Tuesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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 and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mu Yixiao says:

    Oh… let’s start the day off right.

    North Carolina school bans “furries” (which don’t exist).

    [T]he board introduced a proposed amendment to the district’s dress code that would ban “a costume or part of a costume including tails, gloves, ears, or collars.” The policy contains exceptions for spirit weeks or theatre productions. The new policy appears intended to quash rumors that the school district supports “furry” students by explicitly banning animal costumes. “We’re trying to address it before it becomes a major problem,” board member Bryan Shoemaker told Queen City News. The board will vote on the amendment next month.

    #NotTheOnion

    2
  2. Scott says:

    @Mu Yixiao: As if accommodating the whackos, cynical provocateurs, and general looniness of the current American culture will stop anybody.

    2
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: They need to grow a pair.

    2
  4. JohnSF says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    If nobody comes up with a headline like “Furry Fury” I shall lose all hope for America.
    🙂

    6
  5. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    …or collars.

    Does this part of the code mean that students will only be permitted to wear t-shirts or that wearing of shirts and sweaters will be banned altogether? (Hint: The band of ribbed or gathered fabric on a tee at the opening through which one’s head goes is called a what?) I guess tank tops would be okay but how many of the boys who aren’t being blessed physically by their entrance into puberty are going to want to wear those?

    3
  6. Scott says:

    I’m reminded of the Proctor and Gamble Satanic symbol fiasco of the 80s:

    When 1980s Satanic Panic Targeted Procter & Gamble

    IF YOU WERE ALIVE IN 1982, you might remember a very special episode of Phil Donahue’s talk show. On that day, the President of Procter & Gamble went on the program and admitted that the company supported the Church of Satan and that its logo contained Satanic symbols. Oh, it happened in 1985? Actually, others remember the episode airing in 1989.

    The truth is, this never occurred. P&G has never had any connection to the Church of Satan. The Church itself describes the claim as “completely false.” But the truth has never stopped a good rumor from catching on.

    7
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Holy moly!’ drought-hit Mississippi River reveals 19th-century trading ship

    After his discovery, Ford had a message of encouragement for other explorers who are as curious as him. “Explore your surroundings – get to know where you live, what’s around beyond just what’s in front of you,” he said. “Take a walk, see what’s out there.”

    Back in the day when I was still caving, I spent a lot of time ridge walking looking for new caves. I found plenty of old homesteads, and family graveyards, but by far the coolest non-cave thing I ever stumbled across was the old Scotia Furnace and mine. It’s a really impressive structure, especially since it was built back in the 1870s. Seeing it the first time felt like I had been transported down to the Yucatan and found a forgotten Mayan pyramid. This was over 30 years ago and finding information about it was quite a bit more difficult than it is now. It’s more well known now and gets the occasional visitor but it’s still a bit of a hike in the woods to it.

    3
  8. Beth says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    When I was in high school one of the cheerleaders poorly designed one of the spirit week days. I forget what the actual instructions were but she called it “opposite” day. The punks and the art kids ran with it. I came in a dress and makeup. It was one of the happiest school days I ever had. Two freshmen came in full on leather bondage gear.

    The second best outfit that day was a senior who wore a generic mascot outfit. He was some sort of cat. He spent the whole day with the head on. The cheerleader cried that we “ruined” her day.

    The administration and teachers did absolutely nothing. The only time I remember them cracking down on us was when a girl got hit in the head with a closed coke can during a food fight. I’ve been thinking about the mascot things a lot with the recent RW freak out about Trans kids.

    3
  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    To the surprise of absolutely no one,

    The US Secret Service was made to pay as much as $1,185 a night to stay at properties belonging to former president Donald Trump, a congressional committee said on Monday as it released documents that appeared to show the former president profiting from his protection details in and out of office.

    All told, the Secret Service, which is mandated by law to protect the president and his family, spent $1.4m at Trump-owned properties in the US, according to records obtained by the Democratic-led House oversight committee as part of its investigation into Trump conflicts of interest.

    “The exorbitant rates charged to the Secret Service and agents’ frequent stays at Trump-owned properties raise significant concerns about the former president’s self-dealing and may have resulted in a taxpayer-funded windfall for former president Trump’s struggling businesses,” the committee chair, the New York representative Carolyn Maloney, said in a statement.

    The documents contradicted statements from the former president’s son Eric Trump.

    In 2019, he claimed the Secret Service was charged “like, $50” for hotel rooms. The following year, he said: “We provide the rooms at cost and could make far more money renting them to members or guests.”

    That nut (eric) didn’t fall far from the tree.

    6
  10. Kathy says:

    In the UK, wouldn’t it make more sense for the Tories to call for an election, so Labour can take over and deal with the hot mess?

    Odds are things will keep on getting worse for a year or so, which will damage whatever party is in power.

    1
  11. Kathy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    One wonders why people claiming to be billionaires go the extra mile to milk a few millions from a captive customer, when the optics are so terrible.

  12. Joe says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Tim Miller covered this “controversy” in The Bulwark yesterday.

    1
  13. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Political Micawberism: they are hoping something will turn up to save them from the bill that’s coming due.

    And most the British electorate in not that fickle IMO; whatever bad news arrives re. taxes, recession, spending, prices, and interest rates, for the next 12 months, the Conservatives will catch most of the blame.

    The past fortnight is seared into the minds of even the normally apolitical, if only because of the human drama aspects: Kwarteng humiliatingly discarded, Truss humiliating retained.

    So some Tory MPs hold out a faint hope if they can struggle through to late 2024, the worst may be over.
    Seems the Conservative MP’s are divided on this; as on almost everything.

    There are indications Truss may survive as leader, simply because the MP’s can’t agree on a imposed successor, and nobody sane wants the membership to be involved: to much danger of something going wrong, and a headbanger like Baker or Braverman winning.
    Or even, lord save us, the second coming of Boris.

    1
  14. Scott says:

    Democrats keep harping on abortion and that’s OK along with contraception, same sex marriage and other personal freedom rights. However, if they don’t start slamming this then they don’t deserve to be elected.

    GOP to use debt limit to force spending cuts, McCarthy says

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that if Republicans win control of the House the GOP will use raising the debt limit as leverage to force spending cuts — which could include cuts to Medicare and Social Security — and limit additional funding to Ukraine.

    Scalise acknowledges GOP plan to change Social Security, Medicare

    Representative Steve Scalise, the number two House Republican, defended his party’s approach to Medicare and Social Security, which has become a campaign issue ahead of US midterm elections in November. It’s a mis-characterization to say the GOP plans to “cut” the programs, Scalise said on “Fox News Sunday.”

    And don’t forget that it was Trump that added $7.8T to the national debt.

    7
  15. Slugger says:

    The ban on wearing gear including animal tails would impact more than just the non-existent “furry” community. When I was a child, many of my peers identified as early Americans and wore Dan’l Boone type of coonskin caps. Surely the North Carolina school board is not against Dan’l Boone! Or maybe they are? They might resent the 69-98 drubbing that the University of Kentucky gave the Tarheels last December.

    1
  16. Scott says:

    @Slugger: That would be brilliant for a bunch of HSers to start wearing coon skin caps as protest.

    4
  17. gVOR08 says:

    The Europeans seem to be dealing with gas supplies, but Putin still has a clear path to victory in Ukraine. From Political Wire ,

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) told Punchbowl News that if Republicans win control of the House the GOP will use raising the debt limit as leverage to force spending cuts and limit additional funding to Ukraine.

    And,

    McCarthy also wouldn’t rule out cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

    Said McCarthy: “You can’t just continue down the path to keep spending and adding to the debt.”

    Of course you can. Republicans do it every time they have power. And try convincing GOP voters GOPs want to cut Medicare and SS just because every now and then they admit it. Maybe, as with the Tories, the only way to destroy Republicanism (itis?) is to let them have the trifecta for 12 years.Of course the Tories are still allowing honest elections after 12 years in power, the GOPs wouldn’t.

    3
  18. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: No edit. Sorry @Scott:, you beat me by that much.

    1
  19. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    The first principle of politics is to keep power as long as possible, ideally forever.

    The problem is that often effective governance gets in the way of maintaining power, and the latter is naturally the preference of those in power.

    2
  20. Kathy says:

    Concerning The Expanse, I thought I’d mention a few things I think the series is good at:

    We’ve colonized the Moon, Mars, and assorted large asteroids and gas giant satellites, and yet we’re as screwed up in tangles of money, power, corruption, war, factionalism, etc. that is so true to life it hurts.

