Thursday Open Thread

“Every man has inside himself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to his advantage.”

–William S. Burroughs

87 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ParkHill says:

    Really good WOTD from MusicianinLA at DailyKos: “Tough talk on dealing with repairing the damage to SCOTUS

    Without court expansion, it is unlikely that Biden will get more than one appointment during a 2021-2025 presidential term. That is because the only justice over 80 is Stephen Breyer, at 82. That one appointment will not affect the 6-3 conservative majority on the court, because a “liberal” would be replacing a “liberal.”

    If the other justices serve until Breyer’s current age, here is when their seats would turn over:

    • Clarence Thomas, at 72, would not leave the court until 2030.
    • Alito, at 70, would depart in 2032.
    • Sotomayor, at 66, would leave in 2036.
    • Roberts, at 65, would leave in 2037.
    • Kagan, at 60, would leave in 2042.
    • Kavanaugh, at 55, would leave in 2047.
    • Gorsuch, at 53, would leave in 2049.
    • Barrett, at 48, would not leave the bench until 2054.

    If we leave the number of seats at nine, this means that, absent unforeseen early deaths of some of the conservative justices, there is not a realistic opportunity for a change from a conservative-dominated court to a more liberal court until—are you ready for it?—2032!

    • Duke Cox says:

      Are we finally ready to shitcan the old "bipartisan bargain" we claimed was fair…and there is some standard we cannot violate but our opponent can do repeatedly?

      The Republicans are worse than despicable.

      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        "The Republicans are worse than despicable."

        Sorry to disappoint you, Duke. I looked in the mirror a hour ago, when shaving, and I did not see a despicable person.

      • ParkHill says:

        The Republican Party is the Trump/Fox News Party. It is completely dominated by white supremacists, evangelical extremists, corporate interests, misogyny and cultural warriors. Explain to me how moderate voices have ANY influence against the propaganda machine.

        The future of the US will be decided on a bi-partisan agreement from all portions of the Democratic Party.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          @ParkHill: start with The Lincoln Project, Republican Voters Against Trump, The Bulwark dot com; Republicans for the Rule of Law, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Citizens Against Government Waste (this one, I think, was started by the late Senator John McCain). 

          I’m aware of a couple common sense green conservative groups on the way. But their web sites aren’t active yet. Yes, I have a couple “fingers” in certain of these pies (but not the Lincoln Project). 

          • ParkHill says:

            Policy shops, activists and organizations. A news site.

            I'm not being snarky, but none of these have any actual influence in the GOP, do they? Do they actually represent Republican voters?

            Have they put forward any candidates to compete for votes with the Republican Base?

            I mean, most of the "moderate" Republicans have been purged from office if not from the Party, right.

            • Conserv. Head Banger says:

              Look at the 2018 mid-terms. Many of the seats taken by Dems from Republicans were taken from moderates. 

     represents voters. And, yes, in the past, like the past 20 years, certain green conservative organizations have had influence. Prior to the Great Recession in 2008, a group called Republicans for Environmental Protection did annual scorecards of the voting records of Republican congressionals and publicized the heck out of them. That was called “shining the light of day” on their actions, both the conservation champions and those who weren’t so good.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      I think expanding the court may be more useful as a threat than an action.

      As an action, it might not get enough votes in Congress. And if it does get enough, it may be viewed soo poorly by a significant number of voters that the Republicans regain at least the Senate.

      However, as a threat:

      1. The existing court will likely be more careful in how far they reach. Because overreach will increase support for adding justices.
      2. The threat may be enough to get passed a constitutional amendment setting term limits for judges (which makes sense now that "lifetime" tends to be decades longer) and specifies the court is exactly 9 justices.
      3. The threat may be enough to get the court to abide by legislation that spells out who determines the constitutionality of laws & how (the court deciding is not in the Constitution or legislation, it's purely a court decision finding that they had that power).
      4. The threat may be enough to enforce legislation that limits what legislation the court has the power to review (this has never been used, but is clearly something that can be set in law).

      I agree we need to do something. However, I think Biden's commission could well come up with something that works better than increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court. Because even if it grows, and grows again, there is something very anti-democratic about an appointed group having final say on legislation.

      And we'll never get the genie back in the bottle where the court found a law unconstitutional once every 50 years. Liberal or Conservative, it's become a law-making body.


      • Conserv. Head Banger says:

        Wise words, David. The far left predicted the sky would fall on us all when Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were confirmed. That hasn't happened.

        Still, vigilance is in order now that there is a 6-3 Federalist Society margin on the SCOTUS, for a country that is basically centrist.

        • Duke Cox says:

          CHB…what part of the sky remains intact? Are you saying we aren’t at a critical, pivotal moment. Of course, you appear to have no problem with what Trump and McConnell have done. After all., you identify as ” conservative” and a 6-3 court, legislating from the bench is a thing Conservatives (big C) have been lusting for forever.

          You are happy now…no?

          • Conserv. Head Banger says:

            "Of course, you appear to have no problem now……"

            I'm lovin' it. You live to mis-quote me and put words in my mouth that never came out.

            • Duke Cox says:

              I am sorry I misunderstood you. I didn’t catch your criticism of the Merrick Garland treachery. If you believe what Mitch and Donnie have done is reprehensible, please, just come right out and say so. 

              Again, I apologize for misreading your comments. Please answer my question…What is your perception of what the Republican party represents? Are you on board? A company man…team player?

              Are you OK with APB on the SCOTUS?

              If not, how can you continue to call yourself a Republican?

              Perhaps if you weren’t so petulant and clever with your answers. If you were to hold off on the assholery, and just answer the fucking question. 

              Thank You


        • spaceman65 says:

          This is the most conservative court since the early 1900s, the lovely court that gave us Lochner.  The current court has given us ridiculous decisions, including Shelby and Hobby Lobby. Since the GOP denied even a vote on Garland, it has altered the court for pure political power reasons, and admission that the court is fair game for politics.  Time to stop pretending that SCOTUS is an august neutral body.  It isn't.  Never has been.  It's time to expand the court to 15.  And any time a justice reaches 80 without retiring, a seat is added.  Also, with 15 justices the court could hear more cases, instead of the trifling numbers it hears now. 

          • Conserv. Head Banger says:

            @spaceman65: so you disagree with the 5-4 SCOTUS decision that upheld the treaty rights of native Americans, living on the Wind River Reservation in WY, to hunt outside of the state’s seasons on their own sovereign property? Neil Gorsuch cast the 5th and deciding vote.

            Considering that the country’s population now approaches 330 million, that by itself could be a reason to justify a modest expansion of the SCOTUS.

            • spaceman65 says:

              I don't disagree with that decision.  But there should be a Justice Garland, and there isn't.  And Gorsuch, who I know, is much more conservative than Garland.  And Kavanaugh is more conservative than Gorsuch (despite going to the same HS as Gorsuch).  And Barrett is a shill who's been appointed to the 7th and now SCOTUS by Trump.  The GOP has played politics with the court, and the nation is suffering because of it.  And that will only get worse.  We've placed too much power in the court, and as a consequence it is more politically-charged than ever.  None of the far right justices cares much about stare decisis because they're "originalists" (i.e., judges playing bad amateur historians).  As a liberal, and a lawyer, I think there is no reasonable solution except to expand the court.  Or start stripping SCOTUS (and the lower federal courts) of jurisdiction.

      • MADCO says:

        I promise, really promise for sure this time,  Charlie Brown that I will hold the football until after you kick it.


        Don't throw me in that briar patch, br'er fox. Serious governing based on nonpartisan love of country is something I could never, ever get over. I just couldn't stand it and would never over step or even be able to get back in power.



        The McConnell standard is clear – do what is possible not what is comfortable or reasonable. Possible is the only standard to apply when evaluating a vision for America. Possible is whatever is in the Constitution of the United States.

        Anyone who thinks a D congress showing restraint and statesmanship will be rewarded in the mid-terms or any future election with anything other than the same kind of mid-term love Obama got in 2010 – you are the problem with the party. And you may as well forget 2024. 



      • Genghis says:

        I'd favor increasing the number of SCOTUS justices as well as doing away with life tenure by imposing term limits of federal judges with no opportunity for a re-up once a term expires. The former could be done via legislation, while the latter requires the near-impossible, a federal constitutional amendment.

        Jurisdiction stripping? Meh. Not really a fan. It's well established that the jurisdiction provisions in the constitution are not self-executing, so Congress can limit federal jurisdiction over just about anything except the types of cases that fall within the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction. Three things, though.

        First, there have been hundreds if not thousands of jurisdiction stripping bills introduced in Congress. The failure rate is so spectacularly high that it really isn't worth the effort.

        Second, jurisdiction stripping can work against you as easily as it can for you. Remember all the wingnut jurisdiction stripping bills designed to keep federal courts from hearing abortion and Establishment Clause cases? Fuck that noise.

        Third, state courts can decide federal constitutional questions and interpret federal statutes as well. Congress has no authority to limit state court jurisdiction, so neutering the federal courts would mean that, as to the issues stripped out of federal jurisdiction, the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes have vastly different effects depending on what state you're in.

    • davebarnes says:

      Kidnapping and execution is a remedy according to someone: "I mean, we'll have to see if it's a problem. Right? People are entitled to say maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn't,"

  2. davebarnes says:

    Today is National Oatmeal Day.

  3. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    The real national election guide that matters arrived in my e-mail in-box a couple minutes ago:   Your 2020 Cannabis Election Guide, from Hoban Law Group.

    Seriously, Cannabis; and hemp; should be legal everywhere that tobacco is legal. It's that "freedom thing." 

    • MADCO says:

      "Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:

      heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote"

      US Federal Government (

      So, while I agree with your libertarian approach in this are of American jurisprudence , the boundary is more likely to move the wrong direction, especially if the question ends up in the federal courts.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Hemp was removed from Schedule I in the 2018 Farm Bill and reclassified as an agricultural crop following 80 years of Prohibition.  Biden has evolved on marijuana and supports, at a minimum, decriminalization.  I know an old poster here, Whisky Lima Juliet, has had significant (and ongoing conversations) with #TeamBiden on the cannabis/(failed)War on Drugs conversation. I expect we'll see significant marijuana reform in the next Congress. 

      Up yours, Fluffy. 

      • MADCO says:

        hemp never belonged on the list – can I blame Monsanto?

        "substances" is the one that always bothers me
        If I like to drink coolant – who are the DEA to say I shouldn't?

        I used to drink Coors Light – no one stopped me.

        • MichaelBowman says:

          I’d love to – but Monsanto didn’t exist in 1937 (although their new parent company Bayer AG did). 

          We can lay the 1937 blame on DuPont, Hearst and Rockefeller. You can thank Tricky Dick for his disastrous, racist War on Drugs and the placement of hemp on Schedule 1 in 1970.

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    If you're looking for something enjoyable – The Queen's Gambit is the best series I have seen in years. The only thing I can think of that is as good is Money Heist (first 2 seasons).

    My wife & I stayed up till midnight finishing it the second night we watched. It's brilliant.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Don't have Netflix. Funny thing is that in the 7+ months of pandemic, I've watched far less TV than in the months prior.

      Been re-reading David Weber books. Soon to start again on Tony Hillerman's Navajo Nation books. Then maybe the National Park, and other, mysteries by Nevada Barr.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      That's next on my list after I finish Borgen. 

    • Genghis says:

      Recommendation seconded! That series is superb. In addition to all its other merits, it brought back memories of my duffer/woodpusher days from decades long gone, days that involved quite a bit of USCF tournament chess.

      • kwtree says:

        I’ll have to check it out. I used to coach a middle school chess club. I found that some of the kids with severe ADD were actually very good at the kind of global “big picture”  thinking chess requires. 

        It was fun to escort my cadre of inner city tough guys in their long tees and shorts to go up against private school preppies, who would always underestimate them. We would place in the top three more often than not. 

  5. DavidThi808 says:

    Ok, my estimate for the election (you heard it here first):

    1. Biden gets over 350 electoral votes. And 380 would not surprise me.
    2. We Dems get 53 seats in the Senate, and 55 would not surprise me.
    3. Biden, and Senate where there is one, get over 55% in North Carolina, Arizona, & Nevada – making them blue states (following Colorado's trajectory).
    4. Biden gets Florida, but at most 2 % making it a purple state.
    5. Biden takes the Great Lake states including Penn. Some by over 5% pushing them back into the blue category.
    6. Georgia, South Carolina, & Texas will be nail biters.
    7. In Texas the Dems take the state house (barely). They do not take the Senate seat, but lose by less than 2% making Texas purple.
    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      I’ll err on the side of conservatism, and be pleasantly surprised if there is more. 

      Dems get a net gain of four Senate seats, putting them at 51. Biden regains PA, MI, WI, adds IA, and becomes President-Elect Biden.

      AZ, FL, GA too close to call just now, but Biden is in good position. NC better for Biden. TX stays R, thanks to voter suppression (1 ballot drop box per county, meaning 1 box for couple million voters in Harris County).

      My main source: the Election Project by The Economist. Their electoral vote projection; updated in the last hour; is Biden 353, Trump 185.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        I think the voter suppression efforts may be backfiring. I saw an interview with an African-American male in Georgia (or South Carolina) after he waited in line 7 hours to vote.

        When asked why he waited so long his answer was he was not going to let the games being played take away his vote. It was too important. I think a lot of people are seeing this for what it is and are going through whatever it takes to get their vote cast.

        It's become a badge of honor to overcome all the obstacles & cast a vote.

    • kwtree says:

      Y’all need to make an election results prediction thread. Or maybe Pols will. I’m afraid that voter suppression may keep Biden’s margin very small to nonexistent in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. But I still think he’ll win. 

      I’d like to see a virtual Pols meetup, either before or after November 3. Any takers on hosting it? Cook, I know you said that your wife Karen might like to host a Pols zoom shindig. A watch party might be fun, too. Drinking games, celebrating or cursing the returns, plotting actions to respond to $rump’s likely shenanigans….


    • MADCO says:

      and the president is decided when?

      closer to 
      Nov 4

      Dec 4


  6. ParkHill says:

    Josh Marshal at TPM on why Trump is abusing Martha McSally “Flesh Carnival of Trumpism”:

    For Trump weakness and injury are shameful. Weeks ago we learned that he was disgusted by the presence of soldiers with disfiguring injuries. Those who experience or suffer them he treats with contempt and ridicule, even when they try to praise him lavishly. He has contempt for McSally and abuses her publicly because she is losing, failing and that is contemptible. This is one of the central dynamics of the flesh carnival of Trumpism: he demands fealty but also sees those who give it most fulsomely with contempt and derision. He sucks all of them dry of whatever dignity they possessed. They surrender it willingly.

    For Trump you are either dominating or being dominated. There is no middle ground. He tells us this in countless ways, from his frequent insistence that the rest of the world is “laughing” at us to most of the metaphors and claims that he uses to navigate public life. Mutual collaboration is utterly alien – a blindness that is a throughline from his most intimate relationships to his way to understanding and managing America’s relationship with the other states of the world. You’re dominating or falling in line. And even though he demands the latter he treats those who give it with contempt and ridicule.

    • MADCO says:

      I wasn't there, but I've read books, seen movies, plays and opera and it sounds like that is just how it goes at the royal court.

      My guess is that the same is generally true in the conference rooms and negotiating sessions at Deutsche Bank, Panamanian, and the associated courtrooms.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      @ParkHill: the MSNBC interviews with Mary Trump, the president's niece, in recent weeks have been quite enlightening along those lines from TPM.

  7. MichaelBowman says:

    Joe Biden has been elected President? 

    Our long national nightmare is over? 

    Trump has been spotted in Moscow? 

  8. itlduso says:

    Two respected pollsters yesterday released results in Wisconsin.  Marquette University showed a Biden lead of 5 points (48/43, likely voters, 4.4 MOE).  Washington Post/ABC showed a Biden lead of 17 points (57/40, likely voters, 4 pt MOE). 
    You might say, good it’s locked up.  I say, WTF?!?  How can polling be that far off so close to the election?  
    Yesterday I noted how Trump can pull off an Electoral College tie by losing WI and MI, but winning other states like PA, TX, FL, OH, GA, NC.  All states he won in 2016.  
    Given the bizarre polling in WI, no one should be assured of a Biden win much less a landslide.  Could it happen? Sure.  But I don’t think we know shit.


    • NOV GOP meltdown says:

      The election may very well be a Biden blowout, but it has to be.  Any result that is remotely close will ensue in all sorts of Trump shitbaggery, cheating, lawsuits, etc. in an attempt to tip the scales.  It has to be so far apart so as to render the Trump campaign completely hopeless.  So yes, GOTV.

      • itlduso says:

        And, if this election is stolen from us, we need to get out our old copies of Edward Abbey's "The Monkey Wrench Gang".  It's a novel about how a intrepid band of pranksters do all sorts of disruptive activities against developers in Southern Utah (like pouring sand in the gas tanks of bulldozers and blowing up the Glen Canyon Dam, if I recall correctly.)  That is, throwing a monkey wrench into the gears of the federal government.  If they succeed in violating norms like counting all valid votes, then there are other norms like, say, filing accurate tax returns, that could also be violated.  Let's hope for a blowout.


  9. RepealAndReplace says:

    Not directly related to Colorado but interesting none the less….


    Doesn’t he understand that the discovery phase of the case will be all about the pool boy and Falwell’s other sexual peccadilloes.

    Bring on the depositions!

  10. MichaelBowman says:

    127 hours. 

  11. RepealAndReplace says:

    No one ever said you need to dress like a slob to work on the class struggle…..

    And to think, they used to call Kyrsten Sinema the “Prada Socialist.” 

    PS Who knew Q-bert shopped at Macy’s? I would have pegged her for Murdoch’s.

  12. MADCO says:

    OUAT, in a different life in Chicago – I met a few local politicos.

    One of my faves wore a suite and tie over a white shirt with black shoes 100% of the time. Every day.

    I am pretty sure it was the exact same suit and shoes for the years I knew him.
    I liked him because he was great for his neighborhood. So great, I used to push on my alderman to be more like that guy.  Which allowed him to acknowledge that he aspired to be as awesome as that guy. 

    Clothes don't matter.

  13. 2Jung2Die says:

    Well, this might freak y'all libruls the hell out, but there may have been, how you say – chicanery or less than honorable intent – in the whole Hunter Biden story:

  14. Duke Cox says:

    Let me echo your recommendation about this book. I can't tell you how many times someone has said to me, " Hey, Duke!", only to follow with, " have you ever read that book? The protagonist, of course, is George Hayduke. He is quite a character.

    And it is a helluva good story.

  15. itlduso says:

    Ad suggestion:  I wonder how long Iraqis had to wait in line to vote and get their purple finger.  My guess is that it’s less than the 4 or 6 or 8 hours Americans have had to endure thanks to GOP voter suppression.  

  16. notaskinnycook says:

    Deleting duplicate

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