I Don’t Know Who This Guy Is, But He Has Won The Internets!

Erin Burnett has now accused him of being drunk (h/t to Cheryl for finding the tweet with the embedded video):

And in other news, the following also happened today:

BANGKOK — A Belarusian escort with close ties to a powerful Russian oligarch said from behind bars in Bangkok on Monday that she had more than 16 hours of audio recordings that could help shed light on Russian meddling in United States elections.

The escort, Anastasia Vashukevich, said she would hand over the recordings if the United States granted her asylum. She faces criminal charges and deportation to Belarus after coming under suspicion of working in Thailand without a visa at a sex-training seminar in the city of Pattaya.

Ms. Vashukevich, who described herself as close to the Russian aluminum tycoon Oleg V. Deripaska, said that audio recordings she made in August 2016 included discussions he had about the United States presidential election with people she declined to identify.

“If America gives me protection, I will tell everything I know,” Ms. Vashukevich said on Monday. “I am afraid to go back to Russia. Some strange things can happen.”

Her assertion could be easy to disregard were it not for a 25-minute video investigation posted last month on YouTube by the Russian opposition figure Aleksei A. Navalny, which relies heavily on videos and photographs from Ms. Vashukevich.

Here’s Navalny’s expose video:

And this too:

Update at 8:30 PM EST

Almost forgot this one:

A man who is critically ill after being exposed to an unknown substance in Wiltshire is a Russian national convicted of spying for Britain, the BBC understands.

Sergei Skripal, 66, was granted refuge in the UK following a “spy swap” between the US and Russia in 2010.

He and a woman, 33, were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping centre in Salisbury on Sunday.

Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury has been closed by police “as a precaution”.

The substance has not been identified, but Public Health England said there was no known risk to the public’s health.

Wiltshire Police are investigating whether a crime has been committed. They said the pair had no visible injuries but had been found unconscious at the Maltings shopping centre.

They have declared a “major incident” and multiple agencies are investigating. They said it had not been declared as a counter-terrorism incident, but they were keeping an “open mind”.

Col Skripal, who is a retired Russian military intelligence officer, was jailed for 13 years by Russia in 2006 for spying for Britain.

While the British authorities are investigating, this is not the first time this type of thing has happened to Russian nationals in Britain who have gotten crosswise with Putin. Buzzfeed ran a six part series on this last year. From part 1:

The British government is suppressing explosive intelligence that Alexander Perepilichnyy, a financier who exposed a vast financial crime by Russian government officials, was likely assassinated on the direct orders of Vladimir Putin.

Perepilichnyy, who faced repeated threats after fleeing to Britain, was found dead outside his home in Surrey after returning from a mysterious trip to Paris in 2012. Despite an expert detecting signs of a fatal plant poison in his stomach, the British police have insisted there was no evidence of foul play, and Theresa May’s government has invoked national security powers to withhold evidence from the inquest into his cause of death – which is ongoing.

Across the Atlantic, five current high-ranking US intelligence officials have warned that Britain is failing to get to grips with the increased threat from an emboldened Russia – and three of them have taken the extraordinary step of chastising British law enforcement. “The Kremlin has aggressively stepped up its efforts to eliminate and silence its enemies abroad over the past couple of years – particularly in Britain,” one senior US spy told BuzzFeed News. A second serving intelligence official said the “incompetent” British police “should have to answer for their actions and be held accountable” for shutting down any investigation into Perepilichnyy’s death.

So this is likely part of the wet work program that Putin has reinvigorated in recent years.

The intelligence pointing to a campaign of targeted killings in Britain comes amid mounting international concern that the Kremlin is brazenly interfering in the West, and as the investigation into Russian ties to President Donald Trump’s advisers gathers pace.

The Russian government passed new lawsgiving its agents a licence to kill enemies of the state abroad in 2006, the same year two assassins from the FSB, Russia’s spy agency, flew to London to poison the defector and one-time KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko with radioactive polonium. Last year, a British public inquiry found that Vladimir Putin had likely approved that assassination in an act of nuclear terrorism in the British capital that was impossible for the government to ignore. But high-ranking intelligence sources said other less glaringly obvious assassinations have gone unpunished.

Russian assassins have been able to kill in Britain with impunity over the past decade, 17 current and former British and American intelligence officials told BuzzFeed News. The reasons for Britain’s reticence, they said, include fear of retaliation, police incompetence, and a desire to preserve the billions of pounds of Russian money that pour into British banks and properties each year. As a result, Russia is making what one source called increasingly “bold moves” in the UK without fear of reprisals.

Walton said Russian assassins are often extremely adept at “disguising murder”. They are expert at staging suicides by planting evidence to make victims appear to have been depressed, counter-terror officers told BuzzFeed News, or even using drugs and psychological tactics to drive them into taking their own lives. In the case of state assassinations, Putin’s government had amassed “a suite of chemical and biological agents that were developed for targeted assassinations” so killers could do their work without leaving a trace, a former top-ranking MI6 official said. And Britain’s secret service was hamstrung in its ability to share intelligence pointing to Russian complicity, sources said, because of the need to protect confidential informants.

So even when intelligence strongly pointed to an assassination, police and intelligence sources said, there was often too little evidence to make a case stand up in court. In such instances, they said it could be easier to pronounce a death unsuspicious than to stoke diplomatic tensions and public alarm over an accusation of political assassination that probably wouldn’t stick.

I highly recommend the entire series.

Consider this an open thread!

207 replies
  1. 1
    WaterGirl says:

    Other than being drunk, the only reason i know of for someone to smell like they have alcohol on their breath is if they are diabetic.

  2. 2
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I like how Navalny starts the video with: “Hi, it’s Navalny”. Like that’s the title for the show.

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Ticketty tocketty
    Mothery fuckery

  4. 4
    tybee says:

    man, what a day.

  5. 5
    Luthe says:

    Just what this story needed: an actual (Bela)Russian prostitute! Too bad DHS will never grant her asylum request…

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    The pee tape is audio?

  7. 7
    MisterForkbeard says:

    As I said in the other thread, Nunberg admits he’s on anti-depressants. Many of those drugs react very very badly to alcohol, to the point where even a small drink or single shot can result in acting like you’re 8 shots into a bender… or you lose the ability to reason effectively.

    That sure looks like what we’re seeing here.

  8. 8
    mike in dc says:

    Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with.

  9. 9
    Jeffro says:

    @tybee: Right?!?

    Can we get a GoFundMe started so that Balloon Juice can collectively buy that Wu-Tang album and share custody or something?

  10. 10
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Luthe: Britain seems to be looking out for us lately. Maybe they’ll take her up on it.

  11. 11
    zhena gogolia says:


    London isn’t too safe, though.

  12. 12
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    The pee tape is audio?

    Gee whizz.

  13. 13
    Yarrow says:

    The traitors are all going down. All of them. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

  14. 14
    trnc says:

    Call me crazy, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Ms. Vashukevich will not be granted asylum by the Trump administration.

  15. 15
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: :: groan ::

  16. 16
    Mary G says:

    In other news:

    A new Emerson College poll finds Pennsylvania’s 18th District Special Congressional election with Conor Lamb at 48% and Republican Rick Saccone at 45%, 7% of likely voters are undecided.

    From Cision PR Newswire.

  17. 17
    Mike J says:

    There’s a bit of a credibility issue with the hooker. If I were stuck in a Thai prison, I would tell people I had anything they wanted if it got me out.

    Would be nice to hear the tapes.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @trnc: Her best shot is to release the tape. That’s the only way people will be interested enough in her testimony to put pressure on them to let her in.

  19. 19
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mary G: Dear god, why does it always come down to the people who haven’t been paying attention?

  20. 20
    Cheryl Rofer says:

  21. 21

    Today was kind of garbage, some jackass killed himself with a caltrain today so I was an hour and a half late for work, and then my 4:00 went long so I have to take an hour-later train getting back, but watching this Nunberg jackass go on his self immolation tour made it all much easier.

  22. 22
    Jeffro says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: oh, so you will be here all week and I should try the veal?

    Nice. Not as spot-on as “YS” but nice!

  23. 23
    Elizabelle says:

    I worry about Nunburg being a suicide risk. I hope someone cares enough to hang out w him for a few days. Keep him safe and frosty, so he can spend some quality time w Team Mueller.

  24. 24
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @zhena gogolia: Maybe Russia will do so, in exchange for her audio. :P

  25. 25
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Elizabelle: Yeah. Especially if he’s on anti-depressants.

  26. 26
    Yarrow says:

    This may be a Roger Stone stunt but it also may not work out as well for Roger as he hopes it will:

    As a lawyer on the show just pointed out: By refusing to testify in order to protect Roger, he’s making it look like he has something to hide about Roger. Aka that Roger is guilty.— John Aravosis (@aravosis) March 5, 2018

  27. 27
    Origuy says:

    @Mike J: She was talking about it before she went to Thailand. That Navalny video is over a month old.
    Sorry, not quite a month old. Dated Feb 8.

  28. 28
    Schlemazel says:

    No but I would put up $50 for a fund to hire that hooker & bring her to the US

  29. 29

    @zhena gogolia: So, Eastern Promises was a documentary, then.

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: If we’re doing this, can we throw some money towards the Enigma machine. I’d like it for my office. Sort of a professional thing. Thanks!

  31. 31
    zhena gogolia says:

    Man, I’ve been pushing the Rybka story for days, and you guys let the NYT scoop you!

  32. 32
    Aleta says:

    Ms. Vashukevich must be frightened for her life.

  33. 33
    sanjeevs says:

    Convenient time for the Russians to remind everyone that they can attack people with impunity in many parts of the world already.


  34. 34
    jacy says:


    I answered on the dead thread…..

    I take Buproprion in the mornings and often have insomnia and have tried various medications. Last year I had a beer an hour or two before taking a sleeping pill — in the middle of the night I called up The Boyfriend and argued with him for a couple of hours and bought some shoes on the internet and I have no memory of it at all — nothing. Never took that medication again…..

    The Boyfriend said that if he had been sure it was me, he would have sworn it was an entirely different person that he had never met before. It was really disconcerting.

  35. 35
    Schlemazel says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    I used to have a pretty neat desktop app that mimicked Enigma. I can’t find that one anywhere any more but it offered every version including the 5 dial naval version and changeable reels. It still breaks my brain how that ever gets decoded, I just don’t have the maths for it

  36. 36
    Jeffro says:

    @Schlemazel: @Adam L Silverman: focus, people, focus!!

