Wednesday’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. OzarkHillbilly says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    For almost 10 years, the clock hanging in Bunshun Sakano’s temple was a reminder of the day nature’s force came close to destroying his community.

    The clock, which is thought to be about 100 years old, stopped ticking after the north-east coast of Japan was struck by an earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people on 11 March 2011.

    Fumonji temple, which lies a few hundred metres from the tsunami-hit coast in Yamamoto, a town in Miyagi prefecture, was hit by the waves, with only its pillars and roof spared by the deluge.

    Sakano rescued the clock, cleaned it and wound the spring, but its hands refused to budge.

    Then late on 13 February this year – just weeks before the 10th anniversary of the disaster – the same region was struck by another powerful earthquake, described by seismologists as an aftershock of the March 2011 quake.

    The following morning Sakano, the Buddhist temple’s head priest, went to check the main hall for any damage when he heard a ticking sound. The clock, which had remained silent even after being repeatedly cleaned, was moving again.
    The clock was a silent source of inspiration for Sakano as he set about helping the local community in the aftermath of the tsunami, bringing together volunteers and, a year later, opening a cafe for people whose homes had been destroyed.

    Recently, with neighbourhood meetings and volunteering put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic, Sakano had started to wonder if the time had come to end his community activities.

    But when the clock started ticking again, he said, it was as if it was imploring him not to give up and to “start moving again”.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’ve just about had it with these Chinese and their hoaxes:

    Twice a day for the past half a century, a weather balloon to measure atmospheric conditions was released from a research station situated on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Faced with advancing seas that are set to devour it, the outpost has now been abandoned.

    On 31 March, the handful of workers who operated the National Weather Service station in Chatham were evacuated due to fears the property could fall into the Atlantic Ocean. A final weather balloon was released before they left, with a demolition crew set to raze the empty site this month.

    Until recently, the weather station had a buffer of about 100ft of land to a bluff that dropped into the ocean, only for a series of fierce storms in 2020 to accelerate local erosion. At times, 6ft of land was lost in a single day, forcing the National Weather Service to order a hasty retreat.
    Andrew Ashton, an associate scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, based on Cape Cod, said that while the cape has naturally shifted shape for centuries, the rising seas and stronger storms spurred by the climate crisis will quicken the pace of change.

    “It’s an extremely dynamic environment, which is obviously a problem if you are building permanent infrastructure here,” he said. “We are putting our foot on the accelerator to make the environment even more dynamic. What’s happened with the station is an indication of what we will see along the whole coast. In a way we are unprepared for how much worse things will be with climate change.”

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    (CNN)What used to be a mysterious new variant first detected in the UK is now the most dominant coronavirus strain in the US. And unlike the original strain of the novel coronavirus, the more contagious B.1.1.7 strain is hitting young people particularly hard.

    “(Covid-19) cases and emergency room visits are up,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We are seeing these increases in younger adults, most of whom have not yet been vaccinated.”

    Now doctors say many young people are suffering Covid-19 complications they didn’t expect. And it’s time to ditch the belief that only older adults or people with pre-existing conditions are at risk of severe Covid-19.

  5. Jen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: DeSantis needs to be careful with that.

    I would think that mismatched signatures would be a problem most for the elderly. As people get older, their hand strength and coordination changes. He sticks to that and he’s going to disenfranchise Republican voters.

  6. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I can’t think of a process less reliable than temporary poll workers trying to match signatures. First of all, who signs things anymore other than a scribble on a key pad? Second, if they were really serious, than digital signatures are the way to go. But they are not. It is just another way to throw out votes.

  7. Scott says:

    Now this is one infrastructure investment that will pay off:

    IRS chief says some $1T in taxes going uncollected annually

    The amount of taxes going uncollected by the federal government could be as much as $1 trillion or more per year, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said Tuesday.

    His estimate goes far beyond the official $441 billion difference between taxes paid and taxes owed annually, the so-called tax gap, reported by the IRS, which is based on figures from 2011-2013. The next official estimate will come out next year.

  8. steve says:

    Our Covid admissions have about doubled in the past 4 weeks. 42% are under the age of 60. Our death rate is not as high.

