we are witnessing another instance.

  5. Neil Hudelson says:
  6. Jack says:

    A guy on this blog named steve seemed to be surprised that Americans were concerned about inflation. His reasoning was that other economic statistics, like unemployment rate, were good. (Failing to take into account the drop in those seeking jobs), and that incomes for only a very few had failed to keep up. (This is demonstrably false)

    And so now:

    The average U.S. household needs an extra $11,434 per year just to maintain the same standard of living they had only a few years ago, before inflation hit record highs under the Biden administration.

    A Tuesday CBS News Moneywatch report used government data to determine how much Americans paid to live in January 2021 compared to today, finding that the typical family just can’t compete with the 40-year record-high inflation.

    While the average hourly pay for workers has increased by 13.6 percent since the beginning of 2021, inflation has increased by 17 percent over the same period.

    The report found that the main categories requiring heavier spending are basic survival needs like food, transportation, housing, and energy. Those spending areas account for almost 80 cents of every dollar in additional spending, an analysis from Republican members of the U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee revealed.

    “We choose January 2021 as the base month because it was the last time inflation was within recent historical norms,” the introduction to their November 2022 report reads, stating that prices began to accelerate “soon after.”

    President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.

    Ask yourselves, “how many people have seen wage increases (or other income increases) equal to $11-$12K?

  7. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Scott – I saw that full video this morning on Xitter… wow.

    I… He… Billionaires… words fail me.

    Glad I got my invitation to Bluesky earlier this week. Xitter will crater faster than Enron.

    The question is: And THEN what?

  8. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Ask yourselves, “how many people have seen wage increases (or other income increases) equal to $11-$12K?


    Clearly, you don’t know Jack.


    (How long until Jack flames out like the other misguided that believe themselves “conservatives”? … How many have we had there? We should have a roll-call of those that have gone before Jack? He could refer back to their old posts for their [wildly incorrect] talking points.)

  9. MarkedMan says:


    Ask yourselves, “how many people have seen wage increases (or other income increases) equal to $11-$12K?

    We should definitely ask that question, as should you. It turns out that during that time average household income has increased by $13K, so basically a wash or a slight positive effect.

    You can tell legitimate debate from astro-turf by whether it includes all relevant facts or just the ones that suit pre-existing bias.

  10. MarkedMan says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I’m not on Twitter myself, or an of the other nattering apps, so I’ve been judging the likelihood of Twitter experiencing its MySpace moment by watching as to whether people link to something other than Twitter on this blog, on the media I follow, etc. For months the answer was no, and it is still predominantly no. But I have seen a few links to Threads lately. Earlier this week, two of TPM’s embeds were from Threads rather than Twitter.

  11. inhumans99 says:


    Kevin Drum already did a take down of this story, and even the CBS story admits that the numbers are not quite what they seem, but they bury that point towards the end of the story. Drum also joked that news orgs like CBS might as well just join the GOP payroll, and he is not wrong (and I am not sure he was actually joking).

    I am curious, did you actually read the complete story, or just paid most/all of your attention to the clickbait story title and content easily noticed if you only bother to read part of the story but decide to drift away from finishing story and move on to something else that caught your attention.

  12. Kathy says:

    IMO, since Adolph has threatened to come after media he doesn’t like (ie all media eventually), many news outlets might be preemptively kowtowing to the Orange Lardass in self-preservation.

    That’s like Jews voting for the other Adolph to stay on his good side.

  13. Jen says:

    “…did you actually read the complete story, or just paid most/all of your attention to the clickbait story title and content easily noticed if you only bother to read part of the story but decide to drift away from finishing story and move on to something else that caught your attention.”

    This reminds me of a somewhat-famous statement that’s been attributed to various people: “I can read it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.” Clearly, Jack has decided to forgo that pesky step of reading comprehension.

  14. Kathy says:


    I hope I’ll be able to check it out at home.

    To me, the skunk works kind of boils down to the U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird. The latter still seems futuristic, decades after being designed.

