Open Thread: Don’t Shoot the Freezer

I don’t know if it’s post-game fatigue and frustration, or if it’s the effects of last night’s super blood wolf moon eclipse.

Don’t know if it’s the bitter, killing cold where some of us are located, or if it’s cabin fever.

But it looks like some of the regulars are itchy, veering too readily off the road into the ditch.

Whatever reason, it looks like we need a wide-open thread.

Bring your off-topic content here and air it out. Stay on topic in the other threads.

DON’T THINK WE’VE FORGOTTEN YOUR FAILURE TO SERVE THE GREATER PUBLIC GOOD, MITCH MCCONNELL. That goes for the rest of the GOP senate who kowtow to his brand of Trumpist slackerdom, refusing to restrain the toddler tyrant and return government to working order.

156 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    I hate that the only post I’ve had a green light for SEO readability is this POS open thread post.


    Bring it. I am officially opening a federal shutdown holiday happy hour.

    • Rayne says:

      Alas, I need a favor if anyone is up to digging. There was a Fourth of July CODEL to Moscow this past year — yes, Trumpian hypocrisy to allow use of federal airplane to visit the country our intelligence agencies say attempted to interfere with 2016 election — in which reports say seven or eight members of Congress participated.

      I can only find these seven names, all GOP:

      Richard Shelby (AL) — Senator

      Steve Daines (MT) — Senator

      John Thune (SD) — Senator

      John Kennedy (LA) — Senator

      Jerry Moran (KS) — Senator

      John Hoeven (ND) — Senator

      Kay Granger (TX) — Representative

      Was there an eighth member of Congress, likely a senator because all reports I’ve read uniformly say there was only one rep in the group?

      I haz reasons for wanting to know this but I can’t chase this and do the other crosschecking I have on my plate at the same time.

      I’d appreciate any help you can offer if one of you has time to verify who the traitorous MOC were who didn’t give a flying fig about the optics of this trip.

  2. Tech Support says:

    Open two-part question for all the lawyers in the audience:

    Why did you choose to pursue law, and how has that motivation evolved to where you are at now?

    • Rayne says:

      I’m going to say what should be obvious: many lawyers who frequent this site aren’t going to reveal personal information about themselves.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        On the web, regardless of one’s career or passions, Anonymity is your friend.  Don’t trash her lightly.  She’ll never come back.

        Marcy, as a journalist and semi-public figure, is in a different category than most of us here.  Those who know each other take personal communications off-line.

        Rayne, however, sees everything. :-)

    • Ed Walker says:

      I’ll try to answer. I originally thought I’d study economics in grad school after getting out of the Army, but I realized it was unlikely that I would succeed, given my political leanings and my actual knowledge of the limits of math in describing the real world. I also didn’t want to work for corporations and had little interest in teaching. I wanted something involved in the real world, where I’d represent real people and deal with real world problems. Law was a natural choice.

      At first I represented a lot of small businesses, small and growing. Then I became moved to Nashville, TN, where I started with the Attorney General’s office doing consumer protection and securities work, before becoming the head of the Tennessee Blue Sky office. I loved the work. It involved helping real people caught by cheats and frauds, and I felt like I was doing some good, with a number of successful criminal prosecutions and civil cases.

      Then I started doing bankruptcy work. It’s really personal work, where you see people who have hit the bottom financially. On balance I think I was helpful to a lot of people. But every year I saw the rich and their minions change the laws to make it harder and harder to do any good. I had seen the same thing in Securities Law, as the SEC and others led an assault on enforcement and regulation. It got worse almost every year, culminating in the the miserable 2004 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code. When the Great Crash came the laws had changed so drastically that I began to feel useless, merely a conduit to misery. Student loans were horrible, because they never go away. Many people lost their homes because the government only helped the pig bankers, not the people they assaulted financially directly and indirectly. Then one day I decided they could ruin people without me and I quit.

      In retrospect, I think on balance I did a lot for people in distress, and I feel good about it. But the two-tier system of justice in place made me feel helpless, as if I were just a tool to grind people down, and I still resent that part.

      • Vern says:

        I believe the bankruptcy amendments came in 2005.  I know this because I’m on a 1st name basis with Jay Inslee, currently Governor of Washington State and a prospective Presidential candidate.

        One of things that comes up often (because I poke him about it) is his yes vote as a congressman from Yakima, condemning millennials and other student loan debtors to perpetual penury and thus their “failure to launch” and its long term damage to the economy.

        Jay is a good man, but that was huge mistake that will likely damage him if someone does the merest oppo.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The Orwellian named Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

          Neither of those partial descriptions is true.  The bill passed in April 2005, became effective in October 2005.

          It was a massive win for the banks and credit card issuers.  It was rabidly anti-consumer.

          Bill Clinton nixed an attempt to pass a similar bill through a pocket veto in 2000.  Like casino moguls determined to get local approvals, however, the congressional bankster lobby came back year after year until they won a victory in 2005, in part, thanks to Joe Biden.

      • Ed Walker says:

        Yes, 2005, my bad. I remember sitting in a parking lot at the Trader Joe’s in Nashville the previous year (or maybe it was 2003) listening to NPR on the bill: as soon as enough congressionals think they’ve sucked all the money out of Visa and the rest of the credit industry, that bill will pass.

        One part of the bill rarely discussed was the protections for swaps; it no doubt contributed something to the Great Crash, and it meant that the filthy pig bankers were protected instead of ordinary creditors.