    Of note, at the national level we are hitting over 4 million vaccinations a day at times, but we are seeing the rate of available vaccines getting into patients slow down in red states. This used to bee spread out a bit more among the states but we are now seeing red states dominate the bottom of the list. Cant tell if this is competency issues among those states or vaccine refusal causing problems.


  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Trevor Noah:

    “I’m not saying that tragic mistakes will never happen, but what I am saying is that maybe if the police weren’t so quick to draw any weapon then maybe people wouldn’t die because of a mix-up from Officer Urkel over here. And by the way, don’t you find it amazing that cops think everything is a gun except their own gun? You have a cell phone in your hand. “Oh that’s a gun.” You’re holding a wallet. “Oh that’s a gun.” Their own gun? “No, not a gun, not a gun.”
    “Please don’t forget: this is how cops treated one of the troops, while he was wearing his uniform. Not a hoodie, not baggy pants, so what’s the excuse this time, huh? If a black man in military uniform can’t get humane treatment from the police, then what chance does every other black person in America have?”

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: My digital signature (which is what Misery uses now) looks nothing at all like my written signature. In fact, it is absolutely not repeatable. The damned stylus goes all over the place because there is no resistance like there is with pen and paper.

  11. Scott says:

    @steve: In Texas, in the last week or so, it seems as though availability has greatly increased. Two weeks ago it took hustle to get an appointment in the cities. Now it is easy and the public health agencies are really making a push to get out into the poorer and less digitally connected areas. Rural Texas was always easy to get a shot. Many urban folks who could take a day off drove out to get their shots.

    I do have a question if someone might know the answer. Do states handled their shots differently? For example, do some states push to get the first shot in the arms and hope the second one shows up in time? Or do they give the first shot and physically reserved the second? Which may explain the discrepancy in available vs administered.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:
  13. Teve says:

    Doug said on the Afghanistan thread

    2. The Afghans will either prove themselves capable or maintaining a liberal democracy or they won’t.

    Lately I’ve had similar thoughts about the U.S.

  14. Sleeping Dog says:

    Washington County attorney says charges likely Wednesday in Wright shooting

    While Brooklyn Center is in Hennepin County, Minnesota changed the way investigations of police shootings are handled. The investigation itself is handled by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, an arm of the State Police, while any prosecution is handled by a County Attorney who is not of the county where the killing took place.

    This change is a result of the Chauvin case, where the Hennepin County prosecutor, tried to white wash the case with a plea deal to a minor charge.

  15. Teve says:

    @ OzarkHillbilly: and how are the Fox assholes handling the Army Lieutenant situation?


    I’ve seen GENERALS with less attitude, arrogance and swagger than this 2nd Lieutenant.

    He was acting Uppity.

  16. Teve says:

    The state of Alaska is suing manufacturers of a pair of the toxic PFAS compounds that have contaminated groundwater across the state. The lawsuit filed Wednesday names chemical giants 3M, Dupont and others.

    It comes the same day as a bill was filed compelling state regulators to take broader action on contaminated sites, many near small state-run airports in communities from like Gustavus and Yakutat which have a number of PFAS compounds in private wells.

    The 38-page legal complaint filed on behalf of Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor notes that for decades, the companies knowingly produced the toxic chemicals, which do not break down in the environment and are highly soluble, allowing them to easily spread in groundwater.

    “Defendants, by their actions and/or inactions, bear ultimate responsibility for the release of vast amounts of PFOS and PFOA into Alaska’s environment, contaminating the state’s water resources, soils, sediments, biota and wildlife, threatening the health, safety, and well-being of the state’s residents,” the lawsuit says.

    Environmentalists called the state’s lawsuit long overdue. Alaska lawmakers have been urging the governor to do more to regulate PFAS compounds, says Pamela Miller of Alaska Community Action on Toxins in Anchorage.

    “It was more than a year ago that 16 legislators, both Democrat and Republican, signed a letter to the governor, asking him to file a lawsuit on behalf of Alaskans and people contaminated by PFAS,” Miller told CoastAlaska.

    The lawsuit focuses on two compounds — PFOS and PFOA — that are contained in firefighting foams commonly used at airports that are designed to suppress fuel fires. The PFAS chemicals do not break down and, if ingested over time, can lead to a range of health problems.


