Saturday Cartoon Characters Open Thread: Bad Craziness

It’d be more entertaining if we knew for sure that the ending… well, that we’d be around to laugh about the clownishness of the current GOP Klown Kartel…

183 replies
  1. 1
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    Right on, Josh:

    Could a President who got spun up by Hannity and co to think this Memo was Mueller Kryptonite also be putty in the hands of foreign spies? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Yah think?

  2. 2
    Jeffro says:

    Trumpov is tweeting that he’s totally vindicated now.

    The Post has an insightful op-ed up that the Nunes memo is really designed to win over 34 Republican senators (or at least to give them enough cover to not vote to remove Trump when he is inevitably impeached )

  3. 3
    debbie says:

    The so-called "Nunes memo" is a combination of dime-store lawyering and elementary propaganda. It doesn't materially affect anything.— Richard M. Nixon (@dick_nixon) February 2, 2018

  4. 4
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Jeffro: Gaslighting on a massive scale. Kinda scary, but doesn’t seem to be as effective as they’re counting on so far…

  5. 5
    The Dangerman says:

    @Jeffro:

    ….tweeting that he’s totally vindicated now.

    1: Memo
    2: ???
    3: Vindication!

    I’m not sure I understand Step 2.

  6. 6
    WaterGirl says:

    I think the Dems should go public with a “release the memos” campaign. Immanentize mentioned other memos on the earlier thread. Release their internal memos about Benghazi. Release their internal memos about the tax bill. Ask for the release their private internal memos about one thing after another.

    Make the Republicans scared of the word MEMO.

  7. 7
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    The evil makes us angry, but it’s the stupid that makes us so tired.

    So stupidity as a tactic works?

  8. 8
    Boussinesque says:

    @The Dangerman:
    “2: Wear underpants on head.”

  9. 9
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Buried lede: Could a President who got spun up by Hannity and co to think this Memo was Mueller Kryptonite also be putty in the hands of foreign spies? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    lost in all the talk of the MEMO (I really wish we had sound effects so we could have the dramatic squirrel riff every time we talked about it) was the story that trump’s babbling about Israeli covert ops to the Russians was worse than previously reported. and that was just because he wanted to impress his new friends with how cool his new job was.

  10. 10
    JMG says:

    Trump is coasting on the fact that the GOP base fundamentally wants to worship the party’s leader because they are authoritarians at heart. The base would be just as demented in worshiping President Rubio or Christie had that happened. The base WANT him to fire Mueller and imprison Clinton and Obama without trial. He’s not the problem, they are. They are not a majority, but their fellow traveler Republicans make them the decisive force in our politics though opportunism and cowardice.

  11. 11
    Jeffro says:

    @The Dangerman: we thinking folks don’t get it…Republicans don’t need a step 2. Their sheer tribalism and hatred means they don’t need it one bit.

  12. 12
    WaterGirl says:

    @The Dangerman: I believe that Step 2 is typically called “and then a miracle occurs”.

  13. 13

    Yeah I am not all that convinced about the wonderfulness of Josh Marshall. His website was peddling R talking points about immigration, conflating legal permanent residents and citizens and the relatives they can sponsor. He has articles by John Judis scaremongering about “mass” immigration.

  14. 14
    Jeffro says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon: per the op-Ed I mentioned…if it gives 34+ gop senators enough cover to keep from removing Trumpov, it’ll have been plenty effective.

    Trumpov needs to fear being indicted after he leaves office, preferably on RICO charges. I think that’s the hammer Mueller will eventually swing.

  15. 15
    mai naem mobile says:

    This twitter feed guy has some.interesting stuff to say about Nunes. I dont know if he’s a Louise Mensch type nutjob or more legit. Whatever,interesting stuff.

    https://twitter.com/ToestringRd/status/959070827454062592

  16. 16
    Ohio Mom says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I don’t think you are the first person to wonder why John Judis is part of TPM.

  17. 17
    The Simp in the Suit says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    So stupidity as a tactic works?

    Toughest witness to cross examine is one who is truly stupid.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Step 2 is Emails!

  19. 19

    @Ohio Mom: How MSM bots deal with immigration and HRC are my two tests to determine whether I can trust their “analysis”.

  20. 20
    Roger Moore says:

    @The Dangerman:

    I’m not sure I understand Step 2.

    I think that’s the step when all his state propaganda network and the Russian bots tell his loyal supporters that he’s totally vindicated.

  21. 21
    Lapassionara says:

    The memo may have been used to divert us from the T advisor who was supposed to have suggested some sort of military action “to help us in the midterms.”

  22. 22
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Sure, they’d like to accomplish that – but this “memo” thing is flash-in-the-pan weak tea that even some Foxbots are having a hard time taking seriously. And the target is the FBI! I’m not seeing this one pan out for them so far, despite how much they would like us to believe it.

  23. 23
    Kelly says:

    @JMG: GOP base fundamentally wants to worship the party’s leader

    This is the part that makes me tired. They will still be around when Trump is gone and will want to worship the next R leader as well.

  24. 24
    Chip Daniels says:

    Whats sobering to me is witnessing the power of ethnic rage and cultural resentment to turn otherwise decent people into moral monsters, and otherwise intelligent people into drooling idiots.

    Trump’s, and his base’s, primary motivation all along is this mix of white rage and cultural resentment. Its the only thing they care about, the only thing that motivates them, and now it is turning them against law enforcement, the NFL, the tech industry, anything that challenges their petulant sulking.

  25. 25
    Gretchen says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Agreed about John Judis. And, I hope I’m not out of line asking this, but maybe you could offer me some advice. I am travelling to New York next weekend to meet my daughter’s fiance’s family. His parents are from India – Kerala. I thought it was just going to be mom and dad and sisters, but now it’s going to be grandma and aunts and uncles and cousins too. I realized that what I know about India you could put in a thimble. I don’t want to be the ignorant American when I meet them all. Is there a newspaper or website or book I could read to quickly study up so I don’t make a fool of myself?

  26. 26
    Ken says:

    @Boussinesque: He has people to make sure he doesn’t leave the residence like that.

  27. 27
    Marvel says:

    Wait! They WEREN’T just trying to protect sweet Mr. Page’s civil rights????!!!!!

    https://imgur.com/a/ZIswU

    Couldda knocked me over with a feather….

  28. 28
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @The Simp in the Suit: I have always lived my mostly law abiding life because I’m just stupid enough to get caught.

  29. 29
    Baud says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    Whats sobering to me is witnessing the power of ethnic rage and cultural resentment to turn otherwise decent people into moral monsters, and otherwise intelligent people into drooling idiots.

    One of the oldest tricks in human history.

  30. 30
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Gretchen: You will make more of a fool of yourself trying to crash course it. Best to go in blind and let them explain it in their own words, they’ll like that better.

  31. 31
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Chip Daniels: Whats sobering to me is witnessing the power of ethnic rage and cultural resentment

    I was surprised by the extent of the racism Obama’s election brought out– the Tea Bagger signs, the photo-shopped pictures, Birtherism– but it is incredibly depressing to see that all that was just the tip of the iceberg. The whitelash trump has unleashed is horrifying.