    People conceived and raised in lower gravity 1) don’t develop the same way and 2) may have problems with higher gravity. I first came across this issue in Clarke’s 70 s novel “Imperial Earth.”

    Truth is we have reason to expect problems, but we can’t say how they will manifest. I’d accept everything from “people raised on the Moon would die if they set foot on Earth,” to “Oh, just take this pill and you’ll be fine, with a 95% efficacy.” The Expanse falls somewhere in between.

    The first point, different development, is tricky. You need to use actors born and raised on earth, after all. If anyone does an animated adaptation, or for that matter an animated movie or TV show involving people raised in lower gravity, characters could be drawn in any needed shape.

    1
  21. Scott says:

    This was touched upon yesterday but here’s some more info @JohnSF:

    From ISW: A fratricidal altercation between mobilized servicemen at a training ground in Belgorod Oblast on October 15 is likely a consequence of the Kremlin’s continual reliance on ethnic minority communities to bear the burden of mobilization in the Russian Federation. Russian sources reported that the shooting took place after mobilized servicemen from Dagestan, Azerbaijan, and Adyghe complained to their commander that the war in Ukraine is not their war to fight, to which the commander responded that they are fighting a “holy war” and called Allah a “coward,” causing a fight to break out between Muslim and non-Muslim servicemen.[7] Russian sources then claimed that three mobilized Tajik servicemen opened fire at the training ground, killing the commander and both contract and mobilized soldiers.[8] Eyewitnesses claimed that the shooters told Muslim servicemen to stand aside as they opened fire.[9] The Russian information space immediately responded to the incident with racialized rhetoric against Central Asians and called for the introduction of a visa regime in Russia.[10]

    Much of the Kremlin’s campaign to avoid general mobilization has fallen along distinct ethnic lines, and ethnic minority enclaves have largely borne the brunt of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s force generation efforts.[11] ISW previously reported on the prevalence of volunteer battalions formed in non-Russian ethnic minority communities, many of which suffered substantial losses upon deployment to Ukraine.[12] This trend continued following Putin’s announcement of partial mobilization, after which authorities continued to deliberately target minority communities to fulfill mobilization orders.[13] ISW also previously noted that the asymmetric distribution of mobilization responsibilities along ethnic lines led to the creation of localized and ethnically based resistance movements, which ISW forecasted could cause domestic ramifications as the war continues.[14] The Belgorod shooting is likely a manifestation of exactly such domestic ramifications. Ethnic minorities that have been targeted and forced into fighting a war defined by Russian imperial goals and shaped by Russian Orthodox nationalism will likely continue to feel alienation, which will create feed-back loops of discontent leading to resistance followed by crackdowns on minority enclaves.

    4
  22. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    In August 1937 The New Yorker published an article entitled “Furry Fury.”

    And there’s some game called “Furry Fury.”

    3
  23. Neil Hudelson says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    When I was 16 I was out hiking across a field when I tripped pretty hard, busted my nose. Got up to kick the damn thing that tripped me and discovered it was a grave stone. Actually, quite a few of them buried, and a few not buried but covered in vines. Restoring this little country cemetery ended up being my Eagle Scout project. Cleared out brush, uncovered and reset the headstones, researched the names of the people in it (if memory serves, a few Union veterans, including a colonel), and worked with the local historical society to see if we could figure out who was buried under the headstones that were too weathered to read.

    I need to go exploring again.

    5
  24. JohnSF says:

    @JohnSF:
    @Kathy:
    As I say; there’s division.
    Some Conservatives are currently in favour of a spell in opposition to get the taint of government on Labour, and to give them an opportnity to sort themselves out.

    Problem is even these divide (roughly) into the “four tribes of Toryism”: populists, semi-libertarians (semi because very few are social libertarians), traditionalists (including fiscal hawks), and “One Nation” moderates.
    Each of which wants to marginalise or drive out at least one or two of the others.

    And here is why MPs must avoid the membership putting a spoke in the wheel again:

    Majority of Tory party members want Liz Truss to resign now – as Boris Johnson tops list to replace PM

    A YouGov poll of Tory members found 55% would now vote for Rishi Sunak, who lost out to Ms Truss, if they were able to vote again, while just 25% would vote for Ms Truss.