  17. KM says:

    Trust me, it’s not just a problem for the olds. Handwriting deteriorates from the second we learn it. We are taught what it is supposed to look like and from there is only goes down hill. The signature of my drivers license and voter registration is pristine – fresh out of school and wanting to look perfect on my first adult legal documents, I did my damnedest to make it look professional. You could read all the individual letters! Even then though, it was getting sloppy in real time and had devolved into the giant swirly K, a little scribble, a smaller M and more scribble ending in a loop. Now? It’s a large stick K, one running scribble and maybe a loop at the end if it doesn’t trail off downwards.

    I don’t think I’ve had a repeatable signature in decades. Honestly, only the K would tip you off it was a signature as there’s no identifiable letters left. I would *never* pass scrutiny of my handwriting; meanwhile, a computer would be able to flawlessly recreate any signature I ever produced and easily be able to pass as me. This whole thing is going to end up like password criteria: hard for humans to do correctly since we don’t work that way naturally, easy for computers to fake.

  18. Teve says:

    Maybe America is Racist

    By Michael Harriot

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: I wonder what tipped him off? s//

  20. Some Democrats are pressuring Justice Stephen Breyer to retire while Biden is President and Democrats control the Senate:

    They tried this sort of thing with RBG and it didn’t go so well. I suspect the same thing will happen with Breyer and that he’ll retire when he wants to.

  21. CSK says:

    Oh, ffs, the lieutenant was being threatened by the cops. Threatened. One cop told him he’d be getting the electric chair.

  22. Kathy says:

    On aviation news, Interjet is about to enter or has entered bankruptcy proceedings. By how such things tend to go, and how bad the airline’s situation is, the most likely end result is that it will cease to exist sometime this year.

    Interjet was in bad shape prior to the pandemic, with many debts, problems with their fleet of Sukhoi regional jets, and a failing business model. The airline started as a low cost carrier in 2005, but they offered a great deal of legroom, at 32″ pitch between seats (industry norms for full service carriers is about 30 to 31 inches), had low change fees (about $15 US for a long time, then that changed), etc.

    Meantime another airline from 2005, Volaris, offered tighter pitch (29″), more restrictions, and lower fares. It doesn’t help most flights within Mexico are short. the most traveled routes are under 90 minutes. One can put up with restrictive legroom for that long and pay 10-20% less.

    And as service in full service carriers was drawn down, Interjet became a full service airline while changing little or nothing in their model.

    The pandemic naturally made things worse faster. The airline hasn’t flown since December 2020.

    Interjet owns an Airbus-certified maintenance facility in Toluca. It was used to service its fleet (now all gone or repossessed by lessors), but it also serviced planes from other airlines, including many foreign ones. This will likely survive.

  23. Teve says:

    Dang. Seen on Twitter:

    “On this day in 1865, John Wilkes Booth meant to go for his Taser“

  24. Only 1%:of the Japsnese population has been vaccinated. The Olympic Gsmes begin just about three months from now. Holding them under these conditions seems foolish.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:


    One cop told him he’d be getting the electric chair.

    Not a cop so I can’t say for sure, but while “ride the lightening” has historically meant getting the electric chair, I rather suspect it has now become cop slang for being tasered.

  26. Teve says:

    @CSK: I suspect ’ride the lightening’ referred to the Taser. The cops didn’t have a ‘Lectric Chair in the trunk and there was no indication of a capital offense.

  27. Teve says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “The truth is, these are not very bright guys, and things got out of hand.”

  28. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @OzarkHillbilly:
    True, but would a military officer (or any non-cop) know that?

    At best, it was an asinine thing to say.

    ETA: I just looked up “ride the lightning,” and the sources I checked indicate that it still means to get the electric chair or to be executed by electrocution.

  29. Joe says:

    I don’t get around in the South much and don’t interact with a lot of rural constabulary, but if some cop told me I would be “riding the lightning,” my reaction before this incident would have been, “WTF are you talking about?”

  30. Teve says:

    Dang Ozark beat me.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It was definitely asinine and a very cop thing to say, but I try to give an accurate meaning to people’s words, and in this context, getting tasered is far more likely.

