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May 30, 2018


"Fallout" Sniper Rifle: Now A Marshmallow Shooter!

Parthian mounted archers seem to have been effective even without stirrups.

stirrups make you even better.

anybody here into siege engines?

An old saying has it that it takes 7 years to master the bow, 7 weeks for the crossbow and 7 days for the arquebuse.

An important factor for the decline of the longbow was the near extinction of the trees they were made from (on the red list even today in Europe).

A breakthrough for firearms was the invention of ways to produce synthetic saltpeter thus becoming independent of the near monopoly of Venice. Early pyrotechnical textbooks were full of warnings about merchants (in particular Venetian ones) diluting the stuff and provided testing methods.

But some princes used up more gunpowder for fireworks than the military in major battles.

anybody here into siege engines?

Which type in particular? Mobile turrets, rams,catapults?

Who knew there were specialists?

I sometimes give small onager kits to grade-school age kids, along with some small Nerf balls to use as ammo. Gets them using simple tools, then they get to chuck harmless stuff all over the house. Moms generally hate it, which only adds to the appeal.

I used to work with a guy who did the punkin chucking thing every year. Those guys take it pretty seriously.

Mom: What's that, Timmy.

Kid: It's an onager kit, Mom, so I can catapult stuff all over the place.

Mom: Who gave you THAT?

Kid: Some older guy with an earring. He had them in his man bag and was giving them to all the kids. He told us to knock ourselves out. Mom, what does "knock ourselves out" mean?

Mom (reaching for her cellphone): You no never mind. Does this man have a name?

Kid: He told us to call him Uncle Tonoose. He plays the bongos in the park.

What's in a name?


He told us to call him Uncle Tonoose. He plays the bongos in the park.


it's true, I have been known to play bongos in the park.

I have a question about Uncle Tonoose. Here is the "Uncle Tonoose meets Mr. Daly" episode from the Danny Thomas show. Uncle Tonoose is supposed to be Thomas' eccentric ethnic uncle from Toledo, while Mr. Daly is Kathy's regular old standard issue American dad.

When the episode begins, Mr. Daly is unpacking his suitcase for his visit with the Thomases. He reaches into his suitcase, like, four or five times, and each time he pulls out more ties.

How many fucking ties does this guy own? He's bringing, what, 10 or 20 ties with him, for a family visit? Is he a tie salesman, and he's bringing the sample case along, just in case he has an opportunity to do a little business while he's on vaca?

Is he staying, like, for five months? How many ties can you wear in a day?

If you ask me, Tonoose is not the oddball here. Just saying.

Also, too, IMO Hans Conried is one of the truly unappreciated geniuses of the 20th C.

The man was the voice behind Snidely Whiplash, for gods sake.

Some say the pure in heart will be the last ones standing, my money is on the pranksters.

Uncle Tonoose...now there's a walk down memory lane. All those early TV shows were...I dunno, sort of what the world was made of. Danny Thomas. The Honeymooners. I Love Lucy. Arthur Godfrey. Art Linkletter. The Mickey Mouse Club. Spin and Marty! The Wonderful World of Color! The Lone Ranger. Maverick. The Rifleman. Lassie. My Three Sons. Father Knows Best. Bronco Lane.

Sheesh. Where did the time go?

Probably everyone knew this but me, but Halle Berry's name came from Halle's department store in Cleveland. When I was little, Halle's had commercials on TV at Christmas time about Mr. Jingeling. I can still sing the chorus, but since you can't hear me, YouTube provides:

Mr. Jingeling, how you tingeling
Keeper of the keys
On Halle's seventh floor we'll be waiting for
You to turn the keys.

Okay, so looking that up reminds me of all the more local Cleveland stuff.....Captain Penny. Dorothy Fuldheim.

And so it goes.

I had the worst/best crush on Shari Lewis when I was nine years old.

It killed me every time she rubbed noses with Lamb Chop.