    And a majority (63%) think former PM Boris Johnson would be a good replacement, with 32% putting him as their top candidate, followed by Mr Sunak at 23%.

    They also would support Mr Sunak as a replacement, with 60% thinking that would be a good idea, while 47% think new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt would be a good replacement.

    1
  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    Off to Europe today. Santorini, Florence, Barcelona, Lisbon, San Sebastian and London. Four nights each. No real purpose, just hanging out with my wife and looking at things. Also, eating things. So, I may be checking in here at odd times of day. Or maybe I’ll actually be able to disconnect from politics, but sigh, not likely. The digital universe is hard to escape.

    Although, even in the old days. . . I was in a sweaty Madrid subway when I roughly interpreted a Spanish newspaper headline to mean that Nixon had to surrender the tapes. Watergate would drag on for a bit but it was all over.

    3
  26. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    The obvious, and therefore impossible, solution is for Boris to announce he has no desire to resume the office at No. 10, and let Truss have as dignified an exit as is possible.

    No one would believe him, but everyone would pretend to.

    It won’t happen, though.

    1
  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Cool, my favorite graveyard find was along an Iron Co, MO gravel road. The tombstone said simply “Civil War Soldier” with a date of 1864 (iirc). No doubt one of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who died of illness or disease while on the march. I’ve always wondered if he was Union or Confederate and why they didn’t say.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    Sixty Years ago Today
    On October 18, 1962, Kennedy met with Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Gromyko, who claimed the weapons were for defensive purposes only. Not wanting to expose what he already knew and to avoid panicking the American public, Kennedy did not reveal that he was already aware of the missile buildup. By October 19, frequent U-2 spy flights showed four operational sites.
    WikiP

    What to do?
    Bomb Cuba?
    Blockade Soviet Navy?
    What to do?

  29. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    I really don’t like Joy Reid on MSNBC, but I this is pretty spot-on.

    It’s terrifying how many Americans will choose literal fascism, female serfdom, climate collapse and the reversal of everything from Social Security & Medicare to student loan relief bc they think giving Republicans the power to investigate Hunter Biden will bring down gas prices

    7
  30. JohnSF says:

    @Kathy:
    Actually Johnson might stand aside, except perhaps for the factor that he has a burning grudge against Sunak.
    He’s apparently made it known he wants to go off and make some serious money.
    (Or, as he was born in New York, if he became a US citizen, perhaps you could have him as President? LOL)

    Problem is, Johnson is far from the worst option; not even Truss is the worst.
    Steve Baker or Suella Braverman might win it; and they are genuinely scary individuals.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: @Scott: Wait, not too many weeks ago when I suggested that the commitment to support Ukraine was only valid until Jan 2o23, people told me that I was misjudging the GQP because they were definitely NOT going to support choking off supplies to Ukraine–it was the only thing they agreed with Dems on. Whut up?

    1
  32. Kathy says:

    You know the science fiction trope that we’d be to advanced, very smart aliens as ants are to us? Well, I think ants would understand some of what we do, if not how we manage it, were they capable of understanding (in that sense, I believe they don’t understand what they do). I say this because both ants and people are biological organisms who procure and store food and build shelter.

    Still, aliens who didn’t need food or shelter, or who have developed technological solutions to assure such thing at minimal or zero cost (think Trek replicator and Stargate zero-point energy sources), might spend their time in pursuits we could not comprehend. Again, look at ants. They might understand houses and pantries, but not museums or television.

    The problem is they wouldn’t be interesting in fiction, the more important part of science fiction.

    Take Clarke’s novel “Rendezvous with Rama.” It’s about a gigantic, cylindrical spaceship, named Rama by humans when they thought it was an odd asteroid, that transits through the Solar System, picking up a gravitational assist from the Sun (and I think matter as well), and then goes on its way, never much acknowledging humans even exist.

    Some people manage to enter the craft and have a look around. they make maps, they name features, they explore, they encounter odd synthetic/biological creatures (biots) of uncertain purpose, large collections of buildings without visible means of entry, etc., but they can never figure out what Rama is or what’s it for.

    That was good, but unsatisfying.