  37. 37
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @zhena gogolia: I just added an update about that up top.

  38. 38
    Gravenstone says:

    @Luthe: You kidding? There’s probably an ‘Einstein’ visa with her name on it!

  39. 39
    Aleta says:

    @Elizabelle: I wonder if he’s hoping for money from a GOP slush fund. Or reacting to threats or stress. And even stress alone can overwhelm some people’s mood control.

  40. 40
    WaterGirl says:

    @sanjeevs: Maybe that story is what has this guy so freaked out? He’s afraid the Russians will kill him?

  41. 41
    Matt McIrvin says:

    If the government seizes the Wu-Tang Clan album does Bill Murray still have the right to steal it from them in an authorized heist?

  42. 42
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷 says:

    The Russian government passed new lawsgiving its agents a licence to kill enemies of the state abroad in 2006,

    Do “enemies of the state” include foreign nationals?

  43. 43
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: If you’d been paying attention, you’d know the answer to this question.//

  44. 44
    Jeffro says:

    Btw multiple op-eds up on WaPo right now thanking our good luck as a nation that Trumpov is such an incompetent dumb fuck.


  45. 45
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:

    That forfeiture order might wipe Shkreli out. Reading his bio, one wonders why anybody has loaned him any money in the last 8 years or so.

  46. 46
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷: Yes.

    Just to be safe, make sure to change your daily routine daily.

  47. 47
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Mike J:

    There’s a bit of a credibility issue with the hooker.

    You could have ended the paragraph there

  48. 48
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @jacy: Yeah. Mind-altering drugs don’t mix well with other mind altering drugs. Seen it myself when I was on migraine meds – I acted differently and I could tell, but could only stop it while concentrating.

  49. 49
    WaterGirl says:

    Would it be malpractice for one of these so-called journalists to tell him that he should probably stop talking? I mean, if he truly is in an altered state, due to drugs or alcohol or a mix of the two or some kind of breakdown, he’s really not in a position to judge that he is totally screwing himself.

    I know he’s a Trump guy and I want the whole mess of them to go down in flames and go to prison, but he’s also a human being who is halfway out of his mind.

  50. 50
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷: and how do the sovereign nations which constitute “abroad” for Russians feel about that?

  51. 51
    JPL says:

    Where’s Sam?

  52. 52

    And so it begins anew for another news cycle. Fights break out at Michigan State as groups converge for Spencer speech.

    They’re just aching to bring out their virgin AR-15 brides.

  53. 53
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You bastard, you’re gonna make me google. :-)

  54. 54
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @WaterGirl: Several of them HAVE told him to stop. He’s not stopping.

  55. 55
    HumboldtBlue says:

    Paris St. Germain hosts Real Madrid in a Champions League second leg tomorrow and the PSG Ultras are doing their best to disturb the sleep of the Spanish giants.

    Typical rude Frenchmen.

    Beats more Trump treason.

  56. 56
    Mike in NC says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Oh, do I love that movie, complete with the amazing naked knife fight in the locker room.

  57. 57

    @WaterGirl: Way to sow more fear, uncertainty, doubt – “Well, I was very drunk at the time…”

  58. 58
    Baud says:

    Not sex coach. Professional escort.

  59. 59
    Steeplejack says:

    Chris Hayes said “Bangkok.” Tee-hee.

  60. 60
  61. 61

    Considering Adams update, not so surprising Trump is afraid of being poisoned.

  62. 62
    JPL says:

    @Baud: Sorta like the first lady, right!

  63. 63
    different-church-lady says:

    Consider this an open thread!

    What the hell is even left after all that?

  64. 64
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Okay, so in Mississippi and Arizona, the Republican governor gets to appoint an interim person. So how does it help us if McCain steps down?

    edit: oops, sorry I had my threads mixed up. I thought you were answering my question about how cochran’s replacement would be handled.

  65. 65
    gene108 says:

    Read somewhere over the weekend Thailand is holding her more harshly than is warranted for her crime; as if Russia was pressuring the Thai government.

    Hope she doesn’t get herself killed.

    Maybe Canada would be willing to offer her asylum, just to piss off Trump

  66. 66
    Baud says:

    @JPL: Damn, JPL.

  67. 67
    Roger Moore says:


    I worry about Nunburg being a suicide risk. I hope someone cares enough to hang out w him for a few days.

    Perhaps that nice Mr. Mueller could arrange for a secure place for him to stay. I’m sure they’d take away his belt and shoelaces and keep him under 24 hour surveillance to protect him from himself.

  68. 68
    WaterGirl says:

    @Elizabelle: I wonder if Mueller could have him taken into custody to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself?

  69. 69
  70. 70
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Baka Amerikahito) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    That’s comforting.
    @Steve in the ATL:

    Pissed, I imagine.

  71. 71
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    I just saw a tweet that Nunberg has called in The Weather Channel. I can’t tell if that is true or not.

  72. 72
    MomSense says:


    You’re like my kid with Cape Horn.

  73. 73
  74. 74

    @Roger Moore: @WaterGirl:
    Three hots & a cot, also. Sounds like a deal, don’t it just?

  75. 75
    different-church-lady says:


    focus, people, focus!!

    We can’t: we’re Democrats.

  76. 76
    Baud says:

    @different-church-lady: what were we talking about?

  77. 77

    @Cheryl Rofer: I heard different – he’s got a slot at 10p ET with Shawn Killinger on QVC. PM Style!

