Open Thread: Mike Pompeo, “Secretary of Swagger”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has become increasingly frustrated in recent weeks by the departure of top State Department officials and claims that he failed to defend the former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, from a smear campaign against her, according to three sources familiar with the situation.

As part of the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, Yovanovitch testified to Congress this week that she was unfairly removed based on false claims pushed by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

One of the sources tell CNN that Pompeo was alerted to internal and external concerns about Giuliani’s effort to push out Yovanovitch, but Pompeo failed to act — he was wary of getting too deeply involved over fears of derailing US-Ukraine policy and potentially sharing the fate of his former colleague John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser who was fired for not being aligned with the President

Pompeo’s apparent choice not to put guardrails between State officials and Giuliani has come under scrutiny by House Democrats who are bent on learning as much as they can about what exactly Pompeo knew of Giuliani’s dealings. In recent interviews, Pompeo has declined to answer questions about Giuliani’s entanglement in the administration’s Ukraine policy.

He was however aware of it. In March, Pompeo received a packet from Giuliani containing unfounded claims about Yovanovitch, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter regarding their dealings in Ukraine…

As the State Department has stopped working with Congress due to orders from the White House, Pompeo himself continues to defend Trump. He has called the Ukraine impeachment inquiry a conspiracy theory to take down the President.

But there will be new questions about conversations regarding quid pro quo in the coming days given the pronouncement by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in a news conference Thursday that the US withheld military aid from Ukraine in hopes of securing a promise that the foreign government would look into the possible presence of the physical Democratic National Committee server hacked by the Russians in 2016.

Pompeo, whose department oversees a hefty amount of that assistance to Ukraine, was also asked last month if it would be a problem if there were a quid pro quo arrangement. Pompeo said it is his job to be sure that foreign assistance is “completely appropriate” and that “American taxpayer dollars are used appropriately.”

IMO, “All better now!” should *definitely* be added to the rotating tags list.

Election 2020 Open Thread: The FTFNYTimes Defends Its #1 Priority

Namely, advertising:

SeND Us MoR Money OR YR CaMpaIGN Dies!!!…

Read more

Site Update: Test Period Extended / Testers Chime In


We had 50 people signed up for testing, and 30 people have participated in testing so far.  About 10 other people have let John or myself know that they are unable to test this weekend but would welcome the opportunity to test the site, so we decided to extend the test period through Tuesday night.

We are putting out a call for at least one person to test the new site with a screen reader, so if you might be willing and able to do that, please speak up here and/or send email to my nym at

What an amazing group of testers!  Every single one has been working diligently, with many people testing on multiple devices.  Kudos to all of you!

How has testing been going?

It’s much more important to know what you guys think about the site than it is to hear what I think, so I’m going to invite the testers to chime in here and let you all know how the testing has been going and what they think of the site.

So testers, jump in and share your thoughts, if you so desire.

Sunday Evening Punchdrunk Politics Open Thread

Could be worse, we could be Republicans.

Hold on loosely

I’ve always thought that McConnell cares most about Republicans retaining the Senate. An impeachment trial in the Senate complicates that:

Mr. McConnell sees the proceedings as necessary to protect a half a dozen moderates in states like Maine, Colorado and North Carolina who face re-election next year and must show voters they are giving the House impeachment charges a serious review.

But none of this will come to fruition unless we get the House to vote for impeachment. Let’s raise some more money for the seventeen most vulnerable Democratic House incumbents (you can divide the money among them however you like):

Goal Thermometer

Sunday Afternoon Open Thread

Yesterday afternoon, hubby and I went to the local deplorabar, which is an obnoxious dump, but the trip there looks like this:

So the ride there was fun. We tied up to a rickety-ass dock that is a lawsuit in waiting, and as we walked toward the establishment, I saw a HUGE motherfucking snakeskin in the grass. I stopped and took a picture:

Giant fucking snakeskin!

And no sooner had I snapped that photo with my phone, the former wearer of that skin came shooting through the grass in my general direction. I ran like the hounds of hell were on my heels, screaming my head off, as one does when pursued by a giant snake.