        I think a lot of people have evolved on the matter, and I hope Inslee is one of them.

    • BobCon says:

      Taylor Branch did a good job tracing Hoover’s hatred of King. It seemed to be partly traceable to some pretty low key criticism of the FBI by King for lack of action protecting civil rights, but it was enough to fuel Hoover’s rage.

      Hoover was also paranoid about communism, and in the classic McCarthy-Roy Cohn mode didn’t distinguish between the left wing activists King employed and true communists. He was also a malignant racist.

      It’s pretty apalling how Pence tries to connect King and Trump. Don and Fred’s racist housing policy was at the heart of the economic battles King fought, and Trump’s mentor Roy Cohn was a champion of much of the poison King fought against.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Yep.  King represented many of the things – and the changes – Hoover most hated and feared and worked against.

        As you said, J. Edgar was not much in favor of racial equality – witness the absence of people of color in his FBI – or sexual equality (a more complex story there, I should think).  Nor was he much in favor of social or economic justice.

        He much preferred being treated as a member of the elite: having his DC house painted by his Bureau employees, and having the tab for his annual vacations in La Jolla and days at the races in Del Mar picked up by, well, by people his Bureau should have been investigating.

        • BobCon says:

          If you have access to a database of newspaper articles, it’s interesting to search on Hoover and phrases including bachelor. Going back to his early days as director, there are plenty of references to his relationship with Tolson, and I have to wonder what kind of information about blackmail against Hoover was lost when the FBI purged its files after Hoover’s death.

          It’s pretty much impossible to read about Hoover’s campaigns without thinking in terms of the constant threat of being outed that loomed in the background. The Soviets, the Kennedys, LBJ and the mob must have all used it.

          • Trip says:

            Did you ever notice how the biggest scolds about sexuality either have some kink or something they keep in the closet under lock and key themselves? It’s like they’re trying to control some behavior of their own by enforcing some “morality” on others. A lot of times, their own behavior or proclivities are more extreme, bordering on, or actually illegal.

            It makes me seriously wonder about Pence, come to think of it.

  3. P J Evans says:

    It clouded up in my area, so I saw only a few seconds of moon-with-eclipse when I went out to look last night.

    • Rayne says:

      I saw it, tried to snap some photos, but the buttons on my camera are so small and my hands were so cold in the subzero temperature last night that all I have is a pinkish blob on a black background.

      I don’t think I’m ready to take up professional photography. LOL

      • P J Evans says:

        You can’t be worse than me. I once managed to double-expose a Polaroid – I still don’t have a clue, unless I moved the camera while it was shooting. (Physics lab in college: taking photos of the blinky light on the air-puck as it moved on the table.)

    • The Dark Avenger says:

      We had a lot of clouds in the east so I had a brief glimpse of it before the winds pushed the clouds over it.

    • harpie says:

      This explanation of the reason for the color is so beautiful that I don’t really care if it’s correct:  
      “8:49 PM – 20 Jan 2019 Why does to tonight’s lunar eclipse look red? Because the moon is reflecting sunlight refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere — in other words, it is reflecting all the sunsets and sunrises on Earth right now. / Used my phone up against my telescope:”

      She got a great photograph, too! [Guess it’s not freezing where she was.]

    • Fran of the North says:

      It was brilliantly clear here in the Bois du Nord (North Woods) last night. It was also brutally cold. I got out 3 different times. Once prior to complete eclipse, then an extended viewing for 5 minutes as the final vestiges of direct sunlight were extinguished followed by 10 minutes to see the full moon-ty.

      Finally went out about a half hour later and was surprised that the moon was still in the shadow. Very cool in multiple senses of the phrase.

      • DrFunguy says:

        Though I’m only a short distance from the Salish Sea, and its one of those super mild winters, it was clear enough to witness in only -1C!
        I don’t recall ever seeing such a red moon before.

      • NorskieFlamethrower says:

        “Thanks, but it’s all about a team here…”

        Yes and most of us here appreciate the offensive line as much as the quarterback…so thank you!

        • AirportCat says:

          I think of bmaz as being more like Dick Butkus, ferociously defending against the trolls and keeping the rest of the defense focused.

          • Jockobadger says:

            Nice one ACat!  Yes, Dick Butkus = bmaz.  Well done.  He does keep everyone focused and so does Rayne.

            Even though I have very little to contribute here (except $ which I have done and will continue) I feel like I belong just a bit in this fractious, cranky, and critically necessary community. Damn.

      • Jenny says:

        Rayne, thank you.  Great team plus furry and feathered friends are the best.

        “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King

      • Trip says:

        I’m part of the lobbying group to remove the “Foster” part out of the title. She’s very cute and a fierce defender against dangerous cardboard boxes.

        • BobCon says:

          We have a foster dog right now thanks to Mrs. BobCon (not her real name of course) and while he is a nice dog, I cannot tell you the sense I relief I felt wash over me when I heard that she found a permanent adopter for him.  There is a lot to be said for shrinking your dog quotient after a while.

  4. Wrath of Bob says:

    Remembered today that great whites can’t survive in captivity, but needed to be reminded why. A flame dies when deprived of oxygen. A great white dies when deprived of freedom. But flip it upside-down, and the shark will drown, no matter how much space you give it.