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Nyah nah, na nah nah.

  33. CSK says:

    Swearing at a cop? That’s a capital offense right there.

  34. CSK says:

    The fact that we’re trying to figure out what this consummate asshole was saying should tell you something. I think we can all agree that whatever the cop meant, it was a deliberate attempt to bully and terrorize the lieutenant.

  35. KM says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    To be perfectly fair, their concerns are somewhat justified in that another GOP Congress can and will screw over a Dem POTUS’s pick. The way things are going, losing another seat may very well mean losing vital democratic processes we currently enjoy like voting rights. I really, really wish I was exaggerating or falling down the slippery slope but given what we’ve seen over the last 4 years and what legislation is being pushed post-GA, there’s a definite possibility a good chunk of the country won’t be able to vote in the next election to force a GOP win.

    Breyer needs to understand the writing is on the wall in, written in blood like a horror film. They’re coming for the Judiciary and when they completely own it, that’s it for America. They played dirty pool to cheat Obama of his rightful pick – what are they going to do to Biden who technically has Congress and thus carte blanche? It’s rude, true but you can’t really blame some Dems for trying to expedite the process at a more favorable time considering what happened the last time we were in this situation….

  36. KM says:


    my reaction before this incident would have been, “WTF are you talking about?”

    And I suspect that’s what he wanted because then he could demonstrate, just like in the movies when the hero makes a smart-assed quip then does the thing. It would be an excuse (“got aggressive” or “ignored commands”) to actually tase the Lt. and fulfill a power trip fantasy. They were baiting Nazario *hard*, looking for any reason to justify the stop and were getting visibly frustrated that he wasn’t giving them an opening they could exploit.

  37. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Bernie Madoff is dead:

    No tears.
    And may the fat orange guy in elevator shoes be the next con man to not live out his sentence.

  38. Kathy says:

    Surprising factoid of the day:

    Many cooked foods you buy in cans, are cooked inside the sealed can.

    Wait, wouldn’t heating a sealed can cause steam to build up and blow the can up? Yes, but not if you place the cans inside a device like a pressure cooker, which applies enough pressure externally to balance things out.

  39. Teve says:

    Daunte and the Debt Collectors: How the Cops Became Robbers

    Looking at Police-on-Black violence through the lens of money.

  40. Rand Paul goes after Dr. Fauci. The Trump Cultists are really upset by the good Doctor.

  41. Sleeping Dog says:


    OzarkHillbilly will vouch for me on this ( I hope 🙂 ) In St Louis County, Misery, which the City of StL is not part of, there are 90+ municipalities, some only blocks in size and having fewer than 1000 residents. It was about 12 miles from my house in University City to the airport, staying on the interstate I would go through 7 municipalities. These small municipalities balanced their budgest on traffic and housing code violations and they would prey on black drivers and homeowners. Collectively these communities that were mostly in the northern part of the county are referred to as Thiefistans

  42. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..The damned stylus goes all over the place because there is no resistance like there is with pen and paper.

    My haircutter, Whitney Beaver (that is her real name), has been trimming my locks for at least 10 years. One of the several salons where she clipped me had the pad that took my signature for my debit card. Using my index finger I signed my initials in all cap block letters GLB. Don’t know if this is legal but it worked every time with minimum scribble.
    She has since opened her own tonsorial parlor in a stall located inside the remaining used record store in town.
    I give her cash now. $15 in greenbacks for the cut and two $1 coins for the tip.

  43. Michael Reynolds says:

    In my case add to that the fact that I have two different signatures – a spasmodic, rushed ‘M Grant’ for autographs, and a sort of spastic scrawl for my legal name. I’ve signed Grant a thousand times more than Reynolds.

    I spent 2-4th grade in French schools, writing on the tight lines of a cahier with an actual dip-in-the-inkwell fountain pen. Beautiful handwriting which, over time, has come to resemble in the words of my daughter, the EKG of a man having a heart attack.

  44. gVOR08 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    They tried this sort of thing with RBG and it didn’t go so well. I suspect the same thing will happen with Breyer and that he’ll retire when he wants to.