Charlie Horse.

She grew up in the Bronx.

Janie, did you get a show called Popeye and Knish in Cleveland?

He was a Pittsburgh puppeteer. Not great.

But Saturday mornings, in my baseball player jammies, were first Tarzan Theater movies, two in a row, and then Popeye cartoons hosted by Hank Stoll and his puppet Knish.

Then Chiller Theater on Saturday nights late with Chilly Billy Cardilly.

Mr. Daly was played by William Demarest, who for awhile I believe, held the record for the number of character actor parts he played in movies and TV.

He played tough guys on either side of the law in the 1930s and 1940s.

Come to think of it, I had a crush on Marjorie Lord, too.

I'm betting the tie thing was an old vaudeville piece of business.

Saturday mornings I couldn't wait for Fury, My friend Flicka, Lassie,and Sky King back to back.

anybody here into siege engines?

The first present my husband ever gave me was a huge Taschen book of the complete paintings and drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci, because I told him I'd always had a thing for his drawings (as opposed to his paintings). I'm sure you know he designed siege engines, as well as other instruments of war. The drawings are utterly wonderful - I can't find a really good link, but while I was looking I found this wonderful thing - archers and siege engine in one! I have no idea who Thomas the Slav was, though, or where Blachernae was, I'm now going to go and look it all up!


Count -- I don't remember getting Popeye and Knish. But I don't remember Saturday morning cartoons all that vividly -- it may be that I never got the habit because of my night-person/sleep late in the morning tendencies, which manifested pretty early......

We got channels 3, 5, and 8, all from Cleveland, and later our world got ever so much wider when we also started to get channel 12 from Erie.

Remember making your youngest sibling get up and change the channel? ;-) Mine still remembers that, let me tell you.

Ozzie and Harriet. Sea Hunt. Sky King, yes, and I'm sure we watched Fury but I don't remember it as well. Bonanza -- though that started a little later than some of these others (1959, acc' to Wikipedia).

The Donna Reed Show. Our Miss Brooks. Leave it to Beaver. Dobie Gillis. Jim Bowie. Kit Carson. Rin Tin Tin. Captain Kangaroo. Howdy Doody. Bat Masterson. Gale Storm. Ben Casey, and the great "who's better, Ben Casey or Dr. Kildare" debate among 7th or 8th grade girls.

There was one series set in a high school...I can picture the actor who played the principal, but I can't remember his name, or the name of the series. Anyone got any ideas?

I'm especially bemused this morning at the memory of the glorification of all those frontier heroes.......

Sometimes, when people talk about "TV" and movies they're watching these days, I wonder how anyone has enough time in the day to know all these shows, and work a job, and run a household, and raise kids. Then I start in on a list like this and realize how much time can be sunk into screens while real life still rumbles along. Besides all this TV, I went to school like everyone else, and spent *huge* amounts of time reading, and playing outside, and hanging out at Grandma's place with my cousins.

Though sorry, Count, not playing baseball, though I desperately wanted to. They wouldn't let me, because you know, a certain kind of "plumbing" (to quote a phrase) means you're incapable of certain things...and why should you care, as long as *some* people get to do it? I did play a couple of summers of park league softball when I was about 13. All the other girls were 16 or 17, and so sophisticated.......and so much better at softball. They made me the catcher because no one else wanted to do it.

The Rebel(a guy so stubborn, tough or something that he wore a Confederate uniform in often Confederate unfriendly venues), The Virgins, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke, The Cisco Kid, Paladin, Roy Rogers, Davy Crockett, Danial Boone, etc.

Gunsmoke started out on the radio. William Conrad had the voice, but not the statue for TV.

We didn't have a TV until about the mid-'50s so I remember many of the radio soap operas.

, The Virgins,

The Virginians. I think the implication was that they weren't virgins.

Sometimes, when people talk about "TV" and movies they're watching these days, I wonder how anyone has enough time in the day to know all these shows, and work a job, and run a household, and raise kids.