    • Rugger9 says:

      The Monterey Bay Aquarium has pulled it off, for a couple of months before they release the shark back to the wild with tags.  What’s interesting is that in the enormous Deep Sea tank where they are kept, every other fish / turtle knows what it is and stays well out of range.  They kind of look mean in a battleship sort of way.

  5. Tom says:

    Now about the internet … I said on another post that I could go back to living in a world without it, although I have to admit that when my two daughters were going through their adolescent years I did find the internet very useful in keeping tabs (i.e., conducting surveillance) on them. I’m not sure whether Instagram was around a dozen or so years ago, I just know that back then I could do a search of my daughters’ names and find the pages on the internet where they had posted their various and assorted photos and comments. Along with pictures of themselves and their friends, they would sometimes post old high school photos of me wearing my big black-framed Henry Kissinger eyeglasses, or they would make comments such as: “It’s sad when you go to the beach and realize your Dad has bigger boobs than you do.” But otherwise, everything on my girls’ website pages seemed to be on the up-and-up, and so I pointed out to them that if Ol’ Pap could see their webpages, so could any deviated prevert prowling the web, whereupon they installed some blocking measures. I should explain that around that time my daughters were reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, their literary interest having been inspired by a news report that the book had been banned by a school board in the States. Anyway, as soon as my girls read about Huck’s father, old Pap Finn the town drunk, they immediately commenced to addressing me as “Pap” or “Pappy”, and continue to do so to this day.

    The moon rose big & orange with a front-flip comb-over here in Eastern Ontario last night, but I was gratified to see the sky haze over with ice crystals in the upper atmosphere later on in the evening, thus sparing me from having to go out into the minus 35 Centigrade wind chill temperatures to see the Lon Chaney Jr. full moon eclipse. Aurrroooooooooooo…….

  6. NorskieFlamethrower says:

    Heads up, there is a post up at Kos by Mark Summer detailing the integration of Trump’s digital campaign with the Russian Internet Research Agency with a very useful flow chart naming names. Have any of the trained analysts here seen it? I just ransacked it and didn’t spend a whole lotta time with it because it wasn’t new to a  regular reader of this blog. It’s worth a look just for the visuals.

    • P J Evans says:

      They have a few lawyers over there, but most of the posts are by others, some of whom are very good. Some posts have timelines, too (useful for following this).

    • Hops says:

      More ambiguity about words: what, exactly, is “polling data” ?

      What comes to mind is simple stuff, like X percent support Trump, Y percent Clinton. But one opinion I’ve heard is that it was much more detailed demographic breakdown that would facilitate marketing style messaging.

      So Manafort gave it to Ukrainian oligarchs? What use could they have for it other than to give it to the IRA, GRU, etc?

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Per economist Stephanie Kelton, retweeted by Ed Walker, our lawyer-economist in residence:

    This is as close as I’ve seen a politician come to (correctly) explaining that the problem with the 1% isn’t that they’re not PAYING their fair share of taxes [they’re not] but that they’re TAKING more than their fair share of income.

    Ms. Kelton was responding to zillionaire mayor Bill de Blasio saying that,

    The truth is that there’s plenty of money in the world.  It’s just in the wrong hands.

    I think His Honor means that too much of it is in the wrong hands, including his.  Changing that, as Ms. Kelton says, is not solely a matter of tweaking the tax code, or imposing a 70% tax on incomes above $10 million.  (AOC knows that, but she and we have to start somewhere.)  It requires rewriting other rules of the game – with a nod to the Jean Renoir classic – that the 1% have spent a century fixing in their favor.

    Which leads to this retweeted comment by Ayanna Pressley, Congresswoman from Mass:

    The 7th Congressional District [suburban Boston] is…arguably one of the most unequal in the country.  From Cambridge to Roxbury – a mere three-mile radius – life expectancy drops by 30 years, the median household income by $50,000.  I want to do something about that.

    Scandalous that so much is dependent on ones birth lottery number.  Europe spent the first generation after WWII trying to ameliorate that; it is now struggling with neoliberalism’s attempt to undo the fixes.

    We will all be better off when Ms. Pressley and her colleagues do that.  But we’ll have to help.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Jeepers.  Not the first time that I’ve been gobsmacked around here.  Crikey.

        Totally agree with EOH, the next Dem at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave should call on her smarts, plus her ability to explain things.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          There are a lot of other women like her, such as Zephyr Teachout, Shoshana Zuboff, Dawn Johnsen, and many others just as talented but less well-known. 

          Personally, I would love to see Bill Black come in as a top banking or securities regulator or in charge of say, the criminal division, at the DoJ. White collar crime has been scandalously ignored. Had past administrations paid more attention to it, we might not have had a candidate Trump.

          We will have to make it clear to the eventual Dem front runners that support for them, as passionate as it might be, is contingent on walking the talk.  The most important element of that is – as Dick Cheney was wont to say – that Personnel is Policy.

          • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

            Hear! Hear!

            Zuboff’s “In the Age of the Smart Machine” is brilliant.  And it’s  probably time that I rechecked “The Support Economy”, which really led to a fork in my own career path (or so-called ‘career’) back when it was published. Along with Gore’s “The Future”, there are amazing economic stats and implications that simply don’t fit into any neoliberal framework. (Given that Gore has been on the board of Apple, which has implemented a lot of Zuboff’s “Support Economy” concepts, I don’t really think of this comment as partisan.)