    There are three sequels, Rama II, Garden of Rama, and Rama Revealed. written with Genrty Lee. They reveal what Rama was, what it was for, more or less who built it, etc.

    They were ok, but in the end the purpose of Rama felt too pedestrian for me, not to mention it was a rehash of much of Clarke’s earlier work.

    Anyway, I think a truly incomprehensible alien story is impossible to write, as the aliens would be as incomprehensible to the human author as to the human readers. Sure, one can come up with lots of grandiose stuff that makes no sense, and then say we couldn’t understand it. But then the author has no clue what it was, either.

    3
  33. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It seems to me the GQP prefer Putin and Orban to American democracy. They want their absolute minority rule, after all.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy:

    There are three sequels, Rama II, Garden of Rama, and Rama Revealed. written with Genrty Lee. They reveal what Rama was, what it was for, more or less who built it, etc.

    They were ok, but in the end the purpose of Rama felt too pedestrian for me, not to mention it was a rehash of much of Clarke’s earlier work.

    I could have done with a spoiler here given that I don’t like Clarke’s writing enough to slog through anything he’s written–including short stories.

    ETA: But I do think that A Canticle for Leibowitz did a credible job of dealing with “inscruitable” aliens–in this case, non aliens, but I’m sure you get what I mean. YMMV.

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    Inflation Alert!
    For as long as I can remember the free My Panera Rewards promotion gave members a My Panera Reward after 7 visits with a purchase. I usually get a free bagel since that is my order most of the time. Now and then I get a reward of $1 or $2 off a sandwich or salad.
    Today when I got my receipt it reads “Visits To Next Reward: 8! Yikes!
    This just a week after the price of a bagel increased by 10¢ from $1.69 to $1.79. With tax the total bagel cost has increased from $1.89 to $2.00. I don’t use cream cheese which is an extra charge. Just free (range? I don’t know.) butter.
    I guess I should be grateful that my Social Security benefit will increase 8.7% in 2023. I have also read somewhere that my Medicare premium will decrease next year.
    Hopefully the lower cost of Government Health Insurance will cover the announced increase of my monthly Panera Coffee Club membership in 2023 from $8.99*+tax to $10.99+tax for all the mud I can drink.
    Oh yeah. The internet connection is still free and works all the time!

    *Edit Key Appears!
    Just changed this amount from $8.88 to the correct $8.99. $8.88 was the room charge for a night at Super 8 Motels when they first came on line. Motel 6 charged $6/night. If you wanted TV it was an extra $1 and they gave you a key to turn the thing on. Here in Sleepytown there was a Best 7 Inn.
    Seven dollars a night. “The best $7 you ever spent!”

    2
  36. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    SPOILER ALERT!

    You’re been warned.

    The purpose of Rama was to gather samples of various technological species for study.

    More spoilers: the humans ruin it for everyone, especially themselves.

    As to Leibowitz, no spoilers, my take was “some kind of Christian belief that makes no logical sense.”

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: From Leibowitz, I took away something completely different (though I must admit that having no secular baggage to carry makes a lot of my readings different). I saw a person in what appeared to be some sort of post-apocalyptic society reading something for which he had no background information to add and running with it down the lines that his training as a monk lead him.

    (I don’t think that behavior is exclusive to Christians, either.)

    But thanks for the spoilers on the other series. Saves me a lot of time and disappointment. 🙂

  38. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I thought “The Sparrow” also had an interesting take on inscrutable aliens. And it was also a credible exploration of how the discovery of intelligent life would affect religious views, predominantly the Catholic perspective, in a deeply nuanced and realistic way, i.e. not “all religions hate science because they can’t handle the truth!”

    Admittedly, my memory is cloudy as I read it almost 25 years ago and have never reread it, since it veers a little to closely to torture porn for me. I get why, given the history of what was sometimes done to Catholic missionaries stumbling upon indigenous people around the world, but it’s not my bag.

  39. gVOR08 says:

    At Digby’s place Tom Sullivan quotes an NYT column by one Anand Giridharadas, author of “The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy”. He admonished liberals to fight. Giridharadas says,

    It is time to speak an uncomfortable truth: The pro-democracy side is at risk not just because of potential electoral rigging, voter suppression and other forms of unfair play by the right, as real as those things are. In America (as in various other countries), the pro-democracy cause — a coalition of progressives, liberals, moderates, even decent Republicans who still believe in free elections and facts — is struggling to win the battle for hearts and minds.