  15. Bill Jempty says:


    This reminds me of a somewhat-famous statement that’s been attributed to various people: “I can read it to you, but I can’t understand it for you.”

    I remember some conservative talking head who kept invoking Neville Chamberlain or Munich. When asked by the show’s host, what were those things about, the talking head couldn’t.

    One of my wife’s favorite sayings- An empty can is noisy.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I have been a dabbler of twitter accounts (Popehat, Stonekettle, Rex Chapman, and a slew of other lawyers who’s names you’d recognize) for a few years now (I never post, just look to see what other folks are thinking). I have yet to dip my toes in any of the replacements (for reasons), but since musk’s latest antisemitic stunt I haven’t been back. His daily tantrums keep reminding me of why I am done with it.

  17. Mikey says:

    I’m not judging any group of consenting adults for whatever sexual arrangements they may have within or outside their marriages, but apparently in this instance one of them stopped consenting and is now accusing the chair of the Florida GOP (and husband of one of the founders of the grossly misnamed “Moms for Liberty”) of rape.

    Florida GOP Chair Christian Ziegler, husband of Moms For Liberty cofounder, accused of sexual battery by alleged menage a trois lover

    Christian Ziegler, Florida’s GOP chairman and husband of Sarasota County School Board member and Moms of Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler, is under criminal investigation after a woman filed a complaint with the Sarasota Police Department alleging the longtime Republican official had raped her, according to a heavily redacted police report obtained by the Florida Trident.

    The complaint was filed on October 4 and the alleged sexual battery occurred inside the woman’s home in Sarasota, according to the report. Among the few words that went unredacted in the report are the words “rape” and “sexual battery.”

    The woman, according to sources close to the investigation, alleged that she and both Zieglers had been involved in a longstanding consensual three-way sexual relationship prior to the incident.

  18. Scott says:

    For a slow news day. Provided without suggesting any particular politician or party:

    In the world of sexual fetishes, crossing the political aisle is a kink

    Roxie Rae is lying on her pink bedspread, her bleached-blond hair draped on her black teddy, thigh-high stockings emerging from her leopard-print stilettos. She turns her backside to the camera and purrs, “Mmm, that looks like just the view to persuade you to vote Republican for daddy Trump. We both know you don’t know what it’s like to be an alpha. You’re just a beta, obeying, doing everything I say. Pretty soon you’ll be preaching and posting the Republican way all over your social media. The best part is, you’ll really believe in it.”

  19. Kingdaddy says:

    @Scott: Once again, as Musk demolishes the company, Twitter’s board is nowhere to be found.

  20. Jack says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Hmmm. And UAW is what percentage of the workforce. <1%? Much less all people living on wage income, pensions, investment portfolios? Was math particularly hard for you when you dropped out in 10th grade, LC?

    Of course, on second thought, you must be correct. That's why the polls say people are so unsatisfied with the economy. Your illuminating commentary notwithstanding…….

  21. Jen says:

    @Mikey: I don’t care what they do in the bedroom, as long as it’s both legal and consensual. But I am pissed off beyond belief that these same @ssholes are successfully purging BOOKS from LIBRARIES.

    Hypocrites. Every accusation is a confession with this crew. Every. Goshdarn. One.

  22. Jack says:


    Another victim of selective statistics. Focus on the trees if you like. You conveniently forget the distribution of income. Something those on the left always love to point out……..except if it doesn’t help their case.

    You make the same mistake Liberal C makes. Instead of dealing with reality, you want to explain away American’s dissatisfaction by playing statistical games. Well. Go ahead. As someone who doesn’t appear to share your voting tendencies I love to see you guys making these bizarre arguments. All while real live Americans are pissed off. They aren’t crazy, or dumb. Lord knows they are fed the biggest BS sandwich ever by most media. But they go to the store. And know their bank accounts, credit card balances and IRA withdrawals. Knock yourself out……

  23. de stijl says:

    Nowadays one could be called anti-Appalachian and anti-worker if you advocate against strip mining. That is how dumb we’ve become.