            Agree that Trump is in large part a response to failures to clean up finance.

            However, when I consider how much the conversation has shifted even in the past 36 months, it is truly incredible.  Judging from my Twitter and media readings (podcasts, video, websites), new conversations about economic-political topics are accelerating.  Whether politics or personal finance, it appears there is an appetite for new solutions.  That’s hopeful.

            Damn, thinking about this sure makes me miss Dylan Ratigan.  I absolutely loved his show, although I suppose Ari Melber is kind of in the same vein. Ratigan really highlighted the nexus between politics, business, and economics like no one else that I’ve ever seen. (Although Yves Smith hits it out of the ballpark, daily.)

  8. What Constitution? says:

    I dunno, Rayne — I’m beginning to worry that a couple more Hall Monitor-esque “use your original handle/stay on message” blasts from you and somebody’s going to link to Josh Lyman’s West Wing reference to the overseer of the “Lemon-Lyman Blog” in the episode “The US Poet Laureate” [Season 3, ep. 16] as “a dictatorial leader who I’m sure wears a muumuu and chain-smokes Parliaments”. Affectionately, of course (apparently this presents another “new topic” conundrum — is it no longer safe to presume that if Sorkin wrote it it must be good?).

    And may I also say (and at the substantial risk of being in the wrong thread with this) that, even as a homer LA-adjacent resident, I cannot remember ever seeing a worse and more impactful referee error than the Super Bowl-awarding non-call in the fourth quarter of the Saints-Rams playoff. I haven’t seen or heard anything that even pretends to justify it, and though the Commish probably won’t invoke his apparent charter authority to reverse a game result, he should at least announce that if the Rams win the Super Bowl, the win shall bear an asterisk in the record books.

    • Rayne says:

      Muu-muu, yes, though here in the frozen north it’s a full-length hoodie sweatshirt. Parliaments, no, but I have been slinging back out of some sick sense of obligation rather dreadful cinnamon-nut coffee a beloved non-coffee-drinking friend gave me. Tastes wretched but a day’s worth leaves the same sensation as a pack of unfiltereds.

      The “use your handle” has become necessary with an increase in the number of sockpuppets we’ve had. They get worse when Marcy publishes something particularly [insert verb], hence the occasional spike in floggings about identity. I hope regulars are also on their guard when they see surges of newbies.

      As for yesterday’s troll — well. Let’s just say evidence made it obvious they were on a mission with regard to staying on message.

      • P J Evans says:

        Derailing threads is a known tactic of trolls.

        But those smelly red herrings can be so much fun, when you know what they are from the start.

        • Rayne says:

          I did cat-and-mouse a little because they were fun. But they also knew *exactly* what topic would rile us up. I’m pretty sure somebody has profiled us as a group because the reaction to other wedge topics wouldn’t be quite the same. For instance if a newbie showed up spouting about a racially sensitive issue it’d never see daylight.

          But now I know what topic they are most likely to try again. Heh. All I can say to them is Try Harder, Mothertrucker.

        • LeeNLP says:

          On the topic of trolling, I remember a particular thread a couple months ago where a longish comment was made, a few others chimed in, and Bmaz would interject now and again in a way that sounded … well, harsh … since I couldn’t quite understand what the problem was.  The comments were on a subtopic of Marcy’s essay that related to technology, and I’m in IT myself and the comments sounded believable if OT.  The original comment and all the follow up did begin to feel like it was consuming important bandwidth and I found myself saying “allright people- that’s all well and good for geeks, but can we get back on topic?”  Bmaz would pipe up occasionally with reference to the username in quotes; something like “Thanks ‘Jim’…”.

          I was quite confused, and wonder now if it was my own naivety about the science and art of trolls and trolling.  Could it have been a genuine case of trolling, or a false positive on Bmaz’s part?  I have so much to learn about all this. Plus law…

  9. FelixCloudy says:

    At the HUGE risk of being a dork and a fawning newbie… I just want to say a huge thank you to all in EW-land, Marcy, Rayne, bmaz et al.  I moved back to the USA in 2016 after seven years abroad.   It has often felt like I’ve landed in a completely alien world.  Finding this site with all your wonderful writing and brilliant minds has saved my sanity.

    Now… back to lurking!

    • Valerie Klyman-Clark says:


      Raises hand-me, too . . . lurker, that is and I, too cannot tell you all how much I appreciate you folks. All y’all. It’s an oasis of sanity here and I am grateful to have found it.

  10. IANAL on UWS says:

    As account name reflects, IANAL and, as with many, trying to grasp all tangents. The posts and comments are remarkable, thank you for sharing your extraordinary knowledge (and in this thread to Rayne for keeping everyone in line).

    This has been percolating since Marcy’s periodic posts offering a quasi org chart of top-level staff and where they appeared in documents (see “There are still Mueller prosecutors whose work we’ve barely seen”, 14 Aug). I am impressed by the absence of leaks from SCO and am trying to figure out how many people are keeping mum. Presumably there are juniors to prosecutors mentioned in that list, plus researchers, administrative assistants, IT, etc. Are we talking dozens? More than 50? 100? 

  11. Boikley says:

    Greetings. Anyone seen any analysis of relevant voting records for the July Fourth-niks — those eight GOP MoCs (senators plus one congressman) — since they spent Independence Day 2018 in Moscow? This dear blog recently reminded me of that curiosity (sorry I don’t recall which posting). I’d try to do the legwork, but can’t appreciate what particular votes would be significant to review. Thanks for any help/direction.