    The pro-democracy side can still very much prevail. But it needs to go beyond its present modus operandi, a mix of fatalism and despair and living in perpetual reaction to the right and policy wonkiness and praying for indictments. It needs to build a new and improved movement — feisty, galvanizing, magnanimous, rooted and expansionary — that can outcompete the fascists and seize the age.

    Well worth a read, the NYT column, Sullivan’s summary of it, and probably the book.

    My take on this is that GOPs are doing well because they’ve created a tribe. It’s a truism that people don’t vote on policy (except the esteemed and ever rational principals and commenters here at OTB), they vote on a perceived tribal affiliation. They see themselves as the Real American tribe. The GOPs have managed to make it seem patriotic to vote for them.

    Dems/Liberals have never created a tribe. They get some loyalty from the Black tribe and the Latino tribe, but there’s no Democratic tribe. You want to see how much we’re not a tribe? Read Reynolds on Defund. We need to be a tribe. We have to create a “home” where people feel they belong. We are, after all, really the “real Americans”. Surely we can create some sort of shared identity.

    And we need an enemy. Phillip Bump did an analysis a few weeks ago. He says MAGAts are maybe 15% of adults. Now that would be half or more of GOPs and GOP leaning “independents”, but it’s still a minority. Blacks are a similar percentage and GOPs have had no problem making them out as an enemy.We have to realize these people have been dragged off to some Cloud Cuckoo Land where we’re baby rapists and woke Maoists and they ain’t coming back. We have to be willing to make them the enemy. Of late it’s looked like Biden has similar thoughts.

    GOPs have advantages, they have money, they’re by nature deferential to authority, they’ve self selected for gullibility, and they have a propaganda apparatus. But the biggie is the extended Kochtopus which creates messaging and enforces messaging discipline. But we’re now seeing equal money, we have most of the thinkers and creatives, but I don’t see how to enforce message discipline.

    4
  40. gVOR08 says:

    test
    ETA – this comment got me an Edit function for my previous comment.

  41. Jen says:

    For anyone still following the hot wreck that is the John Durham case nonsense, Igor Danchenko has been acquitted on ALL charges. So, Trumpkins, quiet down now.

    Danchenko was the primary source for the Steele dossier, and this means that Durham has been handed YET ANOTHER court loss in his attempts to prove…something.

    4
  42. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I don’t know. It seems like a Catholic story throughout. It would be against the whole novel for the ending not to be some Christian prophecy thing.

  43. Kathy says:

    Woodward will release an audiobook of taped interviews with el Cheeto. I’ll pass. I can’t stand the voice oozing from him. But here’s a little excerpt when Woodward asked whether Benito’s rhetoric towards Kim was designed to get the latter to negotiate:

    “No. No. It was designed for whatever reason, it was designed. Who knows? Instinctively. Let’s talk instinct, okay?” Trump said. “Because it’s really about you don’t know what’s going to happen. But it was very rough rhetoric. The roughest.”

    This reminded of a Trevor Noah joke about Benito and Rudy. More or less: He likes listening to people when they’re drunk. that’s when they sound like him.

  44. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Jen:
    Durham may have been more successful if he had prosecuted actual crimes instead of right wing conspiracy theories.

    5
  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: Deflation alert: The cheap rotgun wine I like (Woodbridge) has gone from $11.50 per 1.5 liter bottle to $9.98 per 1.5 liter bottle. Not sure how long that will last. Probably just until the grapes from the last bad harvest are used up.

    1
  46. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    The stone Trumpkins don’t watch CNN. It’s Fake News, you know.

    1
  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: For all intents and purposes, Durham appears to be just another right wing hack, right up there with Ken Starr and Bill Barr. Whatever reputation they may have had for being straight arrows, they threw it away to get on the Wingnut Wurlitzer Gravy Train.

  48. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Durham lost, and tomorrow the former guy must be deposed in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case.
    I better buy more popcorn.

    2
  49. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Michael Reynolds: We just got back from Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Istanbul, and a few other places. It’s a great time of year to go to the Mediterranean and Aegean.

  50. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..cheap rotgun wine
    Hope the vineyard that grows those grapes isn’t anywhere near Coldwater Creek by Florissant.