    I’m anti Hamas and pro Gazan. I’m pro Israeli, but anti-Likud. I am pro-Palestinian and anti Hamas. I am anti-settlement in the West Bank.

    Both sides can legitimately call me an anti-Semite, cancel me, and bury me under my ashes. The world has gone crazy. Apparently it is now impermissible to have a nuanced, conflicted opinion about Gaza.

    I think we are in a pretty good position to call out over-reaction. We did it big-time and stupidly after 9/11. Massively. People who told us to calm the fuck down and think this through before willy-nilly invasion and occupation of Iraq of all places were called anti-American and pro-terrorist. By one party. If you were against the Iraq “war” you were pro-terrorist in their book. What did that “war” gain us?

    The nay-sayers, I among them, were correct. The over-reactors were wrong. We gained nothing except ill-will. We screwed the pooch. We fucked up bad. We made Iran a regional superpower. We were foolish and short-sighted. We were angry and needed to lash out.

    By invading and occupying we created an enemy.

    History repeats.

  24. de stijl says:


    They are crazy and dumb.

  25. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Jack: Let’s try a different tack. I don’t agree that the economy is terrible. What sort of argument would sway you?

    I could say, “I’m doing just fine”, and you might call me selfish and myopic.

    I could say, “The unemployment rate is very, very low, which means lots of people have jobs, which is a thing that could well have been very,very different, given Covid.” I don’t know what you would say to that, but I doubt it would make a dent.

    I could say, “All things being equal, yeah, I would rather not have inflation. But we can’t have other things we want without some inflation.” Of course, you would label that with some insult, I’m sure.

    We have a powerful economy, that grew at an annual rate of 5 percent last quarter. It happened because of fiscal policy which is also why we got some inflation. You really can’t have one without the other, even though people say that you can all the time. I’ve never seen it happen. More growth equals more inflation. Growth was a better choice, in my opinion. The inflation is rough at the gas pump and rough at the checkout, but it’s really good when you’re paying your existing mortgage, because your wages have very likely gone up, too. But your mortgage payment hasn’t. And yes, higher current rates are making new home buying harder. It’s all a tradeoff.

    Thing is, Jack, I don’t think you’re here to discuss. You are here to tell us we are wrong, and there is no discussion. I don’t know, maybe you expect the angry responses, maybe you even like them. Maybe you wear them as a badge of honor. I do wonder though, why spend your time on this?

    This is a place we discuss things.

  26. steve says:

    I have been reading literature for a long time. If you want to look at how much costs rose you need to also look at wages. When you do that you see that wages have increased more than prices, on average. However, if you have read behavioral economics (have you?) then you know that people value losses more than gains. So some people actually are worse off but most are not, but even the ones who are better off will mostly focus on the higher prices. It’s actually good to be concerned about inflation but people overrate it because of that bias.

    There are secondary ways to confirm this (which you should always try to do when reading studies). When people are asked about their personal finances they are positive about them. When asked about prices and wages they worry about the costs but when asked how they are doing financially they know they are actually doing OK.

    If you want to deal in feelings feel free but I run a couple of entities with fairly large budgets so I am really a numbers guy. If I put out my financial reports with only costs and not revenues I would have a revolt. BTW, you arent very good at internet or economics. You should put a link to your article. You should also learn to find data directly or learn to read multiple sources and always be wary of start and ending dates on financial claims.


  27. de stijl says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Bummer! I will host a wake in McGowan’s honor. A profoundly fucked-up person, but a great “singer”. Can you call him a singer?

    That marble-mouth motherfucker had a profound influence on the way I see life.

    A man who was a totally crappy and awesome singer, and elicited so much joy and sorrow (and tears) from those who listened to him.

    I wish him a conflicted good-bye and will sit wake by listening to Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash on repeat. Close enough to December, so Christmas in New York too. Thousands Are Sailing.