    (Or, maybe they’re Fourth-of-July-niks.)

  12. AitchD says:

    Around 2006 two self-described very hep brothers and lifelong friends of mine asked me, “What’s a blog?” Ten years earlier, one asked me, “What’s Usenet?” How is ‘Usenet’ pronounced, ‘use’ as a noun or a verb? I always said it like the noun.

    What does one call the head part, above the thread, that the blogger writes?

    Walter Hagen said even if you don’t play, you should swing a club every day, even if it’s a wedge.

  13. Ewan says:

    There should be an option to delete what I said. I know, I know, if that how I feels, I shouldn’t have posted in the first place. Yet, sometimes, the itch to take part of the conversation is too great, and a not thought through regrettable comment is posted.

    Something like ##&& please delete silly post of 03:34 &&## which the form would treat as a message to the moderator (who can use her discretion to delete or not).

    • LeeNLP says:

      I’m rather glad that I was already well into middle age when the Internet got to be a thing.  I’ve written some posts on UseNet and its successors that I would rather not be attributed to me, but only on the order of a harsh and unnecessarily personal comment now and again, not like posting a nude selfie or things that teenagers are likely to do before they have learned any of the ropes of life.

      Everyone makes mistakes.  Welcome to the club :)

  14. Cfost says:

    Thanks for the open thread. I’ve been looking at 28 CFR 600. IANAL. I’m most interested in the reporting requirements and the budgeting specs. Makes sense that Trump would want BigDickToiletSalesman(BDTS) as AG for as long as possible because of Mueller’s obligation to report all significant events to BDTS 3 days in advance. So Trump has known about the execution of the search warrants; and witness interviews, appearances, and depositions; well ahead of time. If, that is, the AG, DAG or ActingAG is willing to give Trump the heads up. 

    Conversely, the AG would be reluctant to fire Mueller or block any action by Mueller, because he would then be obliged to inform Congress and explain himself. (Obviously, Trump partisans have been searching for any plausible rationale for doing so, but without success.) I hope one of the legal minds here will educate me if I have missed anything.

    Under 600.8 (a) (2), sometime early in July, Mueller will report to the AG, and the AG will “determine whether the investigation should continue.” Could the AG decide to discontinue the investigation without divulging the contents of Mueller’s closing documentation to Congress, or squeeze the budget so as to effectively end the investigation, and not have to make a report to Congress (600.9)? Or could he declare “privacy concerns” and put off his report indefinitely?

    Seems that Mueller has anticipated all of this, and decided to lay out his findings in court. A good thing. But, since much if not most of the court documentation regarding Trump and his various misdeeds is redacted, I wonder what criteria the judges will use to decide whether and when the redacted can be rendered unredacted. My hope is that more of this info can see daylight (without endangering any active investigation) before we as a country need to make decisions about impeachment, or later, whom to vote for.

    • Rayne says:

      This has been my concern, that the shutdown is obstruction because it interferes with Special Counsel and other investigations.

      And the GOP senate, as long as it supports McConnell’s refusal to entertain bills reopening government, are complicit in this obstruction.

      • Rugger9 says:

        Given that Yertle McTurtle’s reasoning is that such bills wouldn’t be signed, so why bother, explain to me how passing yet another anti-abortion bill in the Senate on party lines will make it past Pelosi’s House?  Both types are DOA, but McT scheduled the dominionist one just fine.

        • Rayne says:

          Yup. In other words the business of a GOP-dominated Senate is campaigning for the next term using bills to pander to their base, even if the bills are merely hollow gestures insulting half the population’s ability to control their own lives and bodies.

      • cfost says:

        Not only is Mitch engaging in naked pandering to the base (as a way to distract and obfuscate from Trump), he and his Christian base are now embracing moral relativism when they support Trump, something at odds with their professed religion.

        If that’s not enough red meat for the rabid Right, then he’ll move to install compliant judges.

        Meanwhile, Deripaska lives a charmed life. Who’s your daddy, Mitch?

    • Rowboat says:

      Thank you, ‘Rusharuse’, for posting this article. It’s good to read people who know, by training and experience, what they’re talking about. This was helpful in observing the Pelosi/Trump dynamic, but also in being heads-up about one’s own experiences with toxic narcissists.

  15. hollywood says:

    FWIW, Jimmy Buffett’s rendering of the National Anthem was pathetic.  Not as bad as Roseanne’s, but close.

  16. scribe says:

    This is NOT cabin fever.

    Fer Chrissake, it’s only the 3rd week of January.  Come back at the end of February, when there’s been a couple weeks straight of looking up at 20 and down at all that snow in the yard, driveway, street….  That’s when you see the real cases of shack nasties pop up, and when the police blotter gets real interesting.

    What it is, is a good invitation to pop open a stout (my local beer store didn’t have much besides Guinness and a couple made with whatever the microbrewer could find in the cupboard, none of it appealing, so I went with the Big G) or a dark beer (has IPA and fruity sour beer chased all the dark beer off the planet?) and mull a good hockey game.  Or go midnight ice fishing or something.  It won’t be light for another 2 months or so.  That Blackhawks-Caps game yesterday wound up 8-5 ‘hawks, Toews with a hat trick and 2 assists.  Sadly he didn’t get the Gordie Howe Hat Trick, but a lot of these stars won’t fight.

    I miss “Bath salts”.  The police blotters have not been nearly as much fun to read since they were outlawed.  The fucked up shit people did after ingesting who knows what was in them … always entertaining (as in “hold your attention”), sometimes dangerous, cops left shaking their heads.

    And if you can hold it that long, pitchers and catchers start to report in 3 weeks or so.  Easy way to remember Valentine’s Day – it’s when pitchers and catchers report.  And it’s really not that long – it’s only a week and a half from the Super Bowl until spring training.

    Did you ever notice there’s only one day of the year when there are no sports on TV?  True:  the day after the baseball all-star game.  Not An Accident, people – sports are the new opiate of the masses and we get our fixes daily.

    And if anyone is up in arms about the RBG DEAD slide Fox News put up to lead off the morning:  they admitted it was a mistake and they’re sorry.  Keep in mind that all major media outlets have people whose job it is to prepare and regularly update obituaries on famous people, so they don’t have to go running around like newly-decapitated chickens when someone dies.  And that would include slides showing someone died.  In fact, it used to be they had slides and articles for things like the Second Coming and Global Thermonuclear War in the files, waiting.

    So, someone made a mistake and clicked on the wrong icon.  Ooops.  Y’know, that’s how the Abu Ghraib pictures got out, don’t you?  I knew the person who did it – they’d gotten conflicting emails from all over their network hierarchy all day and then their email packed up, so they went with the last one, which was “yes”.

    And to RMS or RMD or whomever it was barking at me on the trash thread to the effect of “people don’t listen to you” or “people don’t like you” or “you’re ugly” or whatever drivel that was:  it’s trash talk.  I’ve been trashtalking here since The Next Hurrah days (or whenever trashtalking started) and in real life even longer.  Probably longer than you’ve been out of diapers.  And people here do take me seriously, even if they don’t like what I have to say and/or don’t respond. At least that’s what they tell me.

    Just remember:  if you don’t impeach, you ratify.

    You might not like it, but no one in DC cares what you like just so long as they can keep ramming it to you, preferably while saving the grease.

    • Rayne says:

      With climate change so, too, will cabin fever change. I had geese flying over my house two days ago, have never been this late — like six weeks late — ever. Or early, which scares me even more because we never see them earlier than March.

      If it’s balmy here by the end of February, no one will be cooped up indoors here in what’s usually the great white north. Might not be golfing yet but if this trend continues, won’t be inside going barmy ready to claw someone else’s eyes out.

      The police blotter will see yet another change.

  17. Savage Librarian says:

    And now for some GOOD news:

    Kamala Harris made her announcement that she will run for POTUS in 2020.

    Finally something to celebrate this new year is what I think. Anybody else feeling the buzz?

  18. Wajim says:

    After an MFA in Poetry at UM Missoula, I realized I probably needed an actual job. I thought, hey, I’m very good with language, so I applied to several law schools. Then two weeks before moving to Seattle to become a law student, I woke up one morning and realized I wanted to make poems, and help other people make them, for the rest of my life, whatever comes. Twenty-five years later I’m glad I did. I drive a twenty-two year old pickup, have no savings to speak of, but my wife of 31 years, my four dogs and five cats love me even though I’m a bit of a jerk from time to time, which is more than anyone can ask for in this life with a straight face. This is to say, although I am glad IANAL you lawyers here are fun to read, and I hugely enjoy your parsings, well-sourced authority, and carefully crafted (and sometimes laughably pissy) arguments. You make me happy for the sneak peeks into the dark works of the guild. That said, Marcy, of course, is the real attraction. Best work on the tubes.

  19. darms says:

    I’m in OR & saw this pop up in between local stories on one of our Sinclair broadcasting station’s news programs – Thought it might be significant as it appears to be yet more of the eternal Hillary email tripe which Sinclair seems to be somehow passing off as ‘breaking news’ yet again. Not necessarily fake news but IMHO misleading, however if anyone here has an opinion? (a longtime lurker…)

    • Rayne says:

      That story is three or more days old. Typing in “FBI lawyer” into the search field in Google News brings up WJLA, Washington Examiner, Daily Caller, Fox News carrying that same story. And that’s it.

      Which should tell one a lot about the story: it’s Sinclair and the rest of the right-wing disinformation network carrying something intended to undermine FBI credibility. What may be more important is the timing of the story; is there a reason why this attack was spawned when it was?

      • Wajim says:

        Rayne, I think I get get your drift, but I just can’t buy the conspiratorial pig-in-the-poke.  That is, I realize Sinclair has its (CEO/Board’s) agenda, as does Fox, clearly, and, for similar and perhaps politically different reasons, the so-called MSM. Are you suggesting some sort of right-wing media “star chamber” within which all these media entities collude? Am I missing something?

        • Rayne says:

          We’ve known since the early Bush administration there’s a right-wing media ecosystem. Take the Heritage Foundation and its spinoff, Townhall, and then all the little peripheral media outlets like Talon News which was a GOP PAC product. A more recent version has been NRATV run by NRA and of course it will feature content overlapping right-wing GOP-favoring news sites. They feed on each other to promote a single POV; this is the danger Sinclair poses as its broadcast reach through local stations covers nearly the entire country.

      • Trip says:

        P J, I’m thinking he’s pulling a Flake. Where you’re announcing that you’re  deeply deliberating about a difficult decision, but ultimately vote yes. I hope I’m wrong, but Manchin mostly sucks, if we’re honest.

        • P J Evans says:

          I’d have some respect (though not much) for him if he actually voted in ways that would benefit his official constituents. I know WV is conservative – but make it clear that the GOP-T isn’t going to do anything good for them, no matter how much they talk about jobs and coal.

  20. Watson says:

    Yes, Joe Biden (D-MBNA) was the tireless sponsor of the odious anti-consumer amendments to the bankruptcy act in 2005. He should apologize and push for a 2020 Dem platform that repeals those changes and provides at least as much debt relief for individuals as for corporations.

    • Wajim says:

      I do like Unkee Joe, but yes, his support for the bankruptcy bill is a big bug in my soup.  Will be interesting to see if he does issue a mea culpa or equivalent walk back.

  21. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ken Vogel’s NYT article takes down the Trump administration’s contention that it forced so-called painful concessions on Oleg Deripaska in exchange for the Treasury Department lifting sanctions on three of his companies.  The effect was a net benefit to Deripaska:

    The deal contains provisions that free him from hundreds of millions of dollars in debt while leaving him and his allies with majority ownership of his most important company, the document shows.

    I guess “painful” means becoming debt-free and allowed to make more money.  The move and the false claims from the Trump regime beautifully illustrate why Putin has worked so hard to put Trump in place and to force him to lift sanctions across the board.

    We’re not talking small potatoes, we’re talking big big money.  It would enormously enrich the oligarchs and enable them to reopen their global money laundering operations.

  22. Savage Librarian says:

    @Alan, glad to hear it. Might be Ms. Squarepants, though, Ha, ha. More like Forrest Gump (or Willow Gump?) “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know just what you’re gonna get.”

  23. Marji says:

    Hi learned folks! My first post.  I’m a clinical psychologist with over 30 years experience,  and hopefully I can contribute in that way.  Otherwise,  I’m unfortunately addicted to the news – which is not healthy,  I know.  But I can’t get over what’s happening to our country and how/why millions of Americans support trump.  And how we have so many corrupt politicians.  Key words here are stupidity (supporters) and greed (politicians). Greed causes the corruption . WTF happened to our country?

    • jaango says:

      Ever since Reagan showed up in the Oval Office, the ‘official’ Snark has be objectified as “Propaganda Versus Pooper-Ganda.”  Of course, Reagan’s guide post was and which continues to illuminate the Right via the 2,000 ideas crafted by the Heritage Foundation.  To wit, diminish the Great Society and which continues to this day.

  24. OldTulsaDude says:

    It is past time to bring in the big gun against Rudy Giuliani – to heck with the special counsel. To face off against Rudy, let’s get Joe Pesci as Vincent Gambini in “My Cousin Vinny” so he can use the greatest opening argument in legal history.

    Vinny Gambini: “Yeah, everything that guy just said is bullshit…thank you.”

  25. earlofhuntingdon says:

    A nice critique of Fascist Neoliberalism and its practical effects on children, women, men, and families, by a true public intellectual, Henry Giroux, Born Disposable: Trump’s War on Youth.

    We live in an age in which the welfare of children is no longer a measure of the degree to which a society lives up to its democratic ideals. In an age of growing fascism, those in power no longer view children as the promise of a future but as a threat to the present….

    Poor Black and Brown children are being treated as…“unmournable bodies.” Rather than being educated, many are being imprisoned; rather than living in communities that are safe and clean, many are relegated to cities where the water is poisoned and the police function as an occupying army.

    In the age of Trump, children of undocumented workers are stripped of their humanity, caged in internment camps, sometimes sexually abused and subjected to the unethical grammars of state violence. Sometimes they lose their lives.

  26. JAAG says:

    Emin Agalrov was going to do a four city tour? Hahahahah. All my nieces and nephews just love Azeraijani – Russian pop. Maybe the KGB agents embedded all over the USA need a belated XMAS party get together.

  27. P J Evans says:

    Rugger9 says:
    January 21, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Steinhart Aquarium had a “fish roundabout” for a while: a tank that was a large ring, set up to have a current going around it, for the fish that need to swim a lot (like yellowtail jack and smaller sharks). You went up a ramp into the center of the hole, and watched the various fish around you. Sadly, they had an electrical short that killed some of the fish – that was in the mid-80s, IIRC – and after that, Loma Prieta did serious damage to the building.

  28. Jan says:

    I’m thinking my American neighbours have had enough of this shit show.

    Wishful thinking? I don’t think so. :-)

  29. Jockobadger says:

    I just saw Toobin refer to Trump’s written response as his “take-home test.”

    I know what he’s been reading. EW is working.

    • joulie says:

      Link Wray is censored for his song w/o lyrics. Kinda Stravinsky 1918.

      We should all strive for such coolness.

  30. Alan says:

    @ Rayne

    WaPo sez Sen. Ron Johnson was in Russia last July 4

    “Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) led the eight-member delegation on a multiday tour of St. Petersburg and Moscow, a trip that included meetings with Russia’s foreign minister and parliamentarians. It did not include a session that senators had been hoping for: a meeting with Putin, whom President Trump is scheduled to meet at a summit this month. Joining Shelby were Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Tex.).”

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks very much for that. I kept pulling up reports all pointing back to NPR as an original source and they only offered these names. I don’t know why I didn’t check WaPo, especially since I have a subscription. Oy.