  78. 78
    WaterGirl says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Good to know, thank you!

  79. 79
    HumboldtBlue says:


    Oh no. Oh, no no no no no no. Really? You are Bruce! From Ohio! You should be wearing the black and gold and telling us of the awesomeness of the Yellow Wall!

    Madrid?1?!?! You’re … you’re … Bruce! From Ohio! No “Toon Army”?

    I don’t even know who you are anymore, “Bruce” (if that’s your real name) or should I say FRANCO!

  80. 80
    WaterGirl says:

    What a day. I wonder if they are going to cancel Friday altogether and just skip right from Thursday to Saturday.

  81. 81
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @WaterGirl: I’m fine with declaring tomorrow Saturday.

  82. 82
    WaterGirl says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I’ll second that!

  83. 83
    Corner Stone says:


    You’re like my kid with Cape Horn.

    What’s wrong with Cape Horn?
    Cape Horn
    Cay pe Horn
    Cay porn
    Gay por…


  84. 84
    Baud says:

    Rachel often has a problem with long windups, but she is doing an excellent job now running through a plethora of news.

  85. 85

    History, people. We are there. We will talk about this like folks in the Watergate era talked about Martha Mitchell locking herself in the bathroom and phoning the press.

  86. 86
  87. 87
    different-church-lady says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): Seriously, never thought I would live through two of those.

  88. 88
    gene108 says:


    said in the other thread, Nunberg admits he’s on anti-depressants. Many of those drugs react very very badly to alcohol,

    Yeah, especially if he just started taking them in response to stress.

    When I got on antidepressants and antipsychotic after getting out of inpatient a couple of sips of alcohol got a strange crinkly sensation going in my head.

    After which I stopped drinking for years, and can count on my fingers the number of times I drank in a year.

    I miss booze. ☹️

  89. 89
    Roger Moore says:


    Okay, so in Mississippi and Arizona, the Republican governor gets to appoint an interim person. So how does it help us if McCain steps down?

    The interim appointment only lasts until the next general election, not until the end of the scheduled term. So if McCain steps down, his seat is up for grabs again in 2018 instead of 2022.

  90. 90
    Yarrow says:

    @Aardvark Cheeselog: I’ve seen some photos of Shkreli with some of the alt-right folks at some art opening or something. It’s been several months so I’m probably not remembering all the characters right, but I think Lucien Wintrich and Milo were there. Maybe he’s being funded by some of the same sources funding those guys.

  91. 91
    divF says:


    No one will believe us.

    Hell, I don’t believe it as it is happening in real time.

  92. 92
  93. 93
    scav says:

    @WaterGirl: As will no doubt have been said a gazzilion times already, I’d say tomorrow might as well be Saturday, Or one even later in the month, it could be a Saturday some time in April. Things they be seriously dumped. Dump excess in bagging area, does not compute.

  94. 94

    @HumboldtBlue: lolol my kid did semester in Spain. She learned how to break the ice with locals by asking questions about futbol. And I got a great jersey out of it. Not betting the farm here, dear.

    ETA black and gold reminds of the fucking stillers, and I hate the fucking stillers.

  95. 95
    Steeplejack says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Well played.

  96. 96
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: I answered it in the previous one.

    But to answer this one: the reason you don’t want McCain to resign is that it reduces the numbers that McConnell has to work with in the Senate. And you don’t want the Arizona governor to appoint some real extremist to fill the seat until the election. Like the crazy contrail lady.

  97. 97
    WaterGirl says:

    @Roger Moore: Okay. Someone upthread talked about his resignation putting us at only 50 Republicans, but that’s not really the case. It would still be 51, it’s just that there would be a different body sitting in the Arizona seat. Do I have that right?

  98. 98
    rikyrah says:

    if this doesn’t give you the warm fuzzies :)

    The little girl who went viral for her reaction to Michelle Obama’s portrait really wants the former first lady to know she loved it

  99. 99
    WaterGirl says:

    @Steeplejack: Hey!

  100. 100
    Duane says:

    Mr. Nunberg, fat, drunk and stupid is…

  101. 101
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: So cute! Especially the grin when they tell her they will get her message to Michelle.

  102. 102
    rikyrah says:

    The Hill
    ‏Verified account @thehill

    Trump ends Obama-era ban on importing sport-hunted elephant trophies http://hill.cm/ElGrMTg

  103. 103
    Corner Stone says:

    @WaterGirl: You’ve got to remember that this is a guy who put on *pants* to go out of his apt recently. Not to be trusted.

  104. 104
    HumboldtBlue says:



    Here’s the second best football song out there
    , and though in no way a Hammers fan we can still dance a bit in an awkward and stilted manner.

  105. 105
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: Thanks.

    Did you see the link I left for you way downstairs?

  106. 106
    Yarrow says:

    @rikyrah: Ohhhh….she’s so adorable! So excited when they tell her they’ll get her message to Michelle. Awww…

  107. 107
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    If we’re doing this, can we throw some money towards the Enigma machine. I’d like it for my office. Sort of a professional thing.

    I’m kind of broke right now, so can’t pitch in for the Enigma, but I think I have an old Crackerjack™ secret decoder ring I could sell you.

  108. 108
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    And you don’t want the Arizona governor to appoint some real extremist to fill the seat until the election.