    I have no whiskey. Vodka will have to do. I think Shane would approve. A shot to Shane. Slainte

  28. MarkedMan says:

    @Jack: Yes Jack, those were words that you used. They were nonsense and stung together with no real meaning, but they were words. Good for you!

  29. becca says:

    Sadie and I were taking our early morning walk today and were attacked by two dogs that broke through a chain link gate to get at us. We’ve taken this route several times and never saw any dogs at this house before today. Sadie and I noticed them at the gate as we were passing. She’s a good girl and just kept walking. Suddenly the larger male bashed through and went right for Sadie. As I turned to yell at the dog, who had Sadie on her back, I felt the female on my backside. She bit me on my ass. The owner came out the front door and the dogs hightailed it back to the yard.
    Short story long, the owner was freaked out and followed me home and called her husband and he called me. Luckily, all dogs involved were up to date on shots. They were obviously quite relieved I’m not taking any further action. I have a butt bruise and Sadie has couple of small shallow wounds on her rear end, but nothing near serious. The family promised to immediately address the issue. I made it clear I want to continue my walks without fear of a recurrence, cuz then I wouldn’t be so accommodating.
    Plus, I’m gonna start carrying Mace.

  30. Gustopher says:

    @Kingdaddy: Does Twitter have a board? I thought Elongated Muskrat took it private.

  31. DK says:


    All while real live Americans are pissed off.

    At whom? Based on recent election results, it seems Americans are indeed quite irritated with those banning abortion, banning books, blocking student debt relief, and supporting insurrection against democracy.

  32. DK says:


    I haven’t been back. His daily tantrums keep reminding me of why I am done with it.

    You cannot use Twitter casually a la Facebook or Instagram. You have to ruthlessly curate the experience:

    1) Find a few niche subcultures (i.e. gay travel Twitter, fan of [insert artist here] Twitter, classic film Twitter, aviation Twitter, funny pet meme Twitter, [insert kink of choice] porn Twitter, NBA/NFL/MLB Twitter, etc.).

    2. Resist the urge to stray from those niches; ignore trending topics.

    3. Block Russiabots and everything else Elmo’s rightwing cesspool algorithm attempts to feed you outside your preferred subcultures. With Elmo and his lackeys at the top of the block list.

    People who still regularly do politics Twitter are not normal.

  33. Gustopher says:


    However, if you have read behavioral economics (have you?) then you know that people value losses more than gains. So some people actually are worse off but most are not, but even the ones who are better off will mostly focus on the higher prices. It’s actually good to be concerned about inflation but people overrate it because of that bias.

    Of course, because people overrate it, Biden will still pay a price. Plus, all the people who are not better off. And the people who know those people. There’s a lot of economic churn, and that leads to everyone knowing someone who is now struggling more than they were.

    It’s not good, and focusing on statistics ends up perversely sending the message that those who are doing worse are losers who got the shaft.

    I’m hoping that in another year, a lot of that has smoothed out. Fewer losers, less shaft. A robust job market that lets those who have t gotten raises to keep up find new jobs that pay more and are more optimistic.

  34. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @de stijl:

    Apparently it is now impermissible to have a nuanced, conflicted opinion about Gaza.

    It’s impermissible to have a nuanced, conflicted opinion about much of anything any more. See, for example, just about every comment thread on this site (which is still significantly better than any other I’ve found). At least on the Internet or anything broadcast, nuance is dead. You must choose a side! And the other side is absolutely evil and deserves nothing but contempt and insults!

  35. Jen says:

    @becca: Oh my god–that sounds terrifying. I’m glad you and Sadie are both okay with only minor wounds. (I’m also really proud of Sadie, that sort of thing can be very triggering for a rescue dog.)

    And yeah, mace or bear spray sounds like a good idea. The benefit of bear spray is that it’s designed to work at a distance, *before* the bear (or dogs) are right up on you.