    I agree, but I don’t see why Breyer wants to hang on. Surely, at this late date he can’t harbor any niggling doubt the partisanship of his successor is critical, any belief his fellows are just calling balls and strikes. He’s seen up close what happened with Garland and Ginsburg. Can he possibly believe that the GOPs, if they get a Senate majority in the midterms, will allow any moderate compromise? How can he risk leaving Kagan and Sotomayor outnumbered 7 to 2. Or 6 to 2 if the GOPs leave the seat empty?

    The GOPs spent months on a campaign to persuade Kennedy to retire. Hopefully Biden is doing a similar effort. And hopefully Breyer is just holding out for a better deal and will retire well before the midterms.

  45. Michael Cain says:

    @KM: I’m at the other extreme for signature. We were cleaning out our safe deposit box the other week and came across an envelope that had our original Social Security cards in it. Mine dates back to about sixth grade — call it a bit over 50 years. My current signature would fail a serious match test against that ancient one, but is clearly descended from it.

    It’s illegible on the signature pads, like everyone else’s, but the rhythm as I sign is correct. I remember reading a piece years ago by a forger who said that having people sign on a pressure sensitive pad without visual feedback and comparing the rhythm would be much more secure than the visual appearance.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: What’s the process for curing ballots where the signatures don’t match?

    For absentee ballots, you need some way to be sure that the ballot was actually filled out by the correct person. You can use secrets (what is this number from your state id?), or use signature matching. A drop of blood and DNA matching might work, but brings up more questions.

    If you don’t have a way of identifying who cast the ballot, then a clever postal worker can abscond with the ballots at the sorting machine, and have 1,000 votes. Do you want to live in a postalocracy?

    (Or a state employee, delivering 90% of the ballots to the post office, rather than 100%, but I don’t have a cute name for that)

    The issue is how to cure a ballot where the signatures don’t match. Does this become a provisional ballot? How long do you have? Does the voter get contacted?

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: My digital signature is a drawing of a sheep. These are never checked.

    My expectation is that at some point it will be very important that it matches the established signature, and there I will be, signing the order to pull the plug on my loved one so they don’t suffer any more, in tears, drawing a little sheep.

  48. Gustopher says:


    The GOPs spent months on a campaign to persuade Kennedy to retire. Hopefully Biden is doing a similar effort. And hopefully Breyer is just holding out for a better deal and will retire well before the midterms.

    “And I would like the brand of ice cream named after me to be better!”

  49. Mimai says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Might be time for an upgrade.

  50. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Beautiful handwriting which, over time, has come to resemble in the words of my daughter, the EKG of a man having a heart attack.

    My wife says about mine, “Mike’s handwriting gives the appearance of great neatness.” My daughter says, “Dad has the tidiest unreadable handwriting in the world.” My son the graphic designer says that it’s perfectly legible once you learn the font.

  51. Michael Cain says:


    For absentee ballots, you need some way to be sure that the ballot was actually filled out by the correct person.

    Technically, what my vote by mail state checks is whether the return envelope is the one that was mailed to a particular voter, and uses a signature comparison to do that. That the ballot inside the envelope is the one that was mailed to the voter, and that the voter is the person who marked the bubbles on the ballot, are assumptions. Very safe assumptions based on experience, but assumptions nevertheless.

  52. Police Officer in Dusnte Wright shooting charged with 2bd degree manslaughter

  53. Jen says:


    For absentee ballots, you need some way to be sure that the ballot was actually filled out by the correct person. You can use secrets (what is this number from your state id?), or use signature matching.

    This is an interesting distinction, because it goes to the heart of what is likely the highest *actual* voter fraud, which is people who have access to and fill out ballots that are not theirs. (In one case I read a son whose parents had passed away filled out and returned their mailed ballots, I believe this was in Colorado.)

    Signatures and paired bar codes (when the ballot is sent, one bar code sticker goes in the voter roll book, the other is affixed to the privacy envelope into which the ballot is placed) seem to be the most secure. When there’s a question, the voter should have a chance to verify the ballot signature is theirs before the privacy envelope is opened.

