Friday Evening Open Thread: All the Turkeys

Friday Morning Open Thread: If They’re That “Offended,” You Know They’re Lying

Orrin don’t care, he’s not running for re-election anyways. Just as well the Repubs can shove him in front of the cameras to act all indignant about Sherrod Brown telling the truth about what Orrin’s GOP buddies — or, more accurately, their funders — want to do to the rest of us.

As we wait for the late-Friday news dump, what else is on the agenda for the day?

(Matt Davies via

Evening Open Thread: In God We Trust – Richard Spencer, However, Must Pay Cash!

I’m pretty sure that UF did NAZI see this coming:

Remember, when dealing with neo-NAZIs, white supremacists, neo-fascists, neo-nationalists, and other extremists you want cash or money orders or an electronic funds transfer and you want it up front before providing goods and/or services.

Also, obligatory:

Open Thread: Not All Heroes Wear Capes


“Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.”

Local columnist Petula Dvorak, in the Washington Post:

It was the middle-finger salute seen around the world.

Juli Briskman’s protest aimed at the presidential motorcade that roared past her while she was on her cycling path in Northern Virginia late last month became an instantly viral photo.

Turns out it has now cost the 50-year-old marketing executive her job.

On Halloween, after Briskman gave her bosses at Akima, a government contracting firm, a heads-up that she was the unidentified cyclist in the photo, they took her into a room and fired her, she said, escorting her out of the building with a box of her things.

“I wasn’t even at work when I did that,” Briskman said. “But they told me I violated the code-of-conduct policy.”…

Because Briskman was in charge of the firm’s social-media presence during her six-month tenure there, she recently flagged something that did link her company to some pretty ugly stuff.

As she was monitoring Facebook this summer, she found a public comment by a senior director at the company in an otherwise civil discussion by one of his employees about the Black Lives Matter movement.

“You’re a f—— Libtard a——,” the director injected, using his profile that clearly and repeatedly identifies himself as an employee of the firm…

Did the man, a middle-aged executive who had been with the company for seven years, get the old “Section 4.3” boot?

Nope. He cleaned up the comment, spit-shined his public profile and kept on trucking at work.

But the single mother of two teens who made an impulsive gesture while on her bike on her day off?

Adios, amiga…

There’s at least one GoFundMe account set up in her name, but I don’t know if it’s been verified.

In the Good News department, the retired children’s librarian who laughed at Jeff Sessions in public will not be charged a second time. Maybe Sessions’ lawyers convinced him he’ll be too busy elsewhere to give this case his full attention?

The Next Wall Street Bubble: Restaurants?

I grew up thinking of “home-cooked meals” with a shudder. My mother once produced a Thanksgiving turkey so inedible our cats wouldn’t touch it; my father fell victim to every food fad from the 1960s Tiger’s Milk powder to the recipes of Euell Gibbons. One of my favorite things about modern life is that one no longer has to be rich or a competent cook to eat well. So I found this article frankly terrifying — “Thanks to Wall St., There May Be Too Many Restaurants”:

After a prolonged stretch of explosive growth, fueled by interest from Wall Street, experts say there are now too many fast-food, casual and other chain restaurants.

Since the early 2000s, banks, private equity firms and other financial institutions have poured billions into the restaurant industry as they sought out more tangible enterprises than the dot-com start-ups that were going belly-up. There are now more than 620,000 eating and drinking places in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the number of restaurants is growing at about twice the rate of the population…

Customers continue to spend a large share of their food budget in restaurants, but they’re spreading the money across a larger number of establishments, so profits are split into smaller individual pieces. Yet the industry — particularly chain restaurants — continues to expand, a strategy that both masks the problem and makes it likely that more places will falter.

Sales at individual chain restaurants, compared with a year earlier, began dropping in early 2016, analysts reported. A majority of restaurants reported sales growth in just four of the last 22 monthly surveys from the National Restaurant Association. Before that, most restaurants had reported growth for 20 consecutive months, from March 2014 through October 2015, the survey found.

As Americans work longer hours and confront an ever-growing array of food options, they are spending a growing share of their food budget — about 44 cents per dollar — on restaurants, according to food economists at the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service.

But while consumer demand contributed to the restaurant boom, it was changes on Wall Street that really fueled the explosion. Chains like Del Taco, Papa Murphy’s and others began attracting money from private equity firms, and banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America saw lending opportunities in the restaurant industry.

Those developments complemented each other well. New fast-food investors wanted to rely less on owning restaurants, and offloaded many company locations to eager buyers who came with bags of cheap money from the banks. The investors could then count on a steady stream of franchise fees and royalty payments — buffers against overall sales declines if, say, the market ever became oversaturated. And they didn’t have to worry about actually operating the restaurants.

Franchisees pay for the right to operate a McDonald’s or a Subway, following rules that dictate everything from what type of taco to sell to where to buy iceberg lettuce. They take on the risks and costs of running the restaurants, in exchange for the marketing muscle and name recognition these big companies provide. While every Dunkin’ Donuts or Taco Bell may look the same, dozens and sometimes hundreds of independent owners can operate most of the restaurants within a single brand…

he shuttering of restaurants could have a major impact on the labor market. Since 2010, restaurants have accounted for one out of every seven new jobs, and many restaurateurs complain that it has become increasingly difficult to hire and retain workers. In Muscogee County, Ga., a former textile center, the Labor Department reported an overall decline in employment of 2,000 jobs since 2001 — but a gain of 2,700 restaurant jobs.

Those positions could be in jeopardy if sales continue to fall and force more restaurants to close…

So, having broken the small local restaurants and dinners by overbuilding franchises, Wall Street will now break the individual franchisees by demanding unrealistic quarter-upon-quarter profits. And when those franchises go under, they’ll kill one of the last low-skill, can’t-be-moved-overseas job sources. Another “win” for the banking community!

TX Massacre Open Thread: Thots and Prey-ers

At approximately the same time as the shooting…

Russiagate Minor Players Open Thread: “Clowns & Imbeciles”

Josh Marshall, at TPM:

Former Trump campaign advisor Michael Caputo went on MSNBC this afternoon and said George Papadopoulos was “stupid” and “had no business” being at that March 2016 foreign policy advisor meeting where he apparently talked up his ability to set up meetings with Russians or even with Vladimir Putin. He went on to say that Papadopoulos was only there because Donald Trump was getting slammed for not having any foreign policy advisors and a group was thrown together with basically zero idea of who the people even were.

“He was invited in because at the time the campaign was really reeling from criticism that it had no foreign policy or other advisers,” Caputo said during an interview with Katy Tur. “Donald Trump prided himself on running a lean and mean campaign. That group was slap dash put together in a way another campaign wouldn’t do it. Papadopoulos had no business being there.”…

But none of this is a defense. It’s irrelevant. He had no business being there and yet he was there. According to government charging documents he remained an advisor almost until the end of the campaign and was clearly in regular email contact with the campaign’s policy director, Sam Clovis. The Trumpers have long pushed this argument that they were too inexperienced, disorganized or simply too stupid to have conspired with Russians to subvert the election. That’s not how it works. As we’ve noted in recent days, intelligence operatives (of any country) are looking precisely for people who are desperate, stupid, inexperienced, crooked when they are trying to penetrate or compromise any organization or find collaborators within it. That is when you have something to work with.

The Trumpers might just as well have said well, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner, two complete neophytes and rubes, had zero business with senior roles running the campaign and meeting with foreign government emissaries as we know they did in the June meeting at Trump Tower. Definitely, “stupid”, definitely “no business” being there. And yet they were there. Desperate, stupid, inexperienced, crooked – the Trumpers checked basically every box…

And then there’s this guy…


Speaking of which…