    Radioactive waste found at Missouri elementary school
    The school sits in the flood plain of Coldwater Creek, which was contaminated by nuclear waste from weapons production during World War II. The waste was dumped at sites near the St. Louis Lambert International Airport, next to the creek that flows to the Missouri River. The Corps has been cleaning up the creek for more than 20 years.

    1
  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: My older brother lives 2 blocks from Coldwater Creek in Florrisant. I suspect their house is all but unsellable (I’ve never asked, he has not volunteered). Which is probably why when he and his wife had the opportunity to pay off their home loan when our father died, they chose instead to buy a really nice travel trailer.

  52. CSK says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    Santorini is gorgeous.

    1
  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Last time I was at Panera, a bagel was $2.79 in my little town. Panera is the most expensive of the places that I go, but the quality of the stuff I get is pretty good. But everything is going up. Coffee and a sausage egg croissant (my go to breakfast on days I teach) used to be under 5 dollars at AM/PM before the price spike, now it’s a little over $6.

    But it is a large coffee, so there’s that.

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: It may not be possible to impose message discipline considering that “the left” these days is everyone who isn’t bat-shite cray-cray. The tent is too large and liberals are willing to try to bend to include cohorts that aren’t particularly leftist at all. Beyond that, the progressives probably shouldn’t be included in a leftist coalition, especially if that coalition is intending to reach out to “moderates” who probably have almost nothing in common with progressivism.

    Case in point. An ex-pat friend of mine in Korea was very disappointed about Bernie not getting the nomination considering “he was the only reasonable leftist choice in the party.” I reminded him that a typical Democrat is probably not as leftist as I am–and I’m only leftist on some issues–so Joe Biden represents the compromise choice between what the left wants and what it can actually get. Lounsbury would call it going after morally impure success; my ex-pat friend called it selling out. Gonna be hard to impose message discipline there.

    1
  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I agree that the backdrop is nominally monastic Catholic. The “relic” that the new sect will be based on is a fragment of a shopping list of a man going to a Kosher deli. This is not the stuff that religions are built from except in absurdist settings. There’s no reasonable sense in which to see it as Christian.

    It can be tied to a chair and beaten with a rubber hose until it confesses to being a model of how heretical groups come into existence if you want to go that way. Mostly though, it’s just absurdist.

  56. Kurtz says:

    Happened to be listening to NPR, and the Demings-Rubio debate came on.

    It took two questions for it to go off the rails.

    Both of them sound awful.

  57. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..inflation

    I know that just last week (?) I was whining about how dryer time at the laundromat was cut from 8 minutes to 7 minutes for 25¢. Now it’s the price of bagels at Panera. Even at $10.99/month that means all the coffee I can drink for 36¢ (before tax) on my daily visit. And I don’t have to buy a bagel every time I go in the place.
    Between Panera and Mickey D’s (88¢ senior coffee) those two places are my go to for free internet so I don’t have to pay the local landline telephone company, Frontier, $75/month for the unreliable internet connection that is the only internet service available at my address.

  58. DrDaveT says:

    @Kathy: The idea of a post-scarcity society is an interesting one. My favorite so far is Iain M. Banks’s series of novels set in “The Culture”, a distant future in which humans are relatively unimportant participants in a post-scarcity society run by the intelligent machines. Opinions differ greatly regarding which are the best novels in the set; I personally tend to like The Player of Games and Excession. Use of Weapons is one that people either love or hate; I fall in the latter camp.

  59. Jax says:

    Best damn patty melt I’ve had in my whole life.

    My teeth still feel “big”. But I can bite down into a patty melt. Mission accomplished.

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  60. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Looked the series up. Definitely going to start reading.

  61. DrDaveT says:

    @SC_Birdflyte:

    It’s a great time of year to go to the Mediterranean and Aegean.

    You win. I was in the Med in late June / early July, and it was 9000 degrees. OK, I exaggerate slightly, but it was routinely 40 degrees C and even the Sicilians were complaining about the heat…

  62. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    Looked the series up. Definitely going to start reading.

    Cool! Consider Phlebas was the first book written, and is generally considered a good place to start. Enjoy.

  63. Kathy says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Thanks. I might look it up. I’m not sure I’m up for a long series of books just now.