    Stephanie Ruhle had her trump-voting mother on a while back, and asked her what she thought of trump now. She wished he would stop tweeting, but she liked the way he handled the economy. She was the kind of well-groomed suburbanite who reminded me of a lot of my parents’ friends. As Jamelle Bouie put it, the type of white person who thinks racism is very bad manners, but doesn’t think about it much more than that. That kind of attitude is widely prevalent in the political media

  32. 32
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Judis is an idiot. Or just decades out of touch.

  33. 33
    Aimai says:

    @schrodingers_cat: he also ran the obama/farrakhan picture for a week without irony.

  34. 34
    Jeffro says:

    @Kelly: my worry is that a folksy Joni Ernst type ends up looking moderate and appealing by comparison to America’s worst president…aided by people who actually know what they’re doing…

  35. 35
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gretchen: I have found that the surest (only?) way of my not making a fool of myself is to STFU. YMMV.

  36. 36
    burnspbesq says:

    @Jeffro:

    Trumpov is tweeting that he’s totally vindicated now.

    That’s a view that probably isn’t shared by Mr. Mueller.

  37. 37
    Gretchen says:

    @NobodySpecial: That sounds like good advice. But I should know a lot more about India in general, just from an educated person perspective.

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

     she liked the way he handled the economy

    He ended economic anxiety.

  39. 39
    Ken says:

    @Gretchen: What NobodySpecial said. Plus, I expect there are pages on tvtropes exploring the tragicomic possibilities – like the scene where one character recites the carefully-memorized greeting, sees everyone freeze up, and is pulled aside by a friend who whispers “You just called his mother a rutabaga.”

  40. 40

    @Gretchen: You are not out of line at all. Just be yourself, you should be fine. I can see how meeting all those relatives all at once could be overwhelming.
    You can contact me at my bloggy email if you like
    manyworldsonecat at gmail.com. My family is not from Kerala, we are from Mumbai. My husband’s father grew up in Kerala. So I am not expert on it. If you have any questions, do ask and I will try to answer.
    The thing about India is that India is diverse, more than 30 languages are spoken here and you will find adherents of every religion in the world. Kerala is one of the prettiest states and they are quite progressive by Indian standards and lead in wellness statistics and other criteria like literacy, educational attainment etc. No one religion is dominant (1/3 Hindu, 1/3 Muslim and 1/3 Christian). Malyalam is the language of the state.
    CIA world factbook’s entry on India

    ETA: Oh and they do use coconut in a lot of recipes. Rice is a staple. I am sure most of future your in-laws can speak English.

  41. 41
    burnspbesq says:

    @Lapassionara

    The worst part about Pottinger’s alleged comment isn’t that he said it. The worst part is that it’s probably correct.

  42. 42
    Gretchen says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Also good advice. But I’m a very quiet person and awkward silences are my trademark. I have to rely on the other person to make conversation, and what if they don’t? Meeting lots of new people is scary.

  43. 43
    opiejeanne says:

    I’m still sick with that miserable cold and it’s morphed into another annoying form complete with croupy cough. Yesterday and the day before I was so out of it that I’ve only gotten vague impressions of the memo being a bust, and that the last page contradicts the first three? Is this right? The memo is another Nothing-Burger?

    The Yo Memo jokes are clever enough to set me off on a coughing jag so I try not to laugh out loud.

  44. 44
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Baud: He ended the WWC’s anxiety about their increasing irrelevance, but only for a little while..

  45. 45

    @Aimai: I missed that thankfully.

  46. 46
    Gretchen says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yes, the diversity of India is amazing. I guess I should concentrate on Kerala since that’s where they’re from. The pictures of it are beautiful. They’re Catholic, and so are we, so that makes things easier. I’m just sad that they’re firmly settled in the NY area, and won’t be moving back here. My children saw their grandparents twice a year because we lived far away, so they weren’t close. We can do better now with things like FaceTime, but it will still be different than my local grandchild, who I see every day. I know, borrowed trouble. They’re not even married yet.

  47. 47

    @Gretchen: If you like seafood, Keralite preparations are amazing.

  48. 48
    Amaranthine RBG says:

    Wait, didn’t Nunes pull some grandstanding stunt just a few months ago that destroyed his credibility.

    I tried googling it but couldn’t wad through the thousands of links to this LATEST stupidity.

    That’s the real probably with the firehose of stupidity, it just washes away all of the previous stupidness.

  49. 49
    germy says:

    We've endured a year of editorials telling former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to grab some crochet needles, sit down, and shut up.

    Meanwhile, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney gets ushered into a U.S. Senate seat, no questions asked.

    https://t.co/cXDEgVMqkc— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) February 3, 2018

  50. 50
    catclub says:

    @JMG:

    the GOP base fundamentally wants to worship the party’s leader because they are authoritarians at heart.

    Technically, authoritarian followers.

  51. 51
    Gretchen says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yes, the family speaks Malayalum. According to my daughter, dad understands English but seems insecure about speaking it so he understands what is said but answers simply or in Malayalum. Mom speaks both fluently. Kids speak both, but are more comfortable in English so usually answer parents in English. And of course they speak mostly English when my daughter is there. She has been looking for ways to learn the language, but Rosetta Stone doesn’t have it yet and she hasn’t been able to find any audio-based programs. They all seem to want to teach you the written language first, which she doesn’t really need.

  52. 52
    Baud says:

    Josh isn’t perfect, but unfortunately the state of our media is such that he’s probably the best we got.

  53. 53
    catclub says:

    @Amaranthine RBG:

    Wait, didn’t Nunes pull some grandstanding stunt just a few months ago that destroyed his credibility.

    yes, he collaborated with the White house on some evidence release, instead of remaining independent, then had to recuse himself from something,
    but obviously did not, just like Sessions.

  54. 54
    Baud says:

    @germy: It’s almost as if it were all bullshit.

  55. 55
    germy says:

    Harry Reid’s deputy chief of staff says Reid was interviewed by the NYT for the “no investigations into Trump” article, but because what Reid said was contrary to the article, his interview was discarded.

    Our liberal media!

  56. 56
    Baud says:

    @germy:

    Harry Reid’s deputy chief of staff says the NYT is garbage 

    More to the point

  57. 57
    Gretchen says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I do love seafood, but I’m a little apprehensive. My family is Irish, and used no spices. Literally, no spices at all. When I first met my husband, he used to tease me: “You won’t like this. It has taste.” Rachel tells me that her fiance’s favorite shrimp dish is so spicy it’s bright red. The cuisine does have a bonus, though. My daughter is celiac and can’t eat wheat, and they don’t use a lot of wheat, so she can eat most of what they like to cook. Like you say, rice, seafood, meat. She told her future m-in-law they might need to tone it down for me, but even toned down might be – can you tell I worry about things that haven’t happened yet?

  58. 58
    BC in Illinois says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    Whats sobering to me is witnessing the power of ethnic rage and cultural resentment to turn otherwise decent people into moral monsters, and otherwise intelligent people into drooling idiots.

