Late Night Open Thread: Well, That Explains Tuesday…

… but this was Monday:

Site Updates: Not So Much Fun


Looks like something happened to a bunch of widgets and ads in the sidebar. As in, “poof, they’ve gone into the aether”. Enjoy the mostly-ad-free current state as I’ll be restoring those soon.

iPad users, rejoice: I’m working with the Mobile site vendor to get the @#$*&^$@ issue solved.  Once that’s done, I expect M4 and I will get the pie filter re-enabled.

There are a number of other things going on in the background that will make things better soon. I’ll be updating the core theme version (finally!) and that should improve performance. I’ve got some tweaks to apply to the caching system and then will get the #$($&^ CDN working correctly. That will greatly reduce the download time and server load, making things groovy for all readers. I curse the CDN because both times I enabled it, many users (including myself!) had trouble  getting the site, instead getting bad gateway and/or CloudFlare errors. Since there were other core issues to improve, I put that on the back burner and so later this week, things will improve.  Between now and then it may be a bit bumpy, but we’ll get to a better place, tout de suite.

Open thread and since I’m working on back-end issues, this is not so much a bitch about the site thread. I’ve detailed what I’m working on, and once we get this stuff nailed down and things settle for a week or three, there will be one or two threads seeking suggestions for improvements. A redesign/update is in order.

Don’t forget that you can always use the Contact a Front Pager form to report tech issues to me, or bad-behaving ads to me or John. For such ads, please let us know which advertiser it was as that’s the crucial information needed to suppress them.

I will be updating the WordPress version and a plugin or two in a bit, and I’m downloading some large db files, so the site may slow down a bit over the next couple of hours.

Have a great Sunday, everyone.


The Strawberries That’s… That’s Where I Had Them

According to Vanity Fair, working at the White House is increasingly like serving on a certain destroyer-minesweeper careening through increasingly violent storms while its captain chases wisps round the wardroom.

Exhibit A:

“The Manafort trial is spinning him into a frenzy,” one Republican in frequent contact with the president told me. Another Republican told me Trump thinks “the only thing the trial shows is that Manafort is a sleaze.”

That’s one way of looking at it. Paranoid narcissism has a way of producing erratic (he said politely) behavior under stress:

Sources say Trump is increasingly taking his legal defense into his own hands—very much at his own peril. The Sessions tweet crossed a line into what many interpreted to be outright obstruction of justice. Trump also is arguing that he wants to sit for an interview with Mueller, against his lawyers’ advice, The New York Times reported. [links in the original]

It doesn’t help that Only The Best People ™ enable such well crafted plans:

Trump’s latest attacks on Mueller are partly being enabled by conversations with his attorney Emmet Flood, one source told me. “Emmet feels there’s nothing there with collusion, so it’s fine for Trump to comment and tweet…”

Steam, increasingly pressurized, seeks escape. Absent a valve, get ready for shrapnel:

Trump appears to be in earnest about his desire for Sessions to end the Mueller probe, and spoke of a timeline of a couple of weeks. Otherwise, Trump has threatened to fire Rosenstein himself.

Enjoy the ride. (I’m not…)

Open thread.

Image: J. W. M. Turner, Shipwreck of the Minotaur, c. 1810…and yes, this, like many of my posts, was prompted by a desire to showcase this painting.

Let’s Give It Up For Our New Back- and Front-Pager!

I have the sincere pleasure of announcing that, starting today, Major Major Major Major is helping with the site on the back- and front-end! Over the past year, he’s been very helpful and has developed some custom programming to enhance our experience here. When I decided to move the On The Road forms to the live site so that we can have a purer test server, I gave him back-end access but that seemed like a tease, so he’s now on the site as well.

Since Major Major Major Major will have access to the site, I asked if he’d be interested in posting. Gracious as always, he confirmed his interest and had a great idea for a regular semi-monthly feature: Book Recommendations, a dedicated space to ask for and give reading recommendations. The idea came from the lively discussions that have happened when he’s asked for recommendations in the past, with several commenters suggesting it as a feature. (If you have ideas for what format this might take, please share them in the comments!)

I’m sure he’ll find other suitable topics to post on, as I’ve encouraged him. I know that, as he pokes around the site and sees what makes it all tick, he’ll have suggestions to simplify, speed up, and improve it. This will be welcome by all, no doubt!

On a related note, in trying to work on some issues the past few weeks, I’ve had to experiment and then restore the server from backup, and this has caused some havoc with folks’ On The Road submissions. It made sense to move that function over so that I can delete and restore the test server as needed, and so for now the On The Road form is offline. I expect there will be some more changes coming soon, and we’ll announce them when appropriate.


Please give it up for a great addition to the team. His developer skillset will help make this site much better and will allow us to do some more custom WordPress work than I would dare alone. He’s a great guy, and I know everyone pretty much knows and loves him, so I hope this news falls on kind hearts.


Friday Morning Open Thread: Ministry of Truthiness

Despite all the criticisms of her performance, Huckabee Sanders is an artist in her own Southern-Gothic niche. She was hired — and she does her job, in this context, brilliantly — to be the grim, dutiful Good Wife who insists that ERRYTHING IS JUST FAAAAHNE THENK YEW in front of the village congregation. Sure, the whole neighborhood knows that (behind the facade) ‘Daddy’ is a mean drunk who knocks her around and sleeps with hookers, the family business is forever teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, her kids are out of control and would be in jail or another institution if the local police weren’t cowed by or complicit in the ‘best families’ oligarchy… but as long as she can slab on enough pancake makeup and wear her ‘family’ pearls, the comforting clan mythology remains unchallenged. It’s not an easy living, but what alternatives does a past-her-prime good Southern girl with no education outside the conservative bubble have? Praise ‘Merican Jeebus for “tradition”, and don’t forget to vote Republican!

It is a well-worn cliché of the Trump presidency—which is also to say, it is a well-worn cliché about the Trump psyche—that, within a White House as vertically integrated as this one, loyalty counts above all. And Sarah Sanders, the press secretary who will have been on the job, this week, for one year—the White House announced her promotion to the role in July of 2017—performs that loyalty every time she meets the press.

This is a White House that prioritizes the scoring of points over the complexities of compromise. Sanders, on behalf of the president she works for—a happy warrior in a culture war that has found a front in the James S. Brady briefing room at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—takes for granted an assumption that would be shocking were it not so common in the American culture of the early 21st century: There are things that are more important than truth.
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Sunday Night Open Thread: That Helsinki-ng Feeling…

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Repub Venality Open Thread: TASS Takes A Victory Lap

Thanks to Senator ‘Shakedown’ Shelby, who seems to be trying to upgrade his place in history from grifter to traitor…

US, Russia ‘do not need to be adversaries’, says head of US congressional delegation
ST. PETERSBURG, July 2. /TASS/. Russia and the US need to improve the relations that are considered tense at the present time, both countries do not have to be rivals even in light of all existing differences, Head of the US Congressional Delegation to Russia and Senator for Alabama Richard Shelby stated during a meeting with Governor of St. Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko.

“Right now, we have a strained relationship,” he said. “A lot of us believe it is important to have a better relationship with Russia. And obviously, that is the current thought of President Trump.”…

The US delegation consists of Alabama Senator and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee Richard Shelby, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, South Dakota Senator John Thune, Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, Montana Senator Steve Daines, as well as member of the US House of Representatives from Texas Kay Granger.

The US congressional delegation arrived in Russia on Saturday. Their first visit has been to St. Petersburg. They will then come to Moscow, where they will stay until July 5. In Moscow, the delegation members have set out to meet with Russian officials from the Federation Council (upper house of Russian parliament) and the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Who wants to spend Independence Day hanging around *Americans*, after all, celebrating the overthrow of tyrants and the equality of people who are not “super-elites”?

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