  54. Beth says:

    My wife has the worst, tiniest handwriting. Once she gave me a list and sent me to the library to pick up some books. The librarian was very confused when I asked for “The Whores” by Tuna French. I was like, it’s right here on the list buddy. He was also unable to read the list.

  55. Kathy says:


    Back when credit cards were checked against that little, thick booklet of reported cards, issued weekly if memory serves, and the voucher used carbon paper, I recall some hard scrutiny of signatures in department stores, adn less often in grocery stores (more like a glance at both signatures in the latter).

    Toda, not so much.

  56. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Based on what is known about the incident 2nd degree manslaughter sounds about right. Unless the officer was a great actor, it is hard to see this as anything but a tragic mistake. There is no evidence that she meant to kill him.

  57. flat earth luddite says:

    Don’t know how it works in other locales, but where I live, if the card has a chip, the cashier/store is PROHIBITED by cc company to look at card, ask for id, or anything else. If the machine beeps accepted, you thank the customer for the purchase, hand them their stuff and receipt, and watch them leave. Our store gets multiple visits per month from the police regarding purchases with stolen credit/debit cards.

  58. Mu Yixiao says:

    I have two handwritings.

    One, from years hand drafting, is clear block letters. The other–when I’m writing notes for myself–would be a great challenge for NSA cryptographers.

    My signature is utterly unreadable.

    And… off to get my 2nd jab!

  59. flat earth luddite says:

    Just read an article from Pro Publica about Steven Carrillo, a 32-year-old Air Force sergeant who belonged to the anti-government Boogaloo Bois.

    The militant group is known for the distinctive Hawaiian shirts its members wear at protests,

    FFS, guys, give me a fracking break! Hawaiian shirts are my go-to wear to hide my ostomy bag and pony-keg old guy gut. Now you’re telling me I’m going to be mistaken for one of these loons? NOOOOOOOOO…

  60. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: But she most certainly did intend to escalate the situation beyond all reason.

  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Truth. I’ve been mined a # of times. A related by marriage St Ann cop used that exact word. “Time to go mine the citizens.” I’ve had several bench warrants issued for the crime of being poor. It’s been a while since I had to worry about that. These days I just hire a lawyer to take care of it for me.

  62. HarvardLaw92 says:


    That piece is a tad ridiculous ,but not surprising given the source.

    The open warrants I’ve read for Mr. Wright (27-CR-21-4400 and 27-CR-19-29850) indicate 1st Degree Aggravated Robbery, possession of a pistol without a permit, and fleeing arrest. Arrest on those charges would hardly have constituted “debt collecting”,

  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: It’s Florida. So if it’s a white name from a white Zip Code, it’s a match. Black name or black zip code, they stand over the ballot and say, “Ballot, I command thee to HEAL thyself! I say I say HEAL HEAL HEAL!!!” and if the signature doesn’t magically transform itself into a perfect match with the on record signature, it’s rejected.

  64. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: My wife says about mine, “What the F**K is that???”

  65. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: And… off to get my 2nd jab!


  66. Sleeping Dog says:


    She did escalate the situation unnecessarily, but killing him wasn’t her intent.

    Though Michael Reynolds could concoct a story where she and the victim were secret lovers and he was going to tell her husband. Then she planned it all out!

  67. Kathy says:

    @flat earth luddite:

    These days all cards come with a chip, which is inserted in the card reader. Most cards now use the PIN as the signature, dubbed “digital signature” (which it really is not). Some stores may ask to see ID for some purchases.

    Most banks have phone apps that allows the user to exercise control over their cards. You can block them temporarily, change the PIN, report your card lost and request a replacement, etc.

  68. Sleeping Dog says:


    My office was near Westport, so I went up Page Ave every day. Since it was always at rush hour and I was a middle aged white guy in a Benz, I never was bothered. Even when I blew a stop light with a cop behind me. But I’m surprised they never busted me on the motorcycle.

  69. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Bernie Madoff is dead:

    An important reminder when you’re looking into an investment: every real investment involves three key parties.

    The first is the manager, the person you give money too, get payouts from, and who keeps you informed of how the investment is doing. This is usually obvious (e.g. for a Vanguard mutual fund, Vanguard is the manager).