    From Jamelle Bouie, at Slate

    The cohesion Trump espouses isn’t national or ideological. It is racial. The fight over immigration isn’t between two camps who value the contributions of immigrants and simply quibble over the mix and composition of entrants to the United States. It is between a camp that values immigrants and seeks to protect the broader American tradition of inclusion, and one that rejects this openness in favor of a darker legacy of exclusion.

    “A camp that values immigrants” vs “one that rejects this openness.” This is why it’s almost impossible to talk across the divide. I think of immigrants, and I think of Grandpa Weninger, from Hungary, speaking German. An American Family – – WW I, WW II, Vietnam, Iraq in the descendants; an extended family of factory workers, mathematicians, pastors, policemen, engineers, accountants, teachers, and more teachers – – a great story.

    How can I get that picture across to someone who sees immigrants as “NOT US–and therefore bad–period”?

    It’s finally not a discussion of an approach to immigration. We need a discussion –and more!– on racism.
    And the beginning of the resolution is to vote the nativists out. Then Define American to include all of us.

    But it’s hard to talk to people, if we don’t have a common view of the world, the nation, and people.

  59. 59
    WaterGirl says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I would swear that someone asked you the same or very similar question just last week. asking about meeting in-laws from a particular place in India.

    Am I experiencing déjà vu? Or is this a repeat of their question because they missed your answer? Or a second person asking something similar about meeting in-laws?

  60. 60
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Meanwhile, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney gets ushered into a U.S. Senate seat, no questions asked.

    that’s not true. I’m pretty sure he’s been asked if we’re really worthy of his return to public life, and if the magnificence of his furrowed brow will match the power of St McCain’s.

  61. 61
    germy says:

    Nixon White House attorney John Dean says Devin Nunes should be jailed for ‘betraying national security’

  62. 62
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gretchen: I’m exactly the same way. I have become quite comfortable with awkward silences and feel no need to fill them. Meeting lots of new people isn’t scary for me but I really have very little to say in such situations (the bigger the crowd the more noise and the less I am able to hear). Meeting the soon to be in-laws is difficult for anyone and I probably made them far more uncomfortable with my monosyllabic answers to their lame attempts at starting a conversation.

    Them: What do you do, Tom?
    Me: Whatever I want.
    Them: Hahahaha… No really, what do you do?
    Me: Carpenter.
    Them: Do you enjoy it:
    Me: Sometimes.
    Them: Does it pay well?
    Me: Yes.
    Them walking away.

    It’s not that I’m a horrible person (I am but that’s an entirely different matter) I just don’t know how to make conversation with people I don’t know and probably have nothing in common with.

  63. 63
    Kelly says:

    @Jeffro:

    folksy

    sure worked for Bush the lesser.

  64. 64
    germy says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I’m perfectly happy my taxes help pay for his wife’s horse therapy.

  65. 65

    @Gretchen: I find the Dravidian languages difficult to understand. My husband’s family speak Tamil. I can barely understand a few nouns here and there.
    Unlike the north Indian languages, language structure and pronunciation is very different.

  66. 66
    Joey Maloney says:

    @Ohio Mom: I’m so old I can remember wondering why John Judis was part of In These Times. (When it was a 16-page tabloid biweekly. Kids, ask your parents.)

  67. 67
    Baud says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    It’s not that I’m a horrible person (I am but that’s an entirely different matter) I just don’t know how to make conversation with people I don’t know and probably have nothing in common with.

    I’m right there with you.

  68. 68

    @WaterGirl: It was Gretchen, when I answered her, the thread was dead, so I don’t know if she saw it.

  69. 69
    germy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    What do you do, Tom?

    I’ve been told it’s considered unacceptably rude in other countries to ask people what they do for a living. For some reason in the U.S. it’s the first question out of a person’s mouth.

    I mean, if I asked someone “So, how much money do you make a year?” after being introduced, it would be met with shocked silence. But can’t someone’s salary be guessed after learning their occupation?

  70. 70
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Didn’t Meghan McCain actually tweet something at Chelsea Clinton about how no one wants to hear from the children of losing presidential candidates? Maybe we’re gonna find out one day that her life has been a long-running performance art piece mocking the self-satisfied lack of awareness of clueless trust fund babies.

  71. 71
    Gretchen says:

    @WaterGirl: It might have been me. I asked the question at the end of a dead thread, and then requested deletion because I thought it wouldn’t be seen. But maybe it didn’t get deleted.

  72. 72
    Kelly says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    type of white person who thinks racism is very bad manners

    For most of my life I have been mistaking this for an actual decline in bigotry and misogyny. Makes me tired to think that which remains is with us for generations.

  73. 73
    Chip Daniels says:

    @germy:
    Its a custom handed down from aristocracy that handling or speaking of money is vulgar, but not having it is unnacceptable.

  74. 74
    germy says:

    @Chip Daniels: There’s a great barbershop around the corner from my house. I’ve been going there for about a year. Great barbers.

    Last month I went and got a new guy. He apparently felled compelled to keep up a conversation with me while cutting my hair. No problem; I’ll talk about music or current events or whatever. But his idea of conversation was to ask me a series of questions, each more personal than the last. By the time he was done, I was expecting him to request my mother’s maiden name and my social security number.

  75. 75
    Joey Maloney says:

    @germy:

    I mean, if I asked someone “So, how much money do you make a year?” after being introduced, it would be met with shocked silence.

    Not an uncommon question in Israel. More common, when visiting someone’s home for the first time, is asking how much is the rent/mortgage, and then having a game of reverse one-upmanship on how you each can possibly afford to live indoors on your salary.

  76. 76
    Chip Daniels says:

    @BC in Illinois:

    But it’s hard to talk to people, if we don’t have a common view of the world, the nation, and people.

    This is why I am unmoved by appeals to “compromise!”.
    When the other position is that certain of us are lesser beings, unworthy of dignity, there is no acceptable middle ground.

    Dignity and equality is a binary, it either is or it isn’t.

  77. 77
    WaterGirl says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I’m not crazy. Yay for that!

  78. 78
    BellyCat says:

    @Gretchen: I’m not Indian, nor have I visited; however, a friend is from Kerala and it has the highest literary rate in the country. It’s a bit of a special place, educationally speaking, resulting in a fairly high level of creative inquiry in both the sciences and the arts, I’m told.

    Perhaps this might serve as a jumping off point in your inquiry and conversations?

  79. 79
    catclub says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: 1. Whatever and carpenter have three syllables.
    2. Those are stupid questions to ask. How about ‘What do you like about it?’ or ‘What got you started in it?’

  80. 80
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @germy: there’s a theory that people love to talk about themselves, so asking questions like that is a way to put them at ease. I guess it’s true of a lot of people– in ’08 I ran into a neighbor in the hardware store and he went into cheerful detail about how much his stock portfolio was down, we’re how ya doin’ acquaintances more than friends, and I know quite a bit about this life– but it’s certainly not true of me.