  36. de stijl says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Two stories:

    One. There was a time in my life where my commute was four hours on the interstate. On Sunday afternoon I would drive down. This went on for 16 months. Very often I was in the mood for The Pogues. Roughly half of my free time on that gig was figuring out and preparing for the drive and what I would listen to during. It’s a boring flat interstate: you stick to your lane, drive just a notch less than 10% above the posted speed limit so the state troopers don’t mess with you, and roll on. It’s flat, boring, straight interstate highway. I knew every bump, exit, and bush. I was basically on autopilot. Primed to just ingest good music.

    The Pogues helped me on that journey frequently. Oftentimes, when I hit my destination I would go to my local, the Royal Mile, and have a pint and a shot. I don’t swallow shots, I sip them slowly. Nice way to unwind.

    I truly came to love that 4 hour twice a week commute. It was dead time where I just was.

    Two: Half Time Rec was a cool ass kinda dumpy bar in the ass end of northern residential St. Paul. An Irish bar. All the wait staff were super-cute American college girls out front many of whom I was in unrequited love with, but the owner was an ex-pat and seemingly all of the behind the bar staff were Irish immigrants. Dude got in trouble with the INS. YouOnce a week or so they’d host a band from Ireland on tour or Irish-American band playing trad music. Back then St. Paul was the most ethnically diverse city in Minnesota when it comes to white folk. Irish, Poles, French, Swedes, Germans. In the 70s and early 80s a lot of Vietnamese and Hmong, Cambodians crashed the party and good on them, shook things up.

    I saw a lot of fantastic trad bands there. Some rock oriented ones. Some punk oriented. Some straight-up traditional. For a year or so I lived close enough to walk. Walking distance to a great bar is a two-edged sword. I fell in love with Irish music.

    I went back there a few years back on a whim, I was in town. It’s a country bar now. Different owner, different crowd. Not my scene.

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    See, for example, just about every comment thread on this site

    There is nuanced discussion to be had here if you are willing to trace the vine through the bush.

  38. Jay L Gischer says:

    @de stijl: A few years ago I drove from Houston, TX through San Antonio and El Paso to LA on I-10 and then on to SF via I-5.

    Driving on I-10 felt a lot like you are describing. I listened to an opera, (“St Francis of Assisi” by Messaien) but I don’t think the mental state is all that different. The part of me that needs to drive stays online, and part is listening to the music and everything else about my mind and body grows very, very quiet. Definitely an altered consciousness. Of course, I did it for 8-10 hours a day for a couple of days.

    But wow, does it seem a lot like what you are describing. Strangely pleasant. Would do again.

  39. de stijl says:


    I never got the point of Twitter. I had an active account for a few weeks.

    What the hell am I going to post about? I got nothing new to say. Smarter people than me already said it.

    I posted pics of pangolins. I posted pics of pangolins flexing like they’re gym bros. I posted pics of pangolins spouting dumb memes.

    I had nothing to say. When I ran out of pangolin pics I had nothing.

    So I stopped.

    There is an inactive, abandoned account out there with my name on it.

  40. Mister Bluster says:

    @becca:..She bit me on my ass.
    I’m not a dog guy but I am glad that you and Sadie are OK.
    This is why when people claim that their dogs don’t bite I always ask them how the dog eats it’s food.

  41. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Given the speed a dog can consume large amounts of food, I think it’s a combination of inhalation and osmosis. Unless they have to tear flesh away from the body of prey, which most domestic dogs don’t have to do.

  42. de stijl says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    There is something about a long interstate drive that just opens up the mind.

    Do it for a stretch and you go into a trance state. Semi-trance. You are aware and easily reactive to stimuli, but are 90% just grooving along, listening deeply to music.

    You are simultaneously extremely aware of your surroundings and also in a semi-zen state.

    If you drive for several hours and then stop to pee or buy a soda, everything you see has that weird effect that it is slowly approaching you. It is a common visual quasi-hallucination, but damn does it freak you out in real time.

    I very truly came to love the almost euphoric zen consciousness of driving the interstate for hours. It came to be the favorite time of my week. I just was. Going somewhere but nothing to do in the meanwhile. It’s more than a bit addictive.