My husband thought that was funny. It was not. The snake was a big honking water moccasin, which is not the sort of snake one wants to encounter since they are venomous.

When we got inside the pub, we warned fellow patrons and the barkeep and reported the snake’s last known coordinates. On the way back to the boat, we gave that area a wide berth.

Jesus, I hate snakes. My husband always chides me for my long-standing snake hatred and expounds on the many ways snakes are beneficial. He should save his breath because I don’t want them to go extinct, and I don’t do anything to physically harm them.

I’m not arguing against the idea of snakes; I just want them to stay away from me. I don’t want to see them, even the “harmless” ones, because there’s no such thing: I’ve harmed myself fleeing snakes many times, including running face-first into a glass door when some asshole brought a pet boa constrictor into a convenience store and got in line behind me.

Anyway, that was my excitement for the weekend. How’s your Sunday going?

Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Cole (Slaw) Bait

From indefatigable gardener OpieJeanne:

Yes, I know, but ‘Sauerkraut Bait’ isn’t as funny.
Also from Opiejeanne, a visual jest for us Terry Pratchett fans…

… who remember what happened to Mr. Pink in The Truth.

What’s going on in your garden(s) this week?

G7 Open Thread: Good News (If We Can Keep Him to It)

More immediately:

If you’re in a paranoid mood (remember, even paranoids have real enemies!): It has been widely assumed that Trump’s ‘special guest nation’ at this G7 would be… Russia. What price a scenario where Putin rejects his puppet’s down-at-heels hotel, and tells him he’d prefer to introduce his own ‘security arrangements’ at Camp David?

Open Thread: The Terrors of Celebrity

Of course it’s an honor, but still — I think Kamala just flashed on what her mom’s expression would’ve been if she did something like this…

You know it’s Democratic because it’s (relatively) discreet. And spelled correctly, too!

Saturday Afternoon Open Thread: Problematic!

Mock, if you must, but admit it. This promo is just about pitch-perfect for Buttigieg’s presumable donor base: College-educated, diversity-friendly midwesterners who read the Arts & Leisure section.

BoJo No Go

So, this is a thing that just happened [The Guardian]:

MPs have inflicted a humiliating defeat on Boris Johnson by passing a backbench amendment withholding their support from his Brexit deal.

Instead of giving Johnson their backing for his Brexit deal in a “meaningful vote”, MPs passed an amendment tabled by a cross-party group of MPs led by Oliver Letwin by 322 votes to 306 – a majority of 16.

The prime minister will be legally obliged to request a Brexit delay at 11pm under the terms of the rebel Benn act, after the government lost the critical vote.

What does it mean? Fuckifino. Maybe a UK-based jackal will be kind enough to explain it to us dumb Yanks.

Open thread!

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Readership Capture


Late Night Open Thread: Ben Shapiro Mode

It was an offer she could, in fact, refuse.”

Ben Shapiro is a professional Wingnut Wurlitzer pest who’s spent the past year whining that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won’t pay him any attention. Of course he never actually intended to ‘debate’ her, but his donors have generously supported his ongoing public grievance.

Guess Tulsi figures that her higher media profile gives her the ‘right’ to ‘challenge’ the OG wingnut boogey-woman her own self. Let’s see how much she scams on this new dogwhistle!


Balloon Juice Testers – Just sent the first batch of emails

I just sent the first batch of email messages to the testers.  If you have received your email message with the login and testing forms, have at it!

If you have not yet received an email message, you will be in the next batch.  It’s 9:30 and I haven’t had dinner yet, so I am going to grab a bite to eat before sending out the next batch.

Big thanks to all who agreed to test!


edit: ~ 11pm

Just sent out batch #2.  So that’s 40 testers.

edit: ~ midnight

Just sent the final batch.  That’s 50 testers.

If you signed up for testing and you haven’t received an email from me, please send email to my nym at with your nym in the subject line. thanks.  WG

Friday Evening Open Thread: (Further) Proof Trump Really *Is* A Republican

(Jeff Danziger via

Just not a professional Repub, like Dick Cheney: