Wednesday Afternoon Open Thread

I saw a couple of fliers at the beach down the road. One was a plane bound for parts unknown:

The other was a gull hanging out on a streetlamp:

We should all look so good when photographed from the rear!

This photo doesn’t look much like Florida, but it is:

The thing that looks like a hill in the distance is an old phosphate mine slag heap.

Open thread!

76 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    Let’s go Cubbies!!!

  2. 2
    trollhattan says:

    Seventeen fires presently in northern California.of roughly 150k acres combined. Before last weekend there were no large active fires anywhere in the region.

  3. 3
    Brachiator says:

    I was looking at the new MacArthur “Genius” Grant winners. A diverse group of people trying to bring positive change to the world. A little bit of hope, perhaps.

  4. 4
    Elizabelle says:

    I am glad to see Ron Chernow’s new book focuses on Ulysses S. Grant. A good man.

    And how timely. Since we seem to be fighting the Civil War anew. With John C. Calhoun in the Oval Office. (With apologies to JCC, probably.)

  5. 5
    NCSteve says:

    MD 90. Getting a bit long in the tooth, but still possibly the coolest looking airliner ever built, Concorde included.

  6. 6
    sharl says:

    My attitude toward sea gulls is sooo context-dependent. Hearing their call as I sit on a rock outcropping on the coast, gazing out into the ocean – they add to the bliss. Seeing a bunch of them in a strip mall parking lot, with trash swirling around them in the breeze – unwelcome flying scavengers.
    I’m very disappointed in them, for not conforming with my performance standards. Do better, sea gulls!

  7. 7
    Politically Lost says:

    Santa Rosa Fire Update:

    The disaster response is ramping up further as evidenced by the 300 national guard troops and hundreds of fire fighting trucks I just saw at the Sonoma County Fair Grounds. As I’ve said before we live just a few hundred yards from the fair but we abut a huge tract of land covered with dry chaparral and old oak trees. The fire is now about a mile and half east of us but the wind is blowing south. Unfortunately, the wind is supposed to turn nasty this evening all through the day tomorrow. The humidity is supposed to drop down to 8% with 30mph gusts. Not as bad as it was the night of the firestorm just a few miles to the north of us, but it could get harry later on.

    The neighbors and I have created a good fire break near out homes but the hill behind us is topped by a couple of 100+ foot tall eucalyptus trees. Those things go up like roman candles in these types of conditions. I figure if those things are going up its time all is lost.

    I’ve just gotten word that my school’s faculty has been hit extremely hard. We’re a small evening law school with part-time faculty. So, far I know that the Dean, four judges, and at least three faculty have lost their homes. Several others don’t know if their homes still stand because the evacuation areas have so little information coming out. My friend and former assistant dean has been displaced and is staying with us. His sister’s family lost her home and his parents are evacuated from theirs.

    This shit is fucked up and bullshit.

    My doggy, wife and I are safe, packed, our house is soaked and our neighborhood is ready to fight if need be.

    Thanks Balloon-Juice.

  8. 8
    trollhattan says:

    Nahh, it wanted to be a 727 but was always missing the kewhl third engine. And don’t get me started on the hideous DC10. (Grew up in a Boeing family so will fight anybody with fisticuffs on such matters.)

    Shot a passing plane during my kid’s badly one-sided soccer match last weekend and was surprised to see an A380 when I zoomed the crap out of the image. Yelled “Emirates” on the underside, which is the best branding I’ve ever seen on a passing plane. Our airport is way too small for those behemoths but this was cruising at perhaps 40k.

  9. 9
    Scout211 says:


    The skies are so smoky right now that I can’t tell if the sun is out unless I look at my weather app and we are at least 90 minutes away from the closest fire.

    The red flag winds are just now srarting up again and it is about to get much, much worse.

  10. 10
    Elizabelle says:

    @Politically Lost: Wow. I wish the best for you and your neighbors. I hope your area comes through unscathed.

    Mother Nature is savage when she has her winds out.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    trollhattan says:

    @Politically Lost:
    Thinking of all you folks. Have in-laws and friends up and down Napa Valley and all are safe for now but keeping a wary eye out. Here in Sac we see a steady parade of helis and air tankers, probably flying out of Mather and McClellan. Since there are also fires to the east and north it’s chaotic at times.

  13. 13

    The thing that looks like a hill in the distance is an old phosphate mine slag heap.

    Ah, so it does look like Florida then.

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:


    LMM has already said that his next show will NOT be about US Grant. 😂 But he urges everyone to read his “Uncle” Ron’s new book. Apparently Chernow was a great collaborator on the-show-that-must-not-be-named and LMM jokingly calls Chernow “Uncle Ron” now.

  15. 15
  16. 16
    trollhattan says:

    Cycled to work today–mistake. Sinuses are fried and I can feel the crud in my lungs.

  17. 17
    trollhattan says:

    @raven: Dear god. That couldn’t have ended well.

  18. 18
    Elizabelle says:

    FYI. This was in an email sent out by Long Beach, CA mayor Robert Garcia. LB firefighters are assisting with the Orange County (Anaheim Hills) conflagrations.

    In any area impacted by smoke, residents should take the following precautions:

    Avoid any vigorous outdoor or indoor exertion.

    People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children should remain indoors.

    Keep windows and doors closed or seek alternate shelter.

    Run your air conditioner if you have one.

    Change the standard air-conditioner filter to a medium or high efficiency filter. If you have a wall-unit or window-unit air conditioner, set it to “re-circulate.”

    Do not use a swamp cooler or whole-house fan to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.

    To avoid worsening the health effects of wildfire smoke, do not use indoor or outdoor wood-burning appliances, including fireplaces.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Politically Lost:

    Stay safe and listen to what the firefighters tell you. They’re always going to err on the side of caution when it comes to civilians, for good reason. What a sucky year for natural disasters.

  20. 20

    This is how I am feeling right now

    मुझे छोड़ दो, मेरे हाल पे
    ज़िंदा हु यार, काफी है |

    * Leave me to my own devices
    I am alive, yaar*, that’s enough

    Yaar ==literal meaning is friend, but it doesn’t quite go with the mood of the song.

  21. 21
    raven says:

    @trollhattan: It was full of ammo, it didn’t.

  22. 22
    Elizabelle says:

    Julia Whitty from Mother Jones, she’s in Sonoma County and guest-posting while Kevin Drum vacations in the UK: Pack the Cat and Don’t Look Back. I’m Fleeing California’s Firestorm Right Now.

    I’m waiting about 10 miles from the nearest fire front with bags packed, my cat carrier ready, and my cat locked inside with me.

    My property is strewn with ash and chunks of stuff that’s been snowing down, off and on, for the last two days. The sky is a sickly orange color and the air is thick with noxious smoke a lot nastier than wood fire. I’ve packed up trash bags full of extra blankets and pillows to take to the nearest evacuation center, where I’ve heard that people are sleeping on the floors by night and are bored stiff by day. I wish I could play a musical instrument well enough to entertain them for a spell. …

  23. 23
    Cermet says:

    @Politically Lost:Hope the fires don’t make it that far but remember, you and your family are irreplaceable – a home can be rebuilt. Best of luck and keep us informed!

  24. 24
    Elizabelle says:

    @Mnemosyne: Maybe all the disaster response we’re doing will help take down the Vichy Republicans’ tax cuts.

    Clearly, someone needs to pay for all of this, and for further prevention and relief. And that’s us. No time in hell for a tax cut for the already well to do.

    Puerto Rico
    Wildfire season starting early and fierce

    and that’s just the last month, isn’t it?

  25. 25
    Scout211 says:


    I am in NorCal, but live in a red county. A woman who volunteers at the same place I do was bemoaning how sad all these disasters were for our president. No, really. She said that. I was seething but all I said was that I was feeling sympathy more for the victims and their families and that all presidents have had to deal with disasters. She insisted that I still needed to feel sorry for our poor president.

    it is hard to change these people’s minds. Facts, apparently, have no effect.

  26. 26
    Chyron HR says:


    Leave me to my own devices
    I am alive, yaar, that’s enough

    Are they the Indian Pet Shop Boys?

  27. 27
    Aleta says:

    @Politically Lost:Take care; have been thinking of all of you people and animals in the unbelievably fast spread of smoke and fire. My good friend who works in Sebastipol packed and left quickly Monday a.m., thinking her cat in her home would remain safe. She can’t get back now and is very worried for him.

    eta I appreciate the updates very much.

  28. 28
    Elizabelle says:

    Top story on the WaPost right now:

    Undisclosed deal paid Roy Moore $180,000 a year for charity work
    The Senate candidate from Alabama once stated he did not take a “regular salary” from the charity he founded. But documents show he collected more than $1 million, compensation that far surpassed what the group disclosed in its public tax filings.

    There is no charity like charities run by Republicans.

    Plus, Moore’s son has been arrested for like the 7th time or something. No idea why. Saw that headline on the NY Daily News a day or two ago.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    @Scout211: FWIW, I feel the president is sorry.

  30. 30
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:


    We just went through that here in Brookings, OR (Chetco Bar Fire – SW Oregon) from mid August when the fire blew up until mid September when the firefighters (with the help of Mother Nature) got it under control. Dark orange skies, no visible sun (or a dim red-orange sphere), falling ash and scorched leaves and smoke so thick you can’t see the houses at the end of the street. The fire was largely confined to National Forest lands but private lands and homes were also destroyed. It’s heartbreaking to see people lose everything they have accumulated in their lives.

    The feeling of helplessness you have when confronted with a fire like this is unreal. I hope your firefighters get a boost from Mother Nature like we did.

  31. 31
    trollhattan says:

    “They’re taking his attention from what’s important, THE NFL!!!”

    That’s why the Pence stunt was so galling in trying to yank their non-story back into the headlines. Stupid Las Vegas murderer screwed that right up and now, fires?!?

  32. 32

    @Chyron HR: Its from a movie, Lootera the main character is angsty, or at some sort of cross roads in his life. I haven’t seen the movie but poetry is beautiful. Its an adaptation of an O. Henry story, and it is set in 1950’s Bengal just after independence.

  33. 33
    trollhattan says:

    IIUC the Moore spawn was trespassing on somebody’s property while huntin’. Suspect in Alabama even being white won’t necessarily protect your from a disgruntled landowner.

  34. 34
    Elizabelle says:

    @Scout211: They are sad. And that’s why we have a usually well run GOVERNMENT to respond to them on our behalf, for which we pay TAXES.

    Trump probably is sad, watching the devastation, at some level. It’s more sad that he’s taking our government apart, piece by piece, and undoing all the hard and good work PBO and his administration did. Leaving climate change to those who cannot escape dealing with it. (Actually, we’re at that point now, but still a lot of denial.)

    Lotta sadness to go around.

  35. 35
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Scout211: I am in NorCal, but live in a red county. A woman who volunteers at the same place I do was bemoaning how sad all these disasters were for our president. No, really. She said that. I was seething but all I said was that I was feeling sympathy more for the victims and their families and that all presidents have had to deal with disasters. She insisted that I still needed to feel sorry for our poor president.

    reminds me of the wingers back in ’04-07 who would insist that the Iraqis were just engaging in a civil war (that had its roots in centuries of political, religious, cultural etc conflicts ) was just their attempt to embarrass George W Bush

    @Elizabelle: Plus, Moore’s son has been arrested for like the 7th time or something. No idea why.

    Hunting without a license and using bait, I believe I saw at Wonkette. Don’t see that moving many Alabama votes

  36. 36
  37. 37
    bemused senior says:

    Husband and I were in Napa last Saturday night to see Randy Newman in concert. Seems impossible that so much destruction landed on that beautiful area 24 hours later. Down here on the Peninsula we were smelling enough smoke that it woke me up early Sunday morning thinking we might have a fire in the house or neighbors’ houses.

  38. 38
    Elizabelle says:

    @Baud: The real president.

    Not the fake ass one the Russians and Mercers installed in the Oval Office.

    Honestly, I think Trump is a bit sad when he sees folks’ houses burning up. Or getting flooded out or blown away by hurricanes. At least, that aren’t in Puerto Rico.

    I doubt he’s laughing about wildfires in California.

  39. 39
    trollhattan says:

    Fore the curious or affected, here’s the Cal Fire incident page.Map in UR corner can be enlarged to see individual fires and extent, and most incidents have their own info page linked from this one, including detailed maps and road closure, evacuation order details.

  40. 40
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Probable-bankrupt trust-fund princeling cheers on bloated multimillionaire’s call to use psychotic racist billionaires’ money to fund insurgent campaigns that remember the “forgotten man” in order to maybe help poppa trump get rid of that unpleasant fellow who might well send said trust-fund princeling to prison just like daddy.

    ETA: oops, forgot text and link

    After Steve Bannon appeared on Fox News on Monday to declare war on Republican Senate incumbents and call for Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker to resign, he received a text from an unlikely fan: Jared Kushner.
    President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser messaged the former chief White House strategist to say he thought the TV hit was a success, according to multiple people who were dining with Bannon at Del Frisco’s steakhouse across the street from Fox News’ Manhattan studios when the message popped up.

  41. 41
    No Drought No More says:

    Take away their beautiful catholic cardinal scarlet skull caps and penchant for hanging sideways, and woodpeckers look a lot like penguins. The neighborhood peckers have begun watering at a birdbath in my yard for the past few months, and that similarity just occurred to me. Birds observe a protocol at the bath, too, but are never above messing with another bird if they’re feeling cranky- and that goes for all of them. But none of them ever tangle with a woodpecker, and I know why: they’re crazy looking fucks that pound trees with their beaks all day long, that’s why. I know I wouldn’t mess with one either if I was a bird.

    I’m also wondering if a friend’s house has burned. He lives across the county here in Sonoma; yesterday, firefighters stopped one fire in his neighborhood, but the same monstrous blaze is still alive and now being fed by strong afternoon winds that are likely to get stronger..

  42. 42
    Corner Stone says:

    @Elizabelle: He’s going to have Don Jr out there as soon as possible to see if he can start buying property at…no, too soon…lowered prices.

  43. 43
    trollhattan says:

    Pence was here Monday fundraising, so we have that level of support.

  44. 44
    trollhattan says:

    @Corner Stone:
    Yeah, what with all that winery experience and shit.

  45. 45
    bemused says:

    @Politically Lost:

    Omg, not religious but praying you all are safe.

  46. 46
    kindness says:

    At first I thought Betty was pulling our leg when I saw that hill. Not in her part of Florida. Then I read the caption. Slag heap.

    Don’t feel bad. The highest part of NYC (land, not buildings) is the trash mountain on Staten Island.

  47. 47
    Corner Stone says:

    When is Jenn Palmieri just going to hit the NFLTG button and just unload on Trump? She is waayyy too fucking polite and circumspect for my tastes. Dammit.
    She’s not even throwing shade. Aaaarrrggghhh.

  48. 48
    Skepticat says:

    @sharl: My father always called them rats with feathers.

  49. 49
    kindness says:

    @Politically Lost: Eucalyptus trees…..They are a yin/yang thing. I love them when they are flowering and when they smell like menthol. Other times they smell like stale cat piss I am not a fan. I know the hard core environmental types would cut them all down (not native and all) and replant with local flora. Me, yea I could do with cutting a bunch down so long as they plant oaks & hardwoods. But not all of them. Leave us some so we can feed the koalas at the zoos.

  50. 50
    marcopolo says:

    I haven’t been around all that much lately so apologies if this was posted by someone earlier–one of the latest ads put out by Northam in the VA Gov race. It’s called “sold out” and I think it is pretty damn good. Also it ties in the sold out theme with this ad that quotes their last debate.

    Also too, looks like Roy Moore down in Alibamy had a sweetheart deal with a little charity to pay him $180K/year to do not too much. I hope Doug Jones can capitalize on it. From the Washington Post:

    Former Alabama judge Roy Moore, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, once said publicly that he did not take a “regular salary” from the small charity he founded to promote Christian values because he did not want to be a financial burden.

    But privately, Moore had arranged to receive a salary of $180,000 a year for part-time work at the Foundation for Moral Law, internal charity documents show. He collected more than $1 million as president from 2007 to 2012, compensation that far surpassed what the group disclosed in its public tax filings most of those years.

    Hope for decent results from both upcoming regular and special elections.

  51. 51
    bemused says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Jared and family are Jewish and Bannon promotes alt-right anti-semitics. So bizarre.

  52. 52
    NCSteve says:

    @trollhattan: I always thought the MD 90 looked more Lockheed than Lockheed’s actual airliners.

    Weird to think there used to be actual competition in the aviation business, from manufacturers to the airlines, even in our lifetimes. And funny how air travel only turned from an fun event into a visit to fascist police state dystopia after it ended.

  53. 53
    trollhattan says:

    @NCSteve: Ain’t that the truth. Among my fondest childhood memories are the very rare plane flights. Adventure! Toys and other goodies from the (then) stewardesses! Gazing down for hours at the patchwork that is North America!

    Today, “Oh shit, how many hours ahead do I need to be and what’s going wrong this time?”

  54. 54
    Jeffro says:

    Someone, in response to my posting Jennifer Rubin’s a.m. missive, said she might be on the road to impeachment…

    …she’s there: Trump’s Words Can Be The Basis for Impeachment

  55. 55
    Jeffro says:

    President Trump’s attack on NBC is now a sustained attack on the press and the concept of a free press. He declared in tin-pot-dictator rhetoric: “It is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.” That’s a direct repudiation of the First Amendment in the context of threats to pull NBC’s license. That’s not merely outrageous and indefensible; it is, I would argue, one of many instances in which Trump’s words reveal an inability to carry out his oath of office.

    Bob Bauer writes: “A president who is a demagogue, whose demagoguery defines his style of political leadership, is subject for that reason to impeachment.” That’s not as shocking as one might think

  56. 56
    Jeffro says:

    In and of themselves, Trump’s words might not be sufficient to justify impeachment. But when you combine them with his severe intellectual and temperamental limitations that require constant monitoring by a triumvirate of generals, and his attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation, there is little doubt that he is precisely the sort of person whom the Founding Fathers had in mind when they included the impeachment clause.

  57. 57
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Politically Lost: I work in Fremont, 60 miles away from the Santa Rosa fire and the sky is brown, and visibility is down to what seems like a mile because the smoke is so bad. This is just unbelivable.

  58. 58
    A Ghost to Most says:

    @Jeffro: Jen had three columns today, all keepers.

    She has much to atone for.

    Eta Here’s hoping all jackal dens are safe.

  59. 59
    Patricia Kayden says:

    We should all look so good when photographed from the rear!

    Many of us do. Why are you presuming otherwise? /s

  60. 60
    A Ghost to Most says:

    The House intelligence committee is looking at the data analysis company Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 presidential election, the Daily Beast reports.

    The data-mining and data analysis company is turning over documents to the committee as part of its investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. Steven Bannon, Donald Trump’s former campaign chief who became chief White House strategist, holds a stake in the company that’s valued between $1 million and $5 million; he also formerly served as vice president of the board.

    One source told the Daily Beast the committees’ probe of the company is “fruitful.”

    This should be illuminating

  61. 61
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Jeffro: Trump’s words and deeds can be a basis for impeachment only if Congress flips to Democratic control. Even now Nunes is trying to sabotage House inquiries into Russian interference so Republicans are never going to impeach one of their own.

  62. 62
    Aleta says:

    btw, re: the Ca fires
    The Sonoma Cty Humane Soc, Son. Cty Animal Services and other animal services in other places are doing amazing work around the clock right now. Treating animals for smoke and burns w/o charge, reuniting lost animals w/ their evacuated owners, giving free food and pet care to owners of animals, evacuating animals to shelter and foster care etc. My friend says that many people had to leave their homes within minutes and pets hid or ran away. Donations are being accepted for medical care and fire victims, and supply lists are up on Amazon.

  63. 63
  64. 64
    trollhattan says:

    @Jeffro: @A Ghost to Most:
    She doesn’t just go there, she goes there.

    I grant one carefully crafted golf clap, Jen Keep it up.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    bemused says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Nunes deserves jail time, the traitor.

  67. 67
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @marcopolo: I hope his Democratic opponent uses this lapse in moral judgment against him. Everything helps.

  68. 68
    no comment says:

    I’m a lurker, but a new commenter. My first comment is still awaiting moderation in the last thread. Could someone release it, please?

  69. 69
    trollhattan says:

    Turns out Mandalay Bay has opened the door a crack to victim lawsuits because both a security guard and maintenance man were shot at, and reported it via radio, before Paddock began firing on the crowd.

  70. 70
    Patricia Kayden says:


    That’s a direct repudiation of the First Amendment

    So where are all of the “free speech” activists on the Right to speak out against Trump’s blatant violation of the First Amendment? It’s funny how they’re so passionate about defending hate speech from Milo, Richard Spencer, Charles Murray and other racists but are silent when it comes to the most powerful politician in this country decrying a free press.

  71. 71
    trollhattan says:

    @Patricia Kayden:
    Never forget the 1st Amendment only exists in order to defend the 2nd.

  72. 72
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @trollhattan: And the 2nd is only defended if it is exercised by White folks. The NRA said not one word to defend Philando Castile, who was a legal Black gun owner.

  73. 73
    A Ghost to Most says:

    @trollhattan: Yep. Rubin has made a long journey back from Jenghazi, but the last mile still eludes her.

  74. 74
    Jeffro says:

    @Patricia Kayden: hey I am just relaying her words

  75. 75
    Jeffro says:

    @A Ghost to Most: It is kind of funny how she is now pro impeachment but still can’t bring herself to suggest that non-Trump Republicans switch to the Democratic Party

  76. 76
    Elizabelle says:

    @Jeffro: Yup. Democratic cooties. A bridge too far. But Jen has growth potential.

Comments are closed.