  81. 81
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @germy: My theory is that for many Americans work IS their life and they view the entire world thru that lens.

  82. 82
    Humdog says:

    @germy: I became aware of the rudeness of asking what one does for a living during the 2008 financial crisis. The question is seen as trying to peg class and status, couched in getting to know someone. But people are not their jobs, esp. in a recession when people take the jobs they can get. How embarrassing that q must be if one was recently laid off?
    Better q by far, even for introverts, is what do you do for fun or hobbies. Can still guess status if that is your gig but the q shouldn’t be as alienating.

  83. 83
    J R in WV says:

    @Gretchen:

    I’m currently in advanced planning stages of a trip that starts on March 1; tickets bought, rooms booked, now what do I do?

    Yesterday I took a nap and worried about luggage because we need to take a lot of equipment (diving gear, photo grear); when I slept I dreamed of being in a huge building, white marble, with ramps and maze like, searching for lost luggage. Sad.

  84. 84
    Waldo says:

    @Jeffro:

    Trumpov is tweeting that he’s totally vindicated now.

    He’d claim vindication if Nunes’ memo consisted of four random pages from Tom Clancy and a dry-cleaning receipt.

  85. 85
    Gretchen says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Rachel says Dad is very quiet. One of the few times he has asserted himself was when he insisted that his son needed to buy a really nice engagement ring. So I like him already for looking out for my girl.

  86. 86
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gretchen: I thought SC’s reference to Europe last week was good, so I just did a search on the place you mentioned in India. This is what she posted:

    schrodingers_cat
    January 27, 2018 at 6:50 pm
    @Gretchen: What would you like to know? My husband’s father came to Mumbai from Kerala. They are Tamil speakers from Kerala. You can contact me at my bloggy email if you like.

    ETA: Each Indian state has its own language and there is quite a bit of variation in the culture and customs. Think of it like what Europe would be if it were one country.

  87. 87
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @germy: I really dislike chatty barbers. It doesn’t take them long to figure it out either.

  88. 88
    Baud says:

    @Waldo: That would have been more credible than what they did release.

  89. 89
    catclub says:

    @Humdog:

    is what do you do for fun or hobbies

    of course, when someone asks what do you do, you can answer what you do for fun and hobbies. If they ask again, amateur gynecologist is likely the next answer. International spy, Captain Kangaroo body double…

  90. 90
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Waldo: LOL 😂

  91. 91
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @catclub:

    1. Whatever and carpenter have three syllables.

    Fucking pedant. ;-)

    2. Those are stupid questions to ask. How about ‘What do you like about it?’ or ‘What got you started in it?’

    1: Nothing
    2: Money.

    The truth is I am my least favorite topic of conversation.

  92. 92
    Baud says:

    @Humdog:
    @catclub:

    of course, when someone asks what do you do, you can answer what you do for fun and hobbies. If they ask again, amateur gynecologist is likely the next answer. International spy, Captain Kangaroo body double…

    Just don’t say Juicer.

  93. 93
    Chris says:

    @Jeffro:

    The Post has an insightful op-ed up that the Nunes memo is really designed to win over 34 Republican senators (or at least to give them enough cover to not vote to remove Trump when he is inevitably impeached )

    This.

    It’s just theater: they need to have a Memo out there, so that Fox News and all the other channels can say “there is now a Memo out there, that proves the FBI is a communist plot.” It’s there for cover.

  94. 94
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: @Waldo: Maybe someone needs to get that started as a meme. State posting ridiculous things just like the tom clancy pages and the cleaning receipt. That could be fun, and mockery is good.

  95. 95
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Chris: Respectable Moderate David Brooks and erstwhile NeverTrumper Hugh Hewitt are both deeply concerned about the partisanship of the Steele dossier. I think Brooks actually used the word “sleazy” on NPR last night when I couldn’t get to the radio fast enough to avoid his sanctimonious mewling. Among all the other flaws in this argument, they’re arguing that a British citizen and national security (his nation) expert is a partisan Democrat.

    ETA: Also, too, not nearly enough Dems are linking the “salacious aspects” of the dossier to the Stormy Daniels story. trump pays people off to keep his sex life quiet.

    Still amazes me that the only sex we can talk about, in twenty fucking eighteen, is Bill Clinton’s.

  96. 96
    Gretchen says:

    @WaterGirl: that’s a really good analogy. That helps. I don’t feel so dumb not knowing everything about a continent as about a country.

  97. 97
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud:

    Just don’t say Juicer.

    Or “I hang out at the BJ blog”.

  98. 98
    The Simp in the Suit says:

    @Humdog:

    I became aware of the rudeness of asking what one does for a living during the 2008 financial crisis. The question is seen as trying to peg class and status, couched in getting to know someone.

    OTOH, as others have pointed out, many people do define themselves as what they do for a living. Given what “the American Dream” is supposed to be all about, since we all magically only take employment that innately interests us (right?), then asking someone in the US “what do you do for a living?” may be akin to asking someone “what interests you enough to spend 8-16 hours of the day for 5-7 days of the week doing?”

    Apparently a lot of us, as we age, are very interested in greeting people at Walmart…

  99. 99
    opiejeanne says:

    @WaterGirl: I like that idea.

    I saw a tweet that mentioned that this is cover for Paul Ryan’s next attempt to “reform” welfare, i.e. take away Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security. I can’t remember if it said it’s a bill that’s being written now or not. Cough syrup has addled my brains.

  100. 100
    Jeffro says:

    @Chris: For folks who are interested, here is the Post op-ed: The Nunes Memo Wasn’t Meant to Win Over Everyone – Just 34 Senators

    Great insight from Max Boot:

    ,,,The Nunes memo is only the latest failed attempt to find evidence of anti-Trump bias at the FBI. A few weeks ago, Trump’s supporters latched onto a few critical text messages about the president written by agent Peter Strzok. Trump even said the texts were evidence of “treason.” It turns out, according to the Wall Street Journal, “Texts critical of Mr. Trump represent a fraction of the roughly 7,000 messages, which stretch across 384 pages and show no evidence of a conspiracy against Mr. Trump.” Far from being an anti-Trump conspirator, Strzok wrote the initial draft of the October 2016 Comey letter that helped sink the Clinton campaign.

    None of this remotely supports the hyperbolic demands of Trump supporters who want the leaders of the Justice Department and FBI to be “taken out in cuffs.” If anyone is breaking the law here, it’s Trump with his attempted obstruction of justice.

    But, specious as the attack on the FBI might be, there is good cause to fear that it is resonating with the only audience that matters to Trump. If special counsel Robert S. Mueller III delivers a scathing report on the president and if Democrats win the House in November, it’s almost certain the House will vote to impeach. But it takes 67 votes in the Senate to remove a president.

    The case against the FBI that’s being assembled by Trump and his minions is not designed to convince dispassionate observers. It’s only supposed to give the thinnest of cover to true believers — and at least 34 senators — to do what they are predisposed to do anyway, i.e., protect the president at all costs.