    Completely agree.

    Like the crazy contrail lady.

    I don’t even know what that means. Maybe there’s an autocorrect issue?

    the reason you don’t want McCain to resign is that it reduces the numbers that McConnell has to work with in the Senate.

    I don’t get this, on two points. 1) why wouldn’t it be good to reduce the numbers that McConnel has to work with in the senate? 2) I don’t see how it reduced the numbers anyway since the governor can immediately appoint someone. Or is there is a delay between appointment and swearing in? I thought that was just for democratic senators. :-)

    P.S. Sorry I just don’t seem to be getting it. I do speak english, I promise!

    edit: Duh. It’s because McCain is there / not there. He is there on paper, but he is not there for votes. If he resigns, the interim person is there for votes. BAD.

  109. 109


    I don’t even know what that means. Maybe there’s an autocorrect issue?

    She’s one of those chemtrail people.

  110. 110
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: Of course they are. Fucking sons of bitches.

  111. 111
  112. 112
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Has everyone forgotten that there is a Wu Tang Clan album at stake here?

  113. 113
    jacy says:

    Since this is an open thread, I never shared pix of the new dog. His name is Jax — and he’s not a “my house” dog. He’s technically The Boyfriend’s dog, although I picked him out and I insist on calling him “my” dog. I think he’s border collie/pointer and he is darling, and pretty well-behaved. He’s only been here a week, but he’s settling in nicely.

    The boys and I are going to be getting a new dog sometime in the future — but we’ve still got two french bulldogs, three cats, and Raylin the spiny softshell turtle, so we’re in no hurry.

  114. 114
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Aha!

    @Corner Stone: Note to self: Never trust a guy wearing pants?

  115. 115
    zhena gogolia says:


    That is so great! It’s made me reevaluate my reaction to the portrait.

  116. 116

    @HumboldtBlue: Gaia help me I’ll be singing that in the car on the commute tomorrow and MrsFromOhio will be like all, what the hell have you been listening to?

  117. 117
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: That was me. Let’s try this again: There are two issues at play here.
    1) If Cochrane resigns, given that it’s a congressional election year, the seat stays open until November when a special election will be held to fill the seat. This reduces the GOP majority to 51 R, 46 D, and 2 Independents that caucus with the Democrats.
    2) If McCain refuses to resign, but is unable to be in DC and conduct his duties because of the combination of the effects of his brain tumor and the treatment to combat it, this functionally reduces the GOP majority in the Senate to 50. This makes the GOP majority in the Senate, functionally in terms of who is actually able to be there and vote, to 50 R, 46 D, and two Independents that caucus with the Democrats.

    What this does is it reduces the margins that McConnell has to play with. If McCain hangs on to his seat, but is unable to work after Cochrane resigns, then it only takes on GOP defection on any actual simple majority vote to defeat whatever it is McConnell is doing. Whether it is political or judicial appointments or legislation.

  118. 118
    WaterGirl says:

    @jacy: Jax is adorable! Look at that paint job! So cool. I used to say that “God hand-painted Bailey”. He was black and white, with great detail work, down to the testicles, one was white and the other black.

  119. 119
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:

    How about that Dayanna Volitich? I would have figured BC to have featured her by now.

  120. 120
    Corner Stone says:

    @WaterGirl: He knows what he did.

  121. 121
    Citizen_X says:


    Maybe there’s an autocorrect issue?

    Nope. Kelli Ward is Trumpite/Bannonite wingnut, who once held a forum on the “chemtrails” non-issue.

  122. 122
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: That’ll be held up in the courts for a while.

  123. 123
    HumboldtBlue says:


    What genus is an ear worm?

  124. 124
    efgoldman says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady):

    We will talk about this like folks in the Watergate era talked about Martha Mitchell locking herself in the bathroom and phoning the press.


    Seriously, never thought I would live through two of those.

    Yes and yes. Hell, I couldn’r believe they impeached the Clenis (and had a senate vote) over a blow job.

    It was anything but risible once the Tricksie story came out in the senate and house committees and Judge Sirica’s courtroom.

    Just like our parents’ generation could never imagine another world wide conflagration, I really don’t think we could ever imagine another crime-ridden WH. Impeachment was something that happened in the wake of the War of Treason Over Slavery and once since, when Nixon tried to steal the country. Certainly an object lesson for preident’s thereafter.

    But as i said in an earlier thread, in a different context: “Don’t know nothin’ ’bout history….”

  125. 125
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    : oops, sorry I had my threads mixed up. I thought you were answering my question about how cochran’s replacement would be handled.

    Wait, now, the governor of Arizona is replacing Cochran with a sex coach hooker drunken escort who is a futból fan on MSNBC? I’m so confused.

  126. 126
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: 1) Then why does the wikipedia link say “YES” under the “Interim Gub Appointment” column? To me that reads like yes, special elections have to be held, but the governor gets to appoint someone in the meantime.


    2) Yeah, I added this edit to my previous question, but it must have been after you read it.

    edit: Duh. It’s because McCain is there / not there. He is there on paper, but he is not there for votes. If he resigns, the interim person is there for votes. BAD.

  127. 127
    Aardvark Cheeselog says:

    @Yarrow: No, he got serious business backing and just flat out ripped people off. He had a $5m judgement against him to pay Lehman Bros. but they went bankrupt before they could collect. Then he did it again to Merrill Lynch.