    I am a classical music aficionado too. My go-to is Bach and a way lesser known French guy named Marin Marais (highly recommended). Dude is really big on the double bass.

    I love just driving on the interstate. You can basically zone out. Keep 5% of your attention on the road, keep to your lane, pass others, don’t impede folks who want to pass you. Be cool and safe.

    My personal choice is to set the cruise control just a notch below 10% above the posted limit. You don’t want to attract the attention of the state troopers dudes. 76.5 in a seventy is almost 100% a pass.

    I spent (does math) more than 500 hours driving back and forth to Des Moines and never got pulled over once by a Minnesota trooper or an Iowa one. Give them respect and they ignore you. Which is good.

    Mostly it’s just rolling on.

  43. Jack says:


    Actually, being a big consumer of business press, and a practitioner, I think the numbers are conservative. As I posted a couple days ago, depending on individual circumstances, people have suffered reductions in purchasing power of 3-10%.

    Deny if you like. I’m not here to convince a bunch of obvious sycophantic partisans. But the consumer is not smiling back at you. Knock yourself out.

  44. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    Apparently it is now impermissible to have a nuanced, conflicted opinion about Gaza.

    Here’s a twee indie pop song about this (more generally, not Israel-Palestine):
    Alec Benjamin, “Nuance”

    I don’t mean “twee” in a bad way. It’s gloriously twee. Alec Benjamin knows he is making twee indie pop songs and just leans into it with an authenticity and earnestness that is refreshing (and twee). There’s no ironic pretension, all that pretension is honest. A normal person would flinch, but he just rolls with it.

    That’s punk twee.

  45. MarkedMan says:

    @Jack: So your answer to the wage data is, “Data that doesn’t match my pre-conceptions is automatically nonsense.” Got it.

  46. Jack says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    In this short time I’ve discovered this is hardly a place open to discussion. But YMMV.

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion that the economy doesn’t suck. But this all started with a piece on why the American people do. And all I’ve seen is rationalizations, complete with convenient or false statistics, that the people are wrong. Funny that.

    Look at employment pre-covid and now. Jobs creation is pretty tepid. The unemployment rate looks good because participation has declined. Joe Biden has not “created” 13MM jobs. A covid wrecked economy has recovered, although not nearly as robustly as it could have.

    As for your comment about robust growth. One really must look at things in broad perspective. You cite robust growth. And to your credit, you admit fueled by easy money. Yet you and other commenters refuse to acknowledge the costs of inflation. Inflation is truly devastating, especially on the lower economic classes. Yet it seems like just passing musing to you.

    I tend to parse statistics. Look at the effects on multiple tiers of people. Over time. The poor and middle class are getting screwed royally. And go take a look at credit card debt, credit card delinquencies, credit card default and IRA withdrawals. The party is over. And the home equity piggy bank is running low. Spending today to maintain the lifestyle is the American way. But the party eventually ends.

    To be honest, I think you should look in the mirror. You seem to me to be here just to defend all things Biden and Democrat. Selective factoids rule.

    As I’ve pointed out to others here. You are free to do that on some blog. I really don’t care. I’m not here to convert the ideologues. But the American consumer, and now voter, is wiser, more in tune with reality, and trying to tell you something. Go ahead. Ignore it.

  47. de stijl says:

    As I said earlier, living walking distance close to a bar you hang out in frequently makes your life interesting. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. Always sketchy as fuck.

    This not a problem anymore, but I used to live a block away from a bar where I was fairly regular patron. I would go there three or four times a week over the course of several years.

    I would dip out at 8 PM or so. I was a working adult and needed to eat and sleep and be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8 AM.

    I got to know the staff, the regulars, the managers, the owners, it became interesting. I was dating one of the waitresses. Lines and boundaries get blurry when alcohol is involved. And, at the time, I was pretty crap at setting boundaries.

    One of the bartenders lived in my building and was my best friend at the time. One of the regulars lived just down the hall from me, three doors down.