    The Nunes memo is a modern-day version of the jury nullification that O.J. Simpson’s legal team sought to inspire. (I’m grateful to Eric Felten of the Weekly Standard for the analogy.) Johnnie Cochran and company spun an elaborate conspiracy theory about how the Los Angeles Police Department supposedly framed their client. They were helped by minor procedural errors in the handling of evidence and by previous racist remarks from one of the detectives, just as Trump is helped by minor FBI missteps such as the Strzok texts and the alleged failure to alert a judge about Steele’s Democratic Party funding.

  101. 101
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gretchen: Putting myself in your shoes…I figured it would at least keep me from sounding like a person from Australia saying, oh, you’re from the US, do you know Ralph Jones from California? When you life in New York.

  102. 102
    Suzanne says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t think it’s weird to ask about how people occupy most of their time. It’s not really about money. I mean, what else would you possibly talk about with someone? However, Mr. Suzanne and I have taken to phrasing it, “What keeps you busy lately?” rather than “What do you do?” so it has less financial connotations to the question.

  103. 103
    opiejeanne says:

    @The Simp in the Suit: My husband wanted to work in the parking garage at Disneyland when he retired. It was two miles away and seemed like a fun littte job* to him, but as soon as he retired we put the house on the market and moved to Seattle.

    *He’s a retired Civil Engineer and that parking garage in Anaheim is a marvel.

  104. 104
    trollhattan says:

    @germy:
    It may have been a “free” initial $cientology audit. Check your bank account for unauthorized withdrawals.

  105. 105
    Brachiator says:

    @Jeffro:

    Trumpov is tweeting that he’s totally vindicated now.

    True dat. Trump is a simple man and his base are equally simple folk. He wanted something tangible to point to to “prove” that he has been maligned, and Nunes has given him that.

    Trump will use the Sunday pundit shows to consolidate his position, using his surrogates and Nunes to drive home his defense. Adding to the standard lies about fake news, you now have a new counter conspiracy involving disloyal elements in the FBI and the Democrats.

    The Post has an insightful op-ed up that the Nunes memo is really designed to win over 34 Republican senators (or at least to give them enough cover to not vote to remove Trump when he is inevitably impeached )

    Impeachment is not an inevitability. The Democrats need to win the House and then the leadership has to convince the Dems to vote for impeachment even though everyone knows that the Republicans in the Senate would never vote to convict based on what we know now.

    Also I expect Trump to pivot and use what Nunes has given him to make another run at Mueller.

    And then the question is whether Trump will seek to purge the FBI leadership, and the degree to which the GOP will go along with this.

  106. 106
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @opiejeanne: I saw a tweet that mentioned that this is cover for Paul Ryan’s next attempt to “reform” welfare, i.e. take away Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security.

    My own theory of Ryan is that this is less cowardice than the belief he can hold the House through a combination of gerrymandering, Koch/Mercer money and the sugar high of the tax cut, then get to the real work of undoing the social safety net before 2020. I think this is what I, as certified rando on the internets, think the Dems should be running on

  107. 107
    Bill Arnold says:

    @mai naem mobile:

    This twitter feed guy has some.interesting stuff to say about Nunes.

    Interesting material, and much of it well-crafted. (Not sure about gender though.) Still twitchily parsing it (for agenda and etc), but it’s fun. Also it feels a bit like a playful pastice of RWNJ conspiracy theories.

  108. 108
    germy says:

    @Humdog:

    I became aware of the rudeness of asking what one does for a living during the 2008 financial crisis. The question is seen as trying to peg class and status, couched in getting to know someone.

    Exactly.

  109. 109
    WaterGirl says:

    @Suzanne: Along those lines, I like “What do you like to do for fun?”

    OT, last I heard you had received a counter offer and had turned it down? Is there any more news on the job front?

    (My first inclination was to write: “Was that the end of it? Do you have a last day coming up?” But those are just the kind of closed-ended questions we have been disparaging here!

  110. 110
    Faithful Lurker says:

    I live on the Olympic Peninsula in NW Washington state. We came here after 30 years in the midwest and a deep south childhood. At first, the standard question was what do you do and I quickly came to see that that was an extremely rude question in this area, at least to the natives. Earning a living here is an iffy proposition and people do whatever they have to do and would rather not talk about it.

  111. 111
    trollhattan says:

    @Suzanne:
    A handy aphorism for me is that since we are human beings not human doings, “what do you do?” doesn’t reveal much about a person besides what pays their bills. Some folks have intrinsically interesting occupations (e.g., as you know George Costanza “always wanted to pretend to be an architect”) but 90% of jerbs aren’t especially interesting or life-affirming.

  112. 112
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @Jeffro: If it’s only supposed to give the thinnest of cover to true believers, then if not this “memo” shit it would be something else. The fact that this was the best they could come up with doesn’t bode well for them. Gonna be harder and harder to keèp the wagons circled as indictments continue to drop.

  113. 113
    Davebo says:

    “When you’re attacking FBI agents because you’re under criminal investigation, you’re losing,”

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in 2016.

  114. 114
    BC in Illinois says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    Dignity and equality is a binary, it either is or it isn’t.

    There was an article somewhere recently, that pointed out that there are people who are [or at least speak] in favor of freedom and democracy and justice for people here, but who really couldn’t care less whether there was freedom, democracy, or justice for anyone else around the world. It’ll never work. Either dignity and equality are fundamental values–and therefore apply to everyone–or they are merely talking points.

    “If you’re not going to stand up for everybody, then why should ANYbody listen to you?”
    Simone Weil (?)

  115. 115
    Suzanne says:

    @WaterGirl: I turned down the counter. Start at the new place on February 26. I will miss my colleagues very much. But I’m excited for a new adventure.

  116. 116
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Suzanne: Agreed. If somebody asked me how much money I make I’d probably say something like “More than you.”

  117. 117
    Lyrebird says:

    @Gretchen: Even if you don’t like seafood, if you live anywhere close to a *South* Indian restaurant, you would probably spread some happiness by going there and saying, hey, I need to learn more about the food of Kerala, what should I order?

    I know that food is not the same as history, culture, etc, but imho it’s a safe ice breaker topic in lots of cultures. “I had my first dosa last week, it was delicious!”

    YMMV

  118. 118
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Davebo: some WH correspondent has thrown that back at her and I just missed it, right?

  119. 119
    bemused senior says:

    @Roger Moore: and step three is,of course, profit !!!!

  120. 120
    Bill Arnold says:

    ToestringRd linked this, which is interesting if true:
    Justice Department May Have Something Big in the Works: Over 9,000 Sealed Indictments (Note month old: January 1, 2018)

    As of Dec. 22, 2017, there were 9,294 sealed indictments, according to data collected by researchers and gathered from the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service of the federal judiciary. This includes 1,224 in the central district of California, which includes Los Angeles; 194 in Washington; and 248 in the southern district of New York.
    The number of indictments filed in less than three months is in stark contrast to previous years. According to a 2009 report from the Federal Judicial Center, in all of 2006, there were only 1,077 sealed indictments, and these were about 0.96 percent of all criminal cases that year.

    Only two datapoints (all of 2006 vs 3 months of 2017) so the shape of the trend line is unknown (from this information).
    Note that the article speculates that this might be related to a very large human trafficking case.

  121. 121
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @WaterGirl:

    “What do you like to do for fun?”

    Sleep.

  122. 122
    germy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: There are barbershops I had to stop visiting because the barber took offense after I refused to engage in small talk (about my personal life).

    I remember an old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. Calvin is super polite to his barber, then says “Never argue with a guy with a razor in his hand.”

  123. 123
    opiejeanne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Do you think there is a real chance of unseating Ryan? I can’t remember who’s running against him or who we like in the race.

    I think I’m going to drag my sorry carcass to Urgent Care and ask for a refill of the prescription cough syrup. It stops the coughing and makes me sleep, which is a good thing, but it really does leave me feeling scrambled when I wake up.

  124. 124
    Suzanne says:

    I struggle with opening questions. Can’t ask about kids….they could be infertile or lost a child or had a miscarriage or their kids are a sensitive subject for some reason or they might just hate kids. Travel has the same class connotations. Pets…..runs the risk of asking about a recent pet loss, or they just might not like animals, and then I hate those people. I DGAF about sports and don’t want to talk about them. I don’t see a lot of movies. And the hobbies that I have are relatively obscure.

    So “What keeps you busy?” is really the best I can do.

  125. 125
    Brachiator says:

    @Jeffro:

    The Nunes memo is a modern-day version of the jury nullification that O.J. Simpson’s legal team sought to inspire.

    Johnnie Cochran and company spun an elaborate conspiracy theory about how the Los Angeles Police Department supposedly framed their client. They were helped by minor procedural errors in the handling of evidence and by previous racist remarks from one of the detectives.

    Bullshit. The claim of “jury nullification” is particularly odious. And a flat out lie.

    And bullshit analogy.

    Right now, Nunes and Trump are acting purely politically. There is not yet a criminal case that they are attempting to subvert or defend against. Of course, impeachment, which we may be looking at down the road, is as much political as it is about criminal acts.

  126. 126
    opiejeanne says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was very tempted to say that to a tire salesman at Sears when we were in our 20s and he sneered at us when he asked my husband how much he made. I didn’t but I was so damned mad it took a while for me to calm down.

  127. 127
    germy says:

    @Suzanne:

    So “What keeps you busy?” is really the best I can do.

    How about “What keeps you awake at night?”

  128. 128
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @opiejeanne: @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Do you think there is a real chance of unseating Ryan? I can’t remember who’s running against him or who we like in the race.

    The Iron Stache! I don’t know if Ryan can be beat, but I think we can make him sweat.

    (hope you feel better soon)

  129. 129
    germy says:

    @opiejeanne: I had a car salesman ask me what my wife did for a living. I wanted to say “none of your fucking business” but I just stared at him.

  130. 130
    Suzanne says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I run into the opposite issue…..if people ask what I do and I say I’m an architect, they automatically assume that I’m loaded and drive a luxury car and golf. They don’t realize that we are certainly financially comfortable but certainly not in the doctor/lawyer/banker strata, and that most of us needed to take out a stack of student loans to get there anyway.

  131. 131
    Gretchen says:

    @opiejeanne: IronStache is running against him and is a great candidate. He has terrific ads iut.

  132. 132
    Suzanne says:

    @germy: That’s usually far more personal than I want to get with most people! LOL.

  133. 133
  134. 134
    Jeffro says:

    @Brachiator: o-k

    It sure looks to me like they are prepping the battlefield

  135. 135
  136. 136
    opiejeanne says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: That’s the guy! And thanks. Tomorrow makes it six weeks.

  137. 137
    Brachiator says:

    @germy:

    There are barbershops I had to stop visiting because the barber took offense after I refused to engage in small talk (about my personal life).

    I’m not big on chatting with barbers either, even though most barbershops I’ve gone to in the past have been super social. Most people know each other and conversation is just part of the atmosphere.

    But persistent personal questions, no, I would not put up with that.

    The only thing worse was a situation in which a new barber insisted on talking about his personal life. I tried not to respond or engage, but put up with it just to get on with the haircut.

  138. 138
    Gretchen says:

    @Lyrebird: good idea!

  139. 139
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @germy: Insomnia.

  140. 140
    WaterGirl says:

    @Formerly disgruntled in Oregon:

    The fact that this was the best they could come up with doesn’t bode well for them. Gonna be harder and harder to keèp the wagons circled as indictments continue to drop.

    Nice to read an encouraging take on this!

  141. 141
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Suzanne: Oh…. You are one of them. ;-)

  142. 142
    germy says:

    @Brachiator:

    But persistent personal questions, no, I would not put up with that.

    The only thing worse was a situation in which a new barber insisted on talking about his personal life.

    I’d prefer the barber rattled on about his own life, rather than asking me detailed, pointed questions about my own life.

    Actually, the best experience I ever had was in a mall barbershop where the barber was pissed his boss took him off his break to cut my hair. (the two other lady stylists were sitting and chatting with each other.)

    He gave me a great haircut, but didn’t say a word.

  143. 143
    WaterGirl says:

    @Suzanne: That sounds perfect! Were you able to have a week or two in between, not working at either place? It’s not always possible, but I try to do that so I can relax a little bit and clear my mind before starting the new exciting thing.

    Kind of like having that day at home after a vacation rather than getting home and then going to work in the morning,

  144. 144
    Suzanne says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh yes, I am definitely one of THEM.

    I am very excited. My new potter’s wheel should be arriving shortly.

  145. 145
    Brachiator says:

    @Jeffro:

    It sure looks to me like they are prepping the battlefield

    The Republicans will back Trump to the bitter end. I guess the Nunes memo is extra sauce, but it is not needed to rally GOP Senators. They learned their lesson with Nixon and will not let Trump fall.

    The Nunes memo appeals to Trump’s immediate desire to have something tangible to tweet about, and to use as a club against the FBI and the Democrats.

    Also, depressingly I listened to a couple of local talk radio hosts fall for or use the talking point claim that the FISA warrant would never had been issued had the judge known that it was based on the Democrats opposition research. This is of course a lie, but this is how it is being framed for public consumption.

  146. 146
    WaterGirl says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That’s good for a laugh! Bonus: it’s true.

  147. 147
    WaterGirl says:

    @germy:

    How about “What keeps you awake at night?”

    Pair that with “What do you like to do for fun?” and it might actually tell you a lot about a person.

  148. 148
    Suzanne says:

    @WaterGirl: I told them that I would stay until the Friday before if they needed me to, because they are short-handed on PMs, but I don’t think I’ll need to stay that long. It would be nice to have a couple of days to sleep in and relax.

  149. 149
    bemused says:

    @Ken:

    Or “Smell my belly button” in Finnish as someone after downing a few beers years ago said to some relatives visiting from Finland. Thank goodness the visitors didn’t hear it. The guy knew only a few Finnish phrases and had no idea what he was saying.

  150. 150
    rikyrah says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    they were never decent people

  151. 151
    Chris says:

    @Jeffro:

    I generally agree – I just think you got it right earlier when you said that it wasn’t “win over” so much as “provide cover for” 34 senators. Those people don’t need to be “won over.” They’ve been carrying water for Donald Trump, saying that whatever comes up on him just isn’t enough, and expressing concern about the rumors at the FBI, for months now. They want to clear him regardless of the facts. The memo is just there as a flimsy excuse to help them do that.

  152. 152
    Brachiator says:

    @germy:

    I’d prefer the barber rattled on about his own life, rather than asking me detailed, pointed questions about my own life.

    Yeah, I know what you mean.

    But as you suggest, a barber who doesn’t talk at all might be the ideal.

    And even though I generally like social barbershops where there is a lot of social and political conversation going on, I usually prefer to just listen rather than to participate in the discussion.

  153. 153
    bemused senior says:

    @Gretchen: Probably you have already looked at “learnmalayalam.com” — audio, and beginner lessons seem to be free.

  154. 154
    No One You Know says:

    @Jeffro: I’m starting to feel as if I’m a spectator for my own democracy. Press ops and news audiences appear to be rich guys and politicos only. Stephen Miller’s “audience of one,” the Nunes memo for 34 Republicans, and whatever comes next. Whoever wrote that the US is an oligarchy, not a democracy, may have gotten it right.

  155. 155
    Brachiator says:

    @Jeffro:

    Trumpov needs to fear being indicted after he leaves office, preferably on RICO charges. I think that’s the hammer Mueller will eventually swing.

    Could Mueller do that? Does he have a date or time frame when he has to include an investigation? Would you need a special prosecutor to investigate Trump once he becomes an ordinary civilian again?

    BTW, I wonder if Trump wants to shut down the investigation because he doesn’t want anyone looking over his shoulder while he plots future crimes.

  156. 156
    Gretchen says:

    @bemused senior: I haven’t. Thank you!

  157. 157
    Brachiator says:

    @No One You Know:

    I’m starting to feel as if I’m a spectator for my own democracy. Press ops and news audiences appear to be rich guys and politicos only.

    Very interesting observation! I think I may have felt something like that when I read this Twitter comment displayed in the opening comments.

    This conspiracy is so incredibly stupid that you actually feel stupid explaining it to people.

    It’s as though sophisticated pundits are so above it all that they can just laugh at Trump and not consider the actual damage he is causing or the people he is hurting.

  158. 158
    catclub says:

    @germy: remember the questions game in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead?
    Answer with a question: “why do you need to know?”

  159. 159
    catclub says:

    @WaterGirl:

    How about “What keeps you awake at night?”

    Pair that with “What do you like to do for fun?” and it might actually tell you a lot about a person

    Love is…. staying up all night with a sick child… or a healthy adult.

  160. 160
    Tenar Arha says:

    @Gretchen: Probably just file this under future tips for long distance families 😉

    My cousin in Syracuse had collages of the extended Boston and NYC area families on the fridge along with the magnetic letters & numbers, & she taught her kids to know the family that way. That way when we visited her/they visited us they weren’t uncomfortable or afraid. (And that was basically before Facetiming became common).

  161. 161
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @No One You Know: With me it’s more like someone invited me to some meeting of some wacky cult and and the members are there doing some bizarre ceremony that sounds like it was written by some stoner with dementia and the cult member who invited me is saying “Isn’t this incredible” to me over and over again. Way to much of this isn’t not just inside the click but you have to initiated some some secret mythology to even understand it.

  162. 162
    Gelfling 545 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: For much the same reason I don’t lie beyond the oh, yes, you look fine kind; not out of any particular virtue but because I suck at it.

  163. 163
    Shana says:

    @Lapassionara: My former congressman, Tom Davis (R) of Virginia, who saw the writing on the wall in 2010 and retired, was recently interviewed by The Hill and he said a good Election Night for the GOP would be losing 12 seats in the House. A bad Election Night for the GOP would be losing 40 seats. The author of the article says his opinion is that they could lose more than 40 seats.

  164. 164
    Jeffro says:

    @Shana: At this point, they almost have to know they’re going to lose the House…ok, so…let’s game this out a bit…

    – GOP knows they’re going to lose the House and possibly, but not likely, to lose the Senate.
    – Let’s assume the Nunes memo gives 34+ GOP senators enough ‘cover’ to keep Trumpov in office…
    – …but by 2020, he is way, way damaged goods and likely to be way behind for re-relection.
    – (also in 2020: Senate electoral map might be even more favorable for Dems…have to check)

    Does he “declare victory and go home”, i.e., not run again, as he’s done everything he promised he would do? Wouldn’t the GOP candidates then be faced with either publicly embracing Trumpov or distancing themselves from him? Wouldn’t they be asked, “If you win the presidency, will you pardon Trumpov like Ford pardoned Nixon”?

  165. 165
    catclub says:

    they almost have to know they’re going to lose the House

    chickens, eggs, hatched.

    Wouldn’t they be asked, “If you win the presidency, will you pardon Trumpov like Ford pardoned Nixon”?

    By which liberal media? in other words, NO. they wouldn’t be asked this.@Jeffro:

  166. 166
    Mike in Pasadena says:

    @Gretchen: try to learn simple stuff like hello, please, thank you, etc. Most people appreciate the effort if you are even a little close to saying it correctly. But you probably know that as you have met non english speakers who have made the same effort? I know, this is probably a dead thread. I am catching up on threads.

  167. 167
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gelfling 545: I, too, am a terrible liar. Years ago I was house hunting for myself and my friend Pat. I liked the house and then the guy made a comment about how he won’t rent to two females “because they always need someone to come and change the lightbulbs”, which I thought was sexist and all kinds of wrong.

    So I did nothing to disabuse him of his assumption that Pat was a male, and I signed the lease. Even though I thought he was dead wrong, the lie really weighed on me so I called and fessed up. I don’t even recall how he took the news, but he didn’t kick us out. So I couldn’t even lie to an asshole that was surely illegally discriminating against women.

    I can, however, lie with the best of them if I am not doing anything wrong – for surprise parties and other happy things.

  168. 168
    J R in WV says:

    @Suzanne:

    Being interested in building things, and having used several different techniques to build wildly varying structures in completely different climates, I would love to make small talk about insulation and envelopes, problems with waterproofing, and ventilation of wall interiors, etc. But maybe that’s too much shop talk for you.

    Counter tops? Cast in place concrete versus granite? Radioactivity in common building products? Rubber roofing versus metal? Friends have a large straw-bale house near us in SE AZ with copper-clad structural insulated panels for the roof, off-set to allow for clerestory windows.

    When it Thunder-storms the sound of weather hitting the top on the panels is transmitted perfectly to the bottom of the panels, much to my surprise. I had thought the foam would have dampened the noise quite a bit. It was like being inside a jazz drummer’s snare drum during and extended solo. Terrified the dogs! Could have been hail I suppose, but the rain was pretty noisy too, before we went to bed. Went on all night off and on.

    Just chatting here, no offense…

  169. 169
    Jeffro says:

    @catclub: ?? The mainstream media’s been doing a pretty good job…I can easily see them asking that question re: pardoning Trumpov

  170. 170
    Tom Q says:

    @Jeffro: “(also in 2020: Senate electoral map might be even more favorable for Dems…have to check)”

    No need to check: 2020 offers WAY more pick-up opportunities for Dems. As does 2022. In fact, the bad luck of the draw is that 2018 is the only one of the three Senate cycles that DOESN’T offer Dems the chance to conceivably flip double-digit seats in a true wave. (This because Dems gained seats in 2000/2006 and 2012, pretty much maxing them out on the class of ’19.)

  171. 171
    Tom Q says:

    TOO LATE TO EDIT: Should have ended “class of ’18.)”

  172. 172
    catclub says:

    @Brachiator:

    Johnnie Cochran and company spun an elaborate conspiracy theory about how the Los Angeles Police Department supposedly framed their client.

    I Agree with your ‘bullshit’ characterization.

    Not so elaborate when you learn about throw-down guns that every cop carries. and all the other things

  173. 173
    Dan B says:

    @Gretchen
    I spoke with my wonderful friends from India yesterday. We traveled to India together, including Kerala, years ago.

    They recommended Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things’ (I hope I got the title right, lost my notes). Mentioning that you’d even started reading it would be a great conversation starter. It’s got a ‘viewpoint’ so there will be opinions a plenty.

    The other one is a BBC series by Michael Woods on India. One part if the series is on Kerala.

    Another conversation starter would be telling them how and why you started asking around on your favorite blog(s) about India and Kerala. Hearing from yiu that you’re interested would be greatly encouraging.

    I’ve been to many events here and in India. Without fail I’ve felt welcomed into the family/community. They’re adept at the dynamics of extended family. I’m also an introvert afraid of big crowds and new people. Maybe it’s kick but I’ve never been uncomfortable, not has my truly agorophobic partner.

    Also, do surf the web. You’ve got much to learn about Indian weddings. There’s also thousands of years of culture and history, especially about ‘communist Kerala.

    My friends visited a small church in Kerala some years back. There was a small plaque on the floor marking the spot where Casco Dr Gama had died. The world traders of Kerala were not overly impressed. They knew he’d come from another seafaring country in Europe. When they visited Portugal there was a huge cathedral devoted to de Gama. Kerala discovered the world long before Portugal.

    Have fun. Too few Americans get to have a meaningful connection with such a vibrant culture.

  174. 174
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    @Gretchen: the surest way to make a fool of yourself is to try to appear informed about a topic you know almost nothing about. The greatest compliment you can give someone from a culture you’re unfamiliar with is to listen respectfully while they tell you about it.

  175. 175
    Brachiator says:

    @Jeffro:

    At this point, they almost have to know they’re going to lose the House…ok, so…let’s game this out a bit…

    – GOP knows they’re going to lose the House and possibly, but not likely, to lose the Senate.

    This is interesting. I don’t know that it is likely that the GOP will lose the House. Dissatisfaction with Trump does not necessarily translate into equivalent dissatisfaction with elected Representatives. The money men are going to work hard to preserve their gains. And let’s look to see what kind of people are selected to run for seats of retiring House members.

    – …but by 2020, he is way, way damaged goods and likely to be way behind for re-relection….

    Does he “declare victory and go home”, i.e., not run again, as he’s done everything he promised he would do?

    Trump is going to run again. Being president is the ultimate ego boost. Plus he is not done looting the government.

    Wouldn’t the GOP candidates then be faced with either publicly embracing Trumpov or distancing themselves from him?

    The GOP has always embraced Trump and always will.

  176. 176
    Bill Arnold says:

    This is just great. The administration is expected to fully defund US defenses abroad against nanoscale (and microscale) self-replicators, so spending with remaining funds is being cut by 80%. Now we’ll have to fight them at home, with a significantly increased probability of large scale American casualties.
    Seriously, this particular appallingly stupid mis-allocation of our Federal taxes is pissing me off.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) dwindling pot of money aimed at fighting infectious-disease epidemics like Ebola will run out this year, and the agency doesn’t anticipate new dedicated funds. So the CDC is scaling back epidemic prevention work in 39 countries, and this has experts, including a United Nations Dispatch on Friday, saying “you should be freaking out.”

    The funds will exhaust in 2019, and the agency doesn’t expect the Trump administration to dedicate additional budgetary resources. So last month, CDC began notifying staffers abroad to downsize activities, the Wall Street Journal first reported. On Thursday, Washington Post reported notices are now being issued to country directors.

  177. 177
    Brachiator says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    This is just great. The administration is expected to fully defund US defenses abroad against nanoscale (and microscale) self-replicators, so spending with remaining funds is being cut by 80%.

    Apparently Trump believes that he can build a wall and keep disease out.

  178. 178
    Timurid says:

    @Dan B:

    Arundhati Roy’s ‘The God of Small Things’

    If they read that they may never want to get anywhere near Kerala. Very well written but very dark and depressing… like a combination of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘A Separate Peace’ told from a much more pessimistic perspective. (SPOILERS) It’s about a group of kids who, in the space of weekend, cause the accidental death of one friend and witness the (caste motivated) murder of another friend… and who never recover, remaining messed up and dysfunctional their entire adult lives. Once you’ve finished reading it, you can cheer yourself up with something light like ‘Valley of the Dolls’ or ‘The Road.’

  179. 179
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Brachiator:

    Apparently Trump believes that he can build a wall and keep disease out.

    Donald J. Trump is a known germophobe. Remember his misinformed (but arguably well-intentioned) statements about Ebola?
    The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences! (August 1 2014)
    So he might not even know about this defunding. (i.e. probably does not know.)

  180. 180
    WaterGirl says:

    @Bill Arnold: That’s so depressing that I hardly know what to say. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  181. 181
    Brachiator says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    Remember his misinformed (but arguably well-intentioned) statements about Ebola?
    The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences! (August 1 2014)

    This is consistent with his vision of America. He offers simpleminded solutions for protecting America, which mainly involves identifying shithole countries and keeping unworthy and dangerous people out.

  182. 182
    Bill Arnold says:

    @WaterGirl:
    (Sorry.)
    Maybe it’s not stupid, rather it’s deliberately increasing the likelihood of an excuse to completely close US border ingress. Bunglers that they are, an outbreak would therefore start while Trump and most of his cabinet are on an extended trip abroad, and in the interest of National Security Trump would declare on Twitter that he and his team could not return home. Then an alt plan would be developed, and they would return to an abandoned US airbase, and the temporary White House would be MREs eaten in temporary airdropped structures, using cellphones and generators. Others with recent military experience would be able to better fill in the details. (Adam and Cheryl are no doubt carefully reading the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review Final Report.)

  183. 183
    WaterGirl says:

    @Bill Arnold: It wasn’t enough to depress me? You want me to be rocking in the corner?
    :-)

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