    The other two are usually less obvious, but will be named in the small print. The second is the the trader: this is the party that actually gets buy and sell orders from the fund manager and actually goes and executes them in the market.

    The third party is the custodian: this is usually a bank that the trader gives anything they buy to and who holds onto it until they’re later sold.

    In a legit investment, these three parties will all be different organizations. This makes embezzlement much harder because if any one of the three starts skimming money, it will become obvious because the other two parties’ financial statements won’t match up.

    If they’re not three different parties, that’s a huge red flag. Bernie Madoff is what happens when the same person is filling all three rolls and can pretty much completely make up what actually happened to the money.

  70. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I lived in Bel Ridge and Jennings for extended periods, both are notorious. While it is known for mining I never had any trouble in St Ann. Ferguson is bad but the worst I think is Pine Lawn, followed by it’s neighbors the 2 Veldas, and the 2 Pasadenas, Hillsdale, Wellston, etc etc. My brother lives in Florissant and whenever I visit I am extra careful.

  71. CSK says:

    The Capitol cop who shot Ashli Babbitt (the woman who tried to crawl through the broken window in the door) isn’t going to be charged.

  72. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    In St Louis County, Misery, which the City of StL is not part of, there are 90+ municipalities, some only blocks in size and having fewer than 1000 residents.

    One of the pronounced differences between East and West in the United States is the make-up of a city’s surrounding suburbs in that fashion. The East is typically a ridiculous number of small towns; the West has far fewer and they are much larger. Denver is an example of this: more of Denver’s inner-ring suburbs have >100,000 people than the ones below that. Aurora is rapidly closing in on 400,000. My perception is that it makes a difference in that a city of 150,000 is much less likely to have police officers “mining” the citizens because there’s a tax base to support the department.

  73. Kathy says:

    Interesting, I was just asking about this, the UK is conducting a study on the mixing of COVID vaccines.

    This isn’t quite my question, but the results should be interesting. basically you get AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna as a first dose, and then a different one of the three for a second dose.

  74. Teve says:


    Arkansas GOP legislature just passed Georgia-style voter suppression bills making it crime to give food and water to voters waiting in line & stripping power from nonpartisan election officials

  75. Teve says:


    My brother Freddie stopped driving a few years ago because the police stops were too anxiety inducing. My brother Mark returned his Lexus to the dealer for a different car. He told me “I keep getting stopped. They don’t think this is my car.” Sit with this for a minute.

  76. Kylopod says:


    Arkansas GOP legislature just passed Georgia-style voter suppression bills making it crime to give food and water to voters waiting in line & stripping power from nonpartisan election officials

    And why not? Now Republicans might actually be able to win the state of Arkansas.

  77. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Cain:

    From my travels, mining the residents is a very much a southern, near south thing. It is very uncommon in New England and most northern states, in large part due to the fact that the fines mostly go to the county or state and court costs aren’t loaded on.

    Of course, the reason it is a southern thing, is that there is a large population of disenfranchised ‘other’ to prey on.

    In the north, the closest to mining, I’ve heard about was the period where Minnesota state patrol officers had ticket quotas and not meeting it hit your eval. When the legislature found out about that, quotas went away in a hurry.

  78. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    His spokespeople did not respond to a request for comment on the analysis nor did they say why this change in law is needed.

    Well we KNOW WHY the change is needed–it’s getting harder for Republicans to steal the election the old fashioned way. They realize they need to advance with the times or join the scrapheap of history.

  79. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Doug Mataconis: So we need to be looking for a 7-2 conservative majority on SCOTUS? Cool. I make more income as a retiree than I did when I was working (and what’s wrong with that picture?), so I guess I can live with this.

  80. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: Part of the reason I gave you the “Racoons for the Resistance” tee, dude. No mistaking you for a right wing loon wearing that and the ostomy bag is still nicely concealed. 😀

  81. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    In the north, the closest to mining, I’ve heard about was the period where Minnesota state patrol officers had ticket quotas and not meeting it hit your eval.

    When I was a young, and the federal government had mandated the 55 mph speed limit, the Nebraska state patrol set up west of Omaha on I-80. Easterners, who looked in their atlas and saw that both NJ and Nebraska took up a two-page spread, assumed the distances were similar. After stopping in Omaha for dinner, they would fill their gas tanks and ask the person at the station how far it was to North Platte, where they had motel reservations. “Six hours,” was the response, and the reservation expired at 10:00.