    People I kinda sorta knew would crash on my couch often. I would get knocks on my door at 2:15 AM, rude!, and phonecalls to come up to Chief’s unit and PARTY! on Friday and Saturday nights I sometimes did.

    I knew a guy who was a regular who lived in my building. He was a flat-out get blind drunk everynight alcoholic. When semi-sober a really good, solid dude. Educated and smart. Interesting. He ghost wrote biographies for small time celebrities, interesting gig, that.

    When drunk he was a not good person. Tried to grope me many times even after I told him I was straight. “Dude! Not happening!”

    I slang his stupid, drunk ass into his bed many times. Sometimes, when he had crossed the line too hard I just dropped him about two feet into his unit on the floor. Wake up with that, fucker! I got his drunk ass home.

    One time Chief came home and found KC passed out hard in the elevator. He’d made it 90% of the way home. Chief called me up to sling him into his bed.

    I made him fetch the keys. Afterwards, when we put KC to bed we sort of looked at each other. “Hey, wanna come up to my place for a beer? We could play Halo multi-player.”

    “Sure. Why not?”

    We’d just stared at flat-out scary, ghastly alcoholism and its effects straight in the eye with KC’s glassy non-stare, and decided to keep drinking anyway. At 3 AM.

    It was a blast!

  48. de stijl says:


    I have zero problems with twee.

    About 15% of my music consumption could be rightfully considered “twee”. Not a problem!

    My take: not bad. A bit meh. Not shoegazy enough. Not gonna dethrone Aimee Mann!

    The queen!

  49. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @becca: Plus, I’m gonna start carrying Mace.

    Bear spray might be better. Let me repeat, might… Check with your vet.

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jack: All while real live Americans are pissed off.

    Fuck off. You don’t get to say who is and isn’t a real American.


  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DK: The only thing I ever used twitter for was to follow the people I mentioned. I never posted, never replied, never favorited, never had any kind of interaction whatsoever with anyone there. Also, I’ve never facebooked or instagrammed.

    For now, I’m gonna just sit back and wait for things to settle out. Might be a year or 2 (or 3) but I’m a patient introvert. Listening is what I do.

    @de stijl: There is an inactive, abandoned account out there with my name on it.

    I don’t think my recently abandoned account even has a name on it. I wouldn’t know, never cared enough to try to figure out how to put a name on it.

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jack: That the economy probably hasn’t grown as fast or as much or as well as it could have is pretty easy to see. That, at least according to comments coming from sources in parts of the world not part of El Rushbo’s “fruited plain,” it has done as well as anyone else and better than most is also pretty easy to see. For me, the wheels fall off your argument at the point where you seem to be asserting that Republicans–a party that can’t even circle their own wagons to pass their own budget resolution–would be ushering forth a promised land of untold prosperity if only “we” would let them be the racist, misogynistic, LGBT+-bashing, ETA: innumerate cretins they would like to show us they are.

    On the other hand, everyone has a faith. Go in peace and serve whatever you perceive God to be–stormy thunderer, or cosmic muffin.

    AETA: “I’m not here to convert the ideologues.” And yet, you’ve responded several times beseeching others to stop being ideologues. Hmmm…

  53. Jax says:

    Well, I made it to my THURSDAY doctor appointment. 😛 Waste of my time! I asked when I made the appointment if I could schedule the MRI for today, too….”Oh, nooo, your doctor has to decide that.” Drove 4 hours, round trip, for 15 minutes in an exam room where he declared that my shoulder is, indeed, very fucked up, and he thinks an MRI is in order to find out why. (eyeroll emoji…Oh, I know why. I was trying to pry my Dad out of the baler by all means necessary) Oh, and unless I want to make two trips (4 hours both times), I have to be there in the morning.

    Ummm… I’m the only motherfucker around here to feed the cows. They’ve OBVIOUSLY never seen how mad cows get when they don’t get their breakfast. 😛

    I’m still pretty sure it’s Friday, and tomorrow is Saturday.

  54. steve says:

    Gustopher- You are correct. The fact that overall people are better off ends up being pretty irrelevant. People operate off of their feelings and they worse because prices are higher, which they see everyday. They get paid once or twice a month. You dont really have to read behavioral econ, just run a business for a long time. The year we gave people one of their largest raises, above inflation, we also need to change our health insurance. The plan closest to what we had included a deductible that increased about 200 dollars. Guess what I heard more about, the raises of thousands of dollars or the increased deductible.


  55. MarkedMan says:


    I tend to parse statistics

    Spare me the phony sophistication. You came in here and quoted half a set of numbers trying to sound like you knew what you were talking about. When several of us quoted the rest of them, you dropped the act and started sling insults. You’re coming across as just another trumper. You’re a cargo-cult statistician, trotting out a few disconnected factoids in the hope that others will mistake it for the real thing.

  56. Kathy says:

    Small irrelevant details from under the mountain of Hell Week work:

    The weather’s been cool lately, growing positively cold at night. I sleep a lot better snuggling under two blankets. This past week I’ve even slept through an alarm after 7.5 hours of uninterrupted slumber.

    The new corporate cell phones are in. No idea what we’ll get this time, rumor says Samsung. On the one hand the Xiaomi I got two years ago has degraded considerably (lately it freezes, and I have to turn off the screen and unlock the phone to get it to work). So I’m eager for a new one. On the other hand, Hell Week part One. I lack the time and inclination to configure a new phone.

    I’ve already scheduled some weekend hours to advance some Hell Week stuff. Now I’ll have to dedicate some more to the new portable computer that makes phone calles.

    There’s a little wrinkle. The email telling us where and when to exchange phones, added this: “If you want to keep your current phone, it will cost 300 pesos in cash.” That’s about $15-17 US.

    That’s a good deal for those who get the upper tier phones, like managers. Me, I get a mid-market, slow, not very good phone. I’ve seen others get the latest iphone flagship, or a Galaxy S something, etc.

  57. DrDaveT says:


    As I posted a couple days ago, depending on individual circumstances, people have suffered reductions in purchasing power of 3-10%.

    Even if this were true, what do you think it has to do with Joe Biden? Apart, that is, from ignorant knee-jerk reaction by people who don’t actually understand what a President can control and what is external?

    Yes, the perception of lost buying power will probably hurt Biden at the polls. The relentless Republican war on education probably contributes to that. That’s not the same as Biden actually being responsible for inflation, or his opponent not being a fascist moron con man. If your point was just to gloat that Biden’s chances are being hurt by things beyond his control… OK. Point taken.

  58. DrDaveT says:


    You seem to me to be here just to defend all things Biden and Democrat.

    Only by comparison. A modestly competent Democrat beats an incompetent fascist demagogue, in all ways and at all times. Even when I’d much rather have a better Democrat. That’s not on the menu at the moment, just like “sane Republican” isn’t on the menu.

  59. Matt says:

    @Scott: My favorite part is how Musk kept getting the guy’s name wrong despite said name being plastered across the wall they were talking in front of.

  60. Matt says:


    All while real live Americans are pissed off.

    The one thing that almost never fails to piss off the “real live Americans” I know is to show them the facts about income inequality in the USA. How the top 1% have gobbled up the majority of all wealth in this country while generally paying a smaller % of their income as taxes in comparison to the “middle class”. Sure you’ll find some “true believers” that think such things are fine because they believe either the money will trickle down some decade or they will end up rich themselves magically through “hard work”. Spoiler alert not a single one of those people have gotten very far with hard work in the last few decades. Meanwhile whole families are making tens of thousands to millions an hour just existing…

    @Jack: I’m so glad you’ve joined us on the “tax the rich” platform. Since removing the money from the privileged few and redistributing it to the many is a surefire way to deal with the issues you brought up. While I would love to go back to the 1950s level of taxes I can meet part way into the 60s.