  128. 128
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @jacy: What a cute doggy!

  129. 129
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: That girl is SOOOO cute!

  130. 130
  131. 131
    Yarrow says:

    Wrote this in a previous thread, but it has been a crazy day. Among other things, found out that a doctor who plays a key role in the care of one of my family members died suddenly. We’re now scrambling to figure out what to do. I know some other people who also see this doctor so we’ve been texting and everyone is so shocked. You don’t really think about the doctors you depend on just dying suddenly.

    Last week I had to rewash everything in the house for a medical reason. Like you do for lice but it was instead due to an allergic reaction to something in the detergent. This was on instructions from the dermatologist. I also had to go buy new everything soap and detergent related. So that was fun.

    I think I’m tired of all the winning.

  132. 132
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: You are almost right! Except the sex coach hooker drunken escort who is a futból fan on MSNBC was out hiking the Appalachian trail, so they tried to appoint her husband, but they found out that the husband was also her long-lost brother, so they had to go with the neighbor cat lady.

  133. 133
    MomSense says:

    @Corner Stone:


  134. 134
    jacy says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady):

    He won the dog lottery — The Boyfriend is a great dog dad, he has a ginormous yard to play in, two little boys to play with, and I plan to spoil him, since I don’t ever have to be the bad guy. Win for everybody! He’s a very good boy. :)

  135. 135
    WaterGirl says:

    @Citizen_X: We’re both right. The spelling above was “crazy contrail lady”. I didn’t know what contrails were. But now I do!

  136. 136
    WaterGirl says:

    @MomSense: Was it really gay porn? Because I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Cape Horn, either.

  137. 137

    @Yarrow: A friend of mine had her therapist have a heart attack and die while she was in a session. That did not help her mental health.

    All that washing and redoing is just exhausting. I hope it’s done.

  138. 138
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: One more time. If McCain refuses to resign, but can’t come to work, given that Cochrane’s replacement won’t be sworn in until next January, it functionally reduces the GOP majority in the Senate to 5049 R, 4647 D, and 2 Independents. That’s functional because McCain is still technically a senator, he’s just not working/able to work because of the brain tumor and the treatment for it. If McCain resigns, then the AZ governor can replace him until the special election to serve out the remainder of his term, which will be held at the same time as the regular congressional House and Senate elections this November. Does this make sense now?

    Also, this is Kelli Ward.

  139. 139
    WaterGirl says:

    @Yarrow: Not a good week. So sorry.

  140. 140
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @jacy: Well done!

  141. 141
    WaterGirl says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor (formerly Iowa Old Lady): Holy fuck, that’s not good.

  142. 142
    Steeplejack says:

    @Mike J:

    Of course!

  143. 143
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I think you and I might be one or two comments behind in our replies to one another. See me at 126.

  144. 144

    @WaterGirl: It was years ago now. I wonder how she’s doing. You couldn’t put that in a novel. It’s too on the nose.

  145. 145
    Citizen_X says:

    @WaterGirl: Contrails are real, chemtrails are imaginary.

  146. 146
    MomSense says:


    Yup. Say it fast and imagine half a dozen pre teens in the same room.

  147. 147

    @WaterGirl:I’d rather have McCain on paper than Kelli ward in person, any day! In the end, I’m not sure that it will matter.

  148. 148
    Citizen_X says:

    Does anyone know what a “sex-training seminar” is?

  149. 149
    Jay C says:

    Jax looks like such a Happy Dog! I hope he stays that way – sounds like he’s lucked into a Good Dog Life!

  150. 150

    @WaterGirl: and here I am trying to figure out what’s wrong with gay porn!

  151. 151
    Steeplejack says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:


  152. 152
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Citizen_X: I think we all know what it is. Don’t play the naïf around here, sport.

  153. 153
    Steeplejack says:


    It’s just that Chris Hayes would be my absolute last pick for an MSNBC host to cover a sex scandal.

  154. 154
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Why would that escort think a Russian client state would grant her asylum against Russian retaliation?

  155. 155
    Calouste says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You’re off by one, unless I missed something and McConnell has refused to seat Doug Jones.

  156. 156
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MomSense: Do people still call places and ask them to page Mike Hunt?

  157. 157

    @Omnes Omnibus: what is this ‘to call a place’?

  158. 158
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Ah, then the answer is no.

  159. 159
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Sorry, poor phrasing on my part! Nothing wrong with Bangkok, either, but at least on that one I could figure out what was funny about it.

  160. 160

    @Major Major Major Major:Some Balloon Juice people actually use their phones to call people. The horror.

    ETA: Did you see yesterday’s thread where commenters were opining about the evils of smart phones and how they would never get one, ever?

  161. 161
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m starting to get the hang of this. You have to say the phrase out loud multiple times, and then all becomes clear.

    I must have skipped that part of junior high. We just cal the drug stores and asked if they had Prince Something-or-other in a can, and then of course we said “please let him out” when they answered yes.

  162. 162
    Jay C says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    OK: I found the relevant sections of Mississippi law re (US) Senatorial vacancies HERE: (this is as of 2013, apparently the latest revision (?))

    (1) If a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator from Mississippi by death, resignation or otherwise, the Governor shall, within ten (10) days after receiving official notice of such vacancy, issue his proclamation for an election to be held in the state to elect a Senator to fill such unexpired term as may remain, provided the unexpired term is more than twelve (12) months and the election shall be held within ninety (90) days from the time the proclamation is issued and the returns of such election shall be certified to the Governor in the manner set out above for regular elections, unless the vacancy shall occur in a year that there shall be held a general state or congressional election, in which event the Governor’s proclamation shall designate the general election day as the time for electing a Senator, and the vacancy shall be filled by appointment as hereinafter provided.

    (2) In case of a vacancy in the office of United States Senator, the Governor may appoint a Senator to fill such vacancy temporarily, and if the United States Senate be in session at the time the vacancy occurs the Governor shall appoint a Senator within ten (10) days after receiving official notice thereof, and the Senator so appointed shall serve until his successor is elected and commissioned as provided for in subsection (1) of this section, provided that such unexpired term as he may be appointed to fill shall be for a longer time than one (1) year, but if for a shorter time than one (1) year he shall serve for the full time of the unexpired term and no special election shall be called by the Governor but his successor shall be elected at the regular election.

    So in my reading of this [but IANAL, etc.] in Thad Cochran’s case, the vacancy (for the remainder of the term) will be contested at the next general election in any case, but the Governor MAY (and why this authority is conditional, Dog knows) appoint someone to fill the seat in the meantime. Or not. Though why a Governor/Lege would want to leave a US Senate seat empty for the rest of the year is a weird question.

  163. 163
    WaterGirl says:

    @Citizen_X: If you have to ask, then you can’t afford it.

  164. 164
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WaterGirl: Prince Albert. Brand of tobacco.

    ETA: I hope that this helps.

  165. 165
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: So we’re good now? You’ve got it?

  166. 166
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Of course, Prince Albert! At least I knew it was some sort of tobacco product. I kept wit to say Prince Arthur, but I knew that was wrong, at least.

  167. 167
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yes, and I owe you at least 3 pints of really good ice cream for my being so dense. I can go up to 5 pints, if necessary, in order for us to pretend that this tiresome exercise never happened.

  168. 168
    Chip Daniels says:


    Lesson the First: Get your money up front.

  169. 169
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Calouste: You’re correct. I did forget Senator Jones. I’ll make a correction. Thanks for catching that.

  170. 170
    Steeplejack says:

    @WaterGirl, @Roger Moore:

    And, to answer what is possibly the subtext of WaterGirl’s question, I wasn’t thinking of partisan advantage when I said McCain should step down. I am tired of the attitude in this country that once you win a political seat it is a God-given right until you get carried out feet first, no matter how old, infirm or senile you are. Doesn’t anybody have enough class to admit that at some point you can’t do a good job any more and you should retire?

  171. 171
    Origuy says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Probably hasn’t been following American politics very closely.

  172. 172
    WaterGirl says:


    Doesn’t anybody have enough class to admit that at some point you can’t do a good job any more and you should retire?

    I’m gonna have to go with “no” on that one.

  173. 173


    Did you see yesterday’s thread where commenters were opining about the evils of smart phones and how they would never get one, ever?

    I must have missed that one.

  174. 174

    @WaterGirl: Hey, you’re good at this. Brush up on your prank calls, and you’re golden.

  175. 175
    Corner Stone says:

    @Citizen_X: I’m not sure. Where would one sign up to find out?

  176. 176
    divF says:

    @Steeplejack: I have mixed feelings about this, because of the story of Clair Engle:

    On June 10, 1964, during the roll call for the historic, successful effort to break the filibuster on what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when the clerk reached “Mr. Engle”, there was no reply. The tumor had robbed Engle of his ability to speak. Slowly lifting an arm, he pointed to his eye, thereby signaling his affirmative vote (“aye”). The cloture vote was 71-29, four votes more than the two thirds required to end the filibuster. Nine days later, the Senate approved the Act itself.

    Engle died a month and a half later of his brain cancer.

  177. 177
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay C:

    Though why a Governor/Lege would want to leave a US Senate seat empty for the rest of the year is a weird question.

    If it happens close to the next scheduled election. Mississippi doesn’t like to spend money on anything. It is a cost saving measure as calling a special election, especially for a statewide office is expensive.

  178. 178
    Steeplejack says:


    Jesus Christ.

  179. 179
    Jay C says:


    Doesn’t anybody have enough class to admit that at some point you can’t do a good job any more and you should retire?

    Well, yes: Sen. Thad Cochran. Today.
    Though I see your point, and agree in general.

  180. 180
    Steeplejack says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Yes, got it. Thanks.

  181. 181
    WaterGirl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Thanks for that, I couldn’t stop laughing. I guess that makes me about 12. My eyes are watering.

  182. 182
    Mnemosyne says:


    Ah, that sounds like the Happy Fun Christmas Day when my mom had an allergic reaction to a new detergent and spent the day in the ER hooked up to a Benadryl drip.

    And then I had to take her back again the next day for more intravenous Benadryl instead of going shopping. Good times, good times.

    I don’t have allergies, but I’m very prone to contact dermatitis, so I use All Free and Clear detergent.

  183. 183
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WaterGirl: We all have an inner twelve year old. Knowing when to let him or her out is the important thing.

  184. 184

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Prince Albert. Brand of tobacco.

    An extremely important disambiguation.

  185. 185
    JR says:

    @Roger Moore: What’s a few years of protective custody between friends?