    Hidden west of Omaha was a radar gun. On the other side of the hill were the state troopers, pulling people over and writing the tickets. Two hills farther on was another radar gun and over the hill were more troopers. Two hills farther on was the third radar gun and over the hill were the troopers. Typical speeds were 65 mph in the first trap, 75 mph in the second as they tried to make up for the lost time, and 85 mph in the third. 85 mph earned you not a ticket but a trip to the local magistrate before you could go on, so people paid high rates for motel rooms in Lincoln instead of making it to North Platte.

    So far as I knew then, there were no quotas, it was simply a matter of making Easterners pay for ignorance. A consequence was that after about 9:00 pm, there were no state troopers on the interstate west of Lincoln. A friend from outstate Nebraska and I would make the run to his parents’ house in the summer from Lincoln to where we got off at Ogallala averaging something over 90 mph — after 9:00 and not worrying about getting caught.

  82. Teve says:

    JFC. I just read that now, mining bitcoin consumes more power than is produced by all the solar panels in the world.

    Thanks, tech DoucheBros!

  83. Michael Cain says:

    @Michael Cain: Follow up… I have spent most of my adult life living in places in the US where regional resentments were not north vs south, but rather west vs east.

  84. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Cain:

    On the other side of the hill were the state troopers, pulling people over and writing the tickets.

    For awhile during the 55 limit I was doing weekend commuting from northern IL to MI. Everybody would line up behind somebody doing 70. As we approached the MI line going eastbound there was a lot of entertaining gamesmanship as people jockeyed to avoid being at the head of the line cresting the first hill in MI.

  85. Teve says:


    The six senators who voted to block debate on bill aimed at targeting hate crimes against Asian-Americans. Cotton (R-AR)
    Cruz (R-TX)
    Hawley (R-MO)
    Marshall (R-KS)
    Paul (R-KY)
    Tuberville (R-AL)

  86. Kurtz says:


    Making my way through Against Democracy. Just started last night. Have no timeline, as I’m pretty busy atm. But right up my alley in a lot of ways. So far, I’m impressed. Thanks for the recommendation.

  87. Mimai says:


    Ah, coolio, glad to hear it’s tickled your brain so far.

    I do feel like I need to come clean about something. My college soccer mates used to call me “Harvard” – there’s a bit of a backstory on that, but I wanted to let you know in case that changes things wrt our relationship.

  88. Kurtz says:


    Hahaha. Well played, my fri–err… Well played, bruh.

    What position did you play?

  89. flat earth luddite says:

    @Kathy: Actually, you can normally skip the PIN entry by selecting the option for credit. I see it If the chip’s there, and you haven’t reported your card stolen, it goes through.

  90. Mimai says:


    Depending on the formation, I was a #8 or #6 midfielder. Good times. Except when it wasn’t.

    You play(ed)?

  91. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: And the Raccoons’ Anarchy t-shirt is in my favorites rotation. It’s surprising how well it conceals… must be the power of anarchy!

  92. Kurtz says:


    Nah. Probably should have. I only casually follow professional soccer. Mostly an NFL and NBA guy.

    Oof. Either running your ass off or getting blamed for any midfield breakdowns?

  93. Mimai says:


    Yes. And yes. An infinite number of oofs.

    Never has a quote so perfectly captured a period of my life:

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

    We all have such periods. Sometimes in multiples. Would be a fun topic for a future open forum – swapping stories.

  94. Kurtz says:


    Please don’t make me do strikethroughs of a Dickens quote in a public forum. But yeah, that would be a fun topic. My life has many oofs and a few minor triumphs. Not sure I would part with many here. But catch me on the right day…

  95. Mimai says:


    Haha! Note to self: Kurtz requires trigger warnings.

    Not sure I would part with many here.

    This is the internet – just make shit up to present a curated and reality-impaired version. Just think of the possibilities. Eg, You can be a Yale graduate!

    But catch me on the right day…

    Seems like this is often the key factor determining whether something is an oof or a triumph.