The other day I was talking with my grown son who asked, "How did you do everything when we were small?" and rattled off a list of things from doing stuff with kids to keeping the house in repair to a career. I pointed out that watching TV wasn't on his list of things that I did.

I wonder sometimes if my general take it or leave it attitude towards TV is because at a critical young age I lived in a rural area where there were only two channels, both fuzzy because the transmitters were 60 miles away. Long before cable and satellite, obviously. The library, OTOH, was and is hugely important to me.

Okay, so I've probably asked this question before, but since we're reminiscing about fifties TV I'll ask it again and maybe someone who hasn't heard the question will know the answer.

In the early eighties I was working as a programmer in Milwaukee and ended up debugging some code that a vendor had sold my company (long story, and weren't those the days?). In a comment line just before the logical end of the program, the programmer wrote:

"Pop goes the fil-um, good night."

This made a light bulb of memory go on in my head -- it was the ending tag line of some kids' TV show, surely a cartoon, that we watched in the fifties. But I couldn't remember what show. I've been asking people ever since, and once Google came on the scene I started asking Google too, but have never gotten an answer.

The programmer had it exactly right in that "film" was pronounced with two syllables.


I’m often surprised to find out that commenters here are older than I am. Without specific information telling me otherwise, I tend to assume a given person is a young wipper-snapper, relatively speaking, to some degree. This is a youthful-presenting group (in a good way - not with folly and hubris).

Janie: There was one series set in a high school

I remember two: "Room 222" and "Welcome Back, Kotter". I'm betting you're thinking of the former. Michael Constantine was the principal; when last seen, he played the father in "My Big, Fat Greek Wedding".

Fifty years ago today, I might well have been watching 3 Stooges shorts and Rocky and Bullwinkle reruns on some local (Boston) TV kids show. Not "Major Mudd", I think; that was weekday mornings. There was also a sci-fi-ish puppet (not cartoon) show called "Stingray" which appealed to the nascent engineer in me because of the cool submarine.

Tip of the hat to The Count for the revelation that Uncle Tonoose was Snidely Whiplash.

In the evenings of that period (exercising my newly-acquired English) I remember watching the original Adam West "Batman", the "Beverly Hillbillies", and a show called "Family Affair" which I still believe was subliminally responsible for my career choice. (It featured an "engineer" who lived in a luxurious apartment on 5th Ave and had Sebastian Cabot for a butler.) This was all after the evening news, of course, which featured the daily Vietnam body counts between the sports and weather segments.


TP -- You're just a youngster. ;-)

Both those series (per Wiki) came on the air after I started college, from which time I watched very little TV for the rest of my life. Well, if by very little you include infinite M*A*S*H reruns, several years of Hill Street Blues, some Gilmore Girls, etc.

This show was earlier (50s/60s, not 70s) than those. I will try to ferret out the name of the actor I'm remembering -- he was in a lot of things over the years.

About the only time that I remember my father laughing at a cartoon was when Dishonest John tunneled into a fort, came up inside the armory, struck a match for light, and blew the place up. When the smoke cleared, DJ appeared tattered and smoldering and said, "I'm smoking more now and enjoying it less."

Mr. Novak. The principal was played by Dean Jagger.

It only ran for a couple of years. Even Google barely remembers it, but I never would have dredged it up on my own.

Janie, I'd guess you are thinking of Our Miss Brooks.

, Paladin,

Have Gun, Will Travel

Category: 1950s American Television Series

Russell ferreted out the Uncle Tonoose/Snidely Whiplash connection, but no matter.

I'm sure you know he designed siege engines, as well as other instruments of war.

Da Vinci designed a simple bridge that could be assembled on the spot by a couple of guys from tree limbs. It is the essence of genius.

Check it out.

"Pop goes the fil-um, good night."

That is how all of my mother's people pronounced it. New York / New Jersey regional dialect, particular to a certain socioeconomic class, of a particular time.