  186. 186
    Fair Economist says:


    edit: Duh. It’s because McCain is there / not there. He is there on paper, but he is not there for votes. If he resigns, the interim person is there for votes. BAD.

    Not particularly, because Doug Jones is now the Senator from Alabama. We would still be in the same situation we were in last year for any vote in which McCain dissented, and ahead if he were falling in line. Pretty much anything that could be passed with a McCain replacement already was (which was not much, fortunately).

    Now if we manage to flip Cochran’s seat in the special, *then* it makes a big difference, because as long as McCain is a Senator but not voting we have a 50-49 majority, but if he gets replaced the majority goes back to the Republicans. If that happens and McCain is still alive there will be a huge push by the Republicans to get him to resign.

  187. 187
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay C: The other issue is you’ve got one citation and text and what I’ve been looking at – two different sources – says something slightly different. So at this point, my answer as someone with a PhD in political science (and criminology), is I no longer have any idea. It would not surprise me if no one is appointed and the seat stays open until filled in the special election. And It would also not surprise me if someone is appointed on 2 April. I just hope it isn’t Chris McDaniel. That guy is verging into Paul Nehlen territory.

  188. 188
    danielx says:


    Roger is guilty, Roger was guilty, Roger will be guilty.

    Not the least of his crimes being his appearance at Trump’s inauguration as a villain from an Ed Wood movie.

  189. 189
    Steeplejack says:


    Did anybody involved have amnesia or an evil twin? Somehow I think that has got to be a factor.

  190. 190
    Jay says:

    “Doesn’t anybody have enough class to admit that at some point you can’t do a good job any more and you should retire?”

    Would there be any Republicans in office if that were the standard?

  191. 191
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: We’re good. Just please don’t do this again any time soon. For whatever reason I’ve been having issues with the site loading on my laptop, so I’ve been fighting the site, and trying to figure out how to explain this for you that didn’t become overtly hostile.

  192. 192
  193. 193
    danielx says:


    It does get hard to keep track of who is doing what to whom.

  194. 194
    MomSense says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Oh yes. Still a thing. Bless their hearts.

  195. 195
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steeplejack: You’re welcome.

  196. 196
    Jay says:

    Back in the Golden Years, we hired a barely qualified QA person by the name of Hellen Hunt. We knew that with some experience, mentoring and some of the Company Funded Continuing Ed, she would be good in the job.

    Better yet, the ability to tell certain people, “you are going to have to go to Hellen Hunt for that”, was priceless.

  197. 197
    WaterGirl says:

    @Steeplejack: Nope. Just that we thought someone else had been appointed to the seat, but then they woke up and we found out that the whole previous season session had been a dream

  198. 198
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Hey, I thought you were wrong but I didn’t have to fight becoming overtly hostile! :-)

  199. 199
    piratedan says:

    @Adam L Silverman: no guarantees that Gov. Ducey appoints her to fill a supposed McCain vacancy either. I do believe that Ms. Ward already has her hat in the ring for Flake’s seat, although it appears that Martha McSally (R) and Kristin Sinema (D) are already running for it as well. We’re also hoping to flip AZ Congressional district 8, which became vacant when Trent Franks started shopping for a human incubator. If the tide is truly turning, there’s some possibility of taking that one and McSally’s congressional seat as well. There are any number of possibly safe R congresscritters and state senators for Ducey to appoint, Ward’s claim to fame is that she challenged Johnny Maverick in the primary and got smoked.

  200. 200
    Vhh says:

    @Mary G: My theory is that the Trump steel/alu tariff is, like the W 2004 steel tariff, is a hail Mary to tip the PA election. It will then be rescinded. Looking like it won’t work.

  201. 201
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Jay C:

    Cochran has been MIA for, what, almost a year? Didn’t he miss all the big votes last quarter?

  202. 202
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Also, this is Kelli Ward.

    Wasn’t Schrodinger’s Cat explaining about the Kelli Yuga in a previous thread?

  203. 203
    Jay C says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):

    Don’t know: Most Senate votes this year – at least the important ones – have been full-house affairs (no surprise with as low a margin as the Majority has), so I assumed Cochran would have been there. But no sure knowledge, sorry.

    Though at least nowadays, vacancies/absences through illness don’t always get passed by: I recall the story of a Senator from (?? one of the Dakotas ??) in the (?? 1960s ??) who suffered a serious stroke in the first year of his term, and never returned to Washington – and couldn’t be forced or induced to resign: thus setting the dubious record of leaving his State with only one Senator for the longest time.

  204. 204
    Aleta says:

    @Jay C: 23-15-855 is also here (as pdf) at the sos.ms.gov, ‘current through the end of the 2016 …’
    Don’t know if it’s changed at all, cause I didn’t look.

  205. 205
    ExpatDanBKK says:

    @Mike J: In this case she’s not “stuck” in a Thai prison, as her offense is minor (visa infraction, working without authorisation) and will just get her tossed out of the Kingdom at worst. She’s freaking out because the Thais want to release her to Russian custody. This makes me think that there’s actually something to this craziness.

  206. 206
    Denali says:


    Thanks for the links. The Sam Nunberg interviews were the best entertainment anywhere. Riveting. (Idon’t get out much).

  207. 207
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Depression would explain the “I don’t want to go” theme of his rant too.

Comments are closed.