      Now the question is why wasn’t Johnson listed in NPR’s report? But it’s not as big a question as the other one I’m working on.

      Thanks much again! This is a huge help!

      • Rayne says:

        That’s okay, it’s all sorted out now.

        Well, except for the deciphering part. Really want somebody to tell me why Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12) went. Was she being groomed in case John Cornyn didn’t run in 2020? Or is she going to primary Cornyn? What’s going on in Fort Worth which looks like it will be a solid R no matter who runs.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks much for the assist. This was one of the reports reflecting the smaller number.

      Edit — this one reflects where the reporting might have gone awry. The headline reads seven, the body of the text lists seven, but in the text they quote Sen. Richard Shelby talking about the other seven in the list.

      So in reality, eight. This was very helpful!

  31. BobPDX says:

    Just a note of gratitude for this site! It really helps to reassure me that there is some sanity left in this country. I also enjoy lawfareblog, but no comment section, which is part of what makes EW so satisfying to read. Most clear-eyed political analysis on the web!

  32. Eureka says:

    @ harpie- that _is_ a beautiful explanation, eff the fact-checking for today. (Also a funny tortilla-stuck-to-window pix near the top of the replies.)
    @ Tom- I have me a tiny hound dog, and “Aurroooooooooooo” about fits, lol
    @ EoH- thanks for the Zuboff interview link. Third to last para is key, I think, on how the proposed ‘solution’ of ‘data ownership’ is bs, dangerously so viz.false sense of security and yet another ‘job’ or distributed universal burden for people (while solving nothing as regards the underlying problem).
    @ Rayne- the honking geese startled the bejeebus out of me the other night as well. And the well-meaning non-drinkers of coffee and their cinnamony recipes, well…. Cheers. I let my last gift batch desiccate in the cabinet.
    @ Alan- LOL, I think you are feeling the buzz because your grocery store is about to have _very many_ crudites, fruit, and deli platters. ;)

  33. scribe says:

    To answer Bobby Gladd upthread, asking:


    Is the federal shutdown actually unconstitutional (from a Scalian Textualist perspective)?


    Under any theory of constitutional interpretation, a shutdown is perfectly permissible. As to appropriations and taxation the Constitution allocates the jobs, but does not require their performance. And it is not self-executing.

    And your generalized interest in good government (however you might style it) is not sufficient to give you standing to sue.

    And it’s also a non-justiciable political question.

    And any lawyer who takes the case to sue on your behalf is both likely to go broke (unless you bring a big retainer) and might get sanctioned for bringing it.

  34. Trip says:

    ‏Verified account @Mediaite

    Colbert Says Fox News’ Bret Baier and Family Were Hospitalized After ‘Bad’ Car Crash: ‘They’re Going to Be OK’

    So Colbert offers a sincere report on Bret Baier and the Trumpian riffraff are angry that he made a joke (which he didn’t), because they don’t read. They simply see Colbert as a ‘trigger’.

  35. Trip says:

    mark‏ @kept_simple 1h1 hour ago

    covington catholic story keeps going largely because media are aggressively rehabbing the students. media then use the fact that the story is so active as proof that outrage against the students is out of control.

     Jacob Payne‏ @cattleprod

    Replying to @kept_simple @onlxn

    Media is going crazy over it because Scott Jennings’ RunSwitch PR firm is nudging them along. TL;DR:McConnell’s right hand is behind the gaslighting

    Fact checked:

    I’m not diving into this controversy other than its potential to be a McConnell diversion (like Trump’s SOP)…My question: Why were kids sent to a protest representing a tax exempt religious institute wearing political logos, in the first place?

  36. Bobby Gladd says:


    “the Constitution allocates the jobs, but does not require their performance”

    Silly me. So, “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed” is simply meaningless noble-sounding platitudinous rhetoric?

  37. e.a.f. says:

    Put it down to a full moon and how close it was to earth. Having worked with the public, at one time, we all knew, come full moon time, there’d be very weird stuff to deal with. Now we will have the king tides. We do have water in our bodies, which includes our brains, the ocean is impacted by the moon, so why not us. Not dreadfully scientific, but its an explanation.
    On Vancouver Island (mid Island) British Columbia, Canada, the moon didn’t appear red, but it was interesting to watch parts of it disappear bit by bit.

    Perhaps politics are getting to the point people are getting warn out in the U.S.A. Perhaps people might have wanted to watch AOC on Stephen Corbett’s show last night. Now that was refreshing and fun! ice cream too. There is hope, if she doesn’t get worn down. Looking for McConnell is hilarious. If you’re tired of watch the dtumpster, watch her. She laughs with a level of joy not seen in other politicians.

    We in Canada haven’t been too happy with dtrump having Canada arrest Meng. On the upside the Chinese government is starting to see the light. It isn’t Canada’s fault all the way. Now if the americans just don’t complete the paper work, she can walk out of court on 31 Jan. which would be ever so nice. Don’t know who will do the paper work if some people don’t come to work.

    Don’t know how a G 20 country gets to the point of not having money to run their government. Weird. How to destroy a country in one easy step, defund it. working well for dtrump and putin, but how is it working for the average American. Certainly demonstrates dtrump and mcconnel don’t care about their country.

  38. Charlie says:

    No. However, you can check out Cliodynamica blog which deals with this aspect of human evolution through the ages.

Comments are closed.