If you were NYC / NJ lower middle class in the first half of the 20th, chances are that's how you pronounced it.

Also - favorite code comments:

One guy I worked with began all of this error handling stuff with the comment "GNASH YOUR TEETH IN DESPAIR!".

Another guy annotated a particularly opaque sequence of code with the suggestion that it be treated as a primitive religion - don't try to understand, just chant the right words in the right order, or else you will be visited by plagues.

When I was a kid, Warner Bros Looney Tunes, Rocky and Bullwinkle, and the Little Rascals were my world. I'll probably be watching them someday in the day room of the old folks' home, laughing my fool ass off.

My favorite western remains Maverick -- at least the ones James Garner was in.

But the image that sticks with me is the intro to one that had the cavalry racing out the gate of a fort, pealing off right and left. I think there was a bugle call playing. No clue what the show was, or even whether it actually featured the cavalry troop.

The ... FUGITIVE, brought to you by Quinn Martin Productions.

I still watch episodes on Netflix, but the voice- over at the beginning and end are so melodramatic that it makes me laugh now.

I wanted to be him. Skulking about in borderline jobs, his collar up, on the run, leaving town by hitching a ride in the back of a truck, or on a greyhound, on the scent of the one-armed man.

Yet another woman, and the indefatigable Lieutenant Girard, left behind in the nick of time, before love and prison can cramp his style.

Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Cochise, Have Gun, Will Travel (in which Richard Boone once shot a guy and the victim rolled over and over for at least twenty feet, on completely level ground, at which point my Dad let out an "Aw, c'mon!" from his easy chair in the den.


The Real McCoys. Luke and Little Luke. Sugar Plum. Walter Brennan with that scene-stealing hitch in his get-along demanding to know "Where's Hassie?"

Ask Pipino ... he knew.

Richard Diamond, Private Detective, in which we were introduced to the legs and the sultry voice, but nothing more, of his answering service gal, a very, very young Mary Tyler Moore.

Yes, the Donna Reed Show. Now, there was an actress who fugitive Richard Kimball would have remained in town for, perhaps forever hiding in a hay loft, with Donna Reed sneaking away from her family and bringing him soup, sympathy, and solace.

I can still watch the Dick Van Dyke show and Andy Griffith like they are freshly made.

I perfected Dick Van Dyke's somersault over my Dad's ottoman and would land directly in front of the TV in a sitting Indian pow-wow position, my chin settled in my hand and ready to watch.

Sea Hunt. Jeff and Beau Bridges as kids.

Ozzie and Harriet. The entire family and the rest of the cast, except for buddy Wally Plumstead with the silly laugh, were preternaturally soft-spoken. It was almost spooky, the quiet civility of it, even when they were perturbed, coming from a family, as I did, where "Pass the salt, please" could be a spoken bill of thinly-veiled recrimination.

Excepting when my mother said it.

Yup, Bugs Bunny and Our Gang, the latter on Saturday mornings, too.

And Rocky and Bullwinkle. Fractured Fairy Tales.

It was The LONG Ranger and HALF Gun, Will Travel, it seemed to my ear, for awhile.

wj, at first I thought of Rin Tin Tin. But there's no scene quite like what you describe.

Boots and Saddles is a little more like it...but maybe still not quite the thing.

While I was looking for those I was reminded of some other great themes...



...as well as of a very depressing opening that didn't faze me a bit when I was a kid: The Rifleman. Little did I know where we were heading.


GNASH YOUR TEETH made me laugh out loud. You gotta do something for laughs while you're writing code, right?

And the DaVinci bridge is beyond cool. I'm going to send that to a couple of people I know who will enjoy it immensely.

Was it F Troop?

Mister Ed. Wil-il-il-hilburrrr!

Fractured Fairy Tales

The princess kisses the frog and turns into a frog.

"They lived happily ever after, but they croaked every night."

Fractured Fairy Tales was definitely an underappreciated gem.


I have a program that I still use occasionally, written in C originally at Bell Labs circa 1976, then modified by folks at Yale, Berkeley, and Purdue, moving from one machine/compiler combination to another multiple times, before it fell into my hands. Some of the comments about work-arounds for various compilers are interesting.

(Yes, you read that correctly. C code some of which is >40 years old.)

The Da Vinci bridge is amazing. Thanks russell.

In Florence, they had an exhibition of built Da Vinci machines, smaller scale, in wood, that you could actually operate. It was really interesting, and you could see (as with the bridge) the simplicity and therefore the brilliance of the mind that had devised them. But unlike the bridge you couldn't have made them with branches lopped off a nearby tree.

Also - favorite code comments:

i maintain some code that has the following comments:

"Are you tired of inhaling noxious gas?"


"Beware the many-chinned man."

they appear in the middle of functions and there's no context for either of them.

my Saturday AM was Little Rascals, Woody Woodpecker and Loony Tunes

I wanted to be him. Skulking about in borderline jobs, his collar up, on the run, leaving town by hitching a ride in the back of a truck, or on a greyhound, on the scent of the one-armed man.

i started watching that show during a summer at college. i watched it every day for three months. i so wanted to be him. screw studying to be a worker worker drone. i wanted to be On The Run! he didn't look hungry or bored. he had shit to do, places to be (or, to get away from at least). sign me up!

As to this from russell:

"Pop goes the fil-um, good night."

That is how all of my mother's people pronounced it. New York / New Jersey regional dialect, particular to a certain socioeconomic class, of a particular time.

If you were NYC / NJ lower middle class in the first half of the 20th, chances are that's how you pronounced it.

The code was written by someone working for a company in Emeryville, California, in the late seventies/early eighties. Since practically everyone had stars in their eyes about California when I was growing up, it wouldn't be at all surprising if the coder was a transplant from NY/NJ.

On the other hand, since it was a quote from a TV show........I swear it was!........the coder's rendering might just have been because of the TV show's pronunciation.

Sigh. I keep a list of these mysteries -- threads of memory or reference that I can't identify -- and this one is certainly the longest-lasting -- since about 1982!

In this part of the world "fillum", as I think we would write it, is a Geordie pronunciation - what my wife would say.

Fractured Fairy Tales

the inimitable hans conried, once again.

Yes, you read that correctly. C code some of which is >40 years old

I miss working in C. A really simple language, in the end, and you can do anything with it.

Just the facts, ma'am, no syntactic sugar, no tricky bits under the hood. what you see is what you get.

50 years from now, there will code running machines doing useful stuff in the real world, in C.

and, COBOL. go figure.

"They lived happily ever after, but they croaked every night."

Well, I got the ending a bit wrong.

Fractured Fairy Tales - The Frog Prince - 1960

Fractured Fairy Tales

"the inimitable hans conried, again."

If you mean the narrator, that was the equally inimitable Edward Everett Horton.


I miss working in C. A really simple language, in the end, and you can do anything with it.

my current task is writing a REST microservice... in C. what Java + Spring could accomplish in literally one single-word annotation, takes 30 minutes of boilerplate C. and string manipulation (crafting JSON, filling in HTTP headers, constructing URIs) takes ages.

my kingdom for a StingBuilder

my current task is writing a REST microservice... in C.

ok, that is a bit like building a car from a pile of sheet metal and a pair of pliers.

ritchie and kernighan would probably say, "well, first build a string builder!".

easy for them to say.

that is a weird language choice for that purpose. python not an option? if too slow, maybe golang?

what Java + Spring could accomplish in literally one single-word annotation, takes 30 minutes of boilerplate C.

There are places for C. Mostly embedded places, where predictable hard real-time behavior is necessary and hardware is minimal. Last new C code I wrote was for this gadget. I'm sketching out designs for a cheap fencing scoring box, the code for which will be in C.

OTOH, my bedside appliance -- "clock" seems too simple for all the things it will eventually do -- is a Raspberry Pi. Quad processors clocked at over a gigahertz, a gig of main memory, full Linux. Unless I get into local speech recognition, none of my code there is going to be in C.

This is a youthful-presenting group (in a good way - not with folly and hubris).

Pretty much everyone seems (a) willing to at least consider embracing change and (b) generally optimistic. Those are two things that too often disappear with age. Even the Count's rants seem (to me) to come off as oddly optimistic.

I'm immature for my age.

I'm still thinking we can work it out, but maybe only after the considerable carnage it will take to dispatch the ratf*ckers among us.

Let them eat poisoned cake.

I'm going to be in NYC for two-plus weeks this month and I'm going to find these guys at the 14th Street subway station:


Count me in on working it out but count me out until these ilk are liquidated:


What izzat ... constitutional Jazz? The improvisational make-it-up-as-we-go-along bullshit of America is entering its end game.

What happens when a banana republic goes bananas, or to paraphrase Soupy Sales (see how I wedged the old TV show theme into this), "For whom will the banana cream pie cream?"

Republicans are going to be very sorry that after 230 years they made up an individual right to own and bear pies out of the poorly punctuated pigshit of the Second Amendment.


One day, once the conservative mp menace has been dispatched, depantsed, and deported, we can come together. But not until they feel my disease good and hard.


The Trump administration looks likely to take a run at invoking national security to prop up coal and nuclear electricity generation.

I don't give it much chance of standing up in court. The last time these were invoked was during the California fiasco in 2000-01. Then, local authorities were declaring states of emergency. This time, local operators seem to be saying "What emergency? The grid is fine."

I may be biased because I pay a lot more attention to the Western Interconnect than to the power grid in the rest of the country. (The US has three very largely independent power grids -- the Western, Eastern, and Texas.)

the mp administration is going to invoke national security for EVERYTHING as it brings violence down on its heads.

Kevin Phillips foretold what is coming to the republican party:


And, for that matter, to the Democratic Party as well.

But one dragon at a time.

Trump has figured out (or someone has figured out how to explain it to him simply enough for him to grasp) that invoking "national security" lets him do lots of stuff. It may be totally bogus; usually is. But Congress gave Presidents a lot of authority, in the (previously justified) expectation that they would use it judiciously.

The long term effect will, I suspect, be that Presidential discretion gets reined way back. But meanwhile, things look to get seriously trashed.

"in the (previously never justified) expectation that they would use it judiciously."

Fixed that.

several years of Hill Street Blues

russell has jokingly proposed that our new ObWi motto should be Damn John Jay, and damn everyone who won't..., and everybody knows how much I love that. But under current circumstances, I rather favour the old Hill Street Blues one at the end of the preliminary morning briefing:

Let's be careful out there!

Although, which is more suitable for the Count, I seem to remember that in the first series it was:

Let's do it to them before they do it to us!

My recollection is that "Let's be careful out there" was the original catchphrase. "Let's do it to them..." was used in later series by the replacement desk sergeant.

How funny, my memory is the other way round, with a desk sergeant who was replaced for reasons I can't remember. But my memory is quite likely to be faulty these days!

I don't think "judiciously" means what Marty thinks it means.




The man's got to communicate.

With his base, the Russians.

But he also needs to tweet out messages on jobs data, for example, before the official releases so that his vermin crime family can place their bets in stock market futures in bourses around the world.

The Hill Street Blues desk sergeant was replaced because the actor who played him died, sadly:


Marty, care to offer up an example of a previous President who invoked "national security" as nonchalantly, against allies, as Trump? ("Never" would imply all of them have. But let's start slowly....)

Yup, Pro Bono is right again. My memory is officially fncked!

For those of you who have taken up watching Korean dramas, Netflix is streaming the Netflix Original Life, a Hill Street Blues like police drama. It has a larger ensemble cast and better production values than Korean police dramas generally have. Perhaps Netflix wrote the production company a very large check.

What izzat ... constitutional Jazz?

no, man, jazz can be free, but it's always sensible.

"making shit up" is not the same as improvisation.

Netflix Original Life,

That should be Live, not Life.

If I was younger and still programming, I would try to wrap my head around the Rust language.

And now I'm feeling pretty minimal in my programming. I can write mainframe Assembler (got a project doing that in hand). I can read and tune, but not write, CoBOL. And a bit of html. Not that much to show for a career in IT.

"invoked "national security" as nonchalantly, against allies, "

I'm curious why "against allies" is the criteria required, or nonchalantly for that matter. The last two Presidents abused the latitude provided by Congress. It was never a good idea.

I'm afraid I'm being exceptionally forgetful today. What invocation of national security did Bush or Obama use, in circumstances where there was minimal, if any, actual national security involved? Did either one invoke national security to start a gratuitous trade war, and I've just failed to remember?

And "against allies" was offered because it is not obvious, at least to my limited understanding, how we are at national security risk because we trade with allies? Do we think Canada will refuse to supply steel or aluminum if we get into a war? (Even a stupid and unjustified one.) Seriously?

"National security" or not, all presidents are inclined to play this "cut your nose to spite your face" game of tariffs. Obama's tariffs on Chinese tires cost consumers over one billion dollars, about one million dollars per job saved.

All Presidents do it a little. As with many things Trump, the difference in magnitude is so large as to become a difference in kind.


"Autarky as an ideal or method has been embraced by a wide range of political ideologies and movements, especially left-wing creeds like mutualism, Council Communism, Syndicalism, Democratic Confederalism, and Populism. It has also been used in temporary, limited ways by conservative and nationalist movements, such as the American system, the Meiji Restoration, Juche, and traditionalist conservatism. Fascist and far-right movements occasionally claimed to strive for autarky in platform or propaganda, but in practice crushed existing movements towards self-sufficiency[2] and maintained extensive capital connections in efforts to ready for war and genocide[3] while allying with business elites"

Fascist economic relations were like complicated. Beside every SS Colonel were his industrialist father and banking uncle, using force and coercion to make advantageous and provisional deals.

Autarky is a questionable and controversial left problem, Corbyn's ambivalence toward Euro integration being the most obvious example, unless you're following Italy.

wj, you said that in general it was a good idea, I disagree. Each President has pushed the limits of their powers. I have pretty much always objected, and do now.

You could probably find me objecting about Obama's imperial Presidency. Sucks when it's not your guy doing the things you want done.

But it isn't new and certainly not a difference in kind.

Obama was confronted with a legislature which, as an open political tactic, opposed everything he did regardless of its merits. He sometimes used executive powers to overcome this to an extent which displeased that legislature.

Trump has a docile legislature, but his policies are so insane he has to abuse executive powers, and lie about their purpose.

These are not the same thing.

Hmm, this is getting repetitive, but what Pro Bono said

Marty: ...certainly not a difference in kind.


Name an action that He, Trump could take that you would consider to be a "difference in kind". Fire Mueller? Pardon His son? Pardon Himself? Anything?


Holder and the FBI protected Clinton, they limited the investigation of gun running and they limited the investigation of Benghazi, all on Obama's orders. It would take pardoning himself to be a difference, much less in kind.

they limited the investigation of Benghazi

ya know, the GOP is currently running all three branches of the government right now.

if you have information on Benghazi that they weren't able to figure out, thanks to Grand Emperor Obama's illegal meddling then you should probably scoot on over to DC and tell them all what you know. i'm sure they'd love to pull out ol Hillary again for some mid-term fan service.

come on, do your party a favor, Marty. tell them what you know.

unless... say... maybe the whole Benghazi thing was just one of the bi-annual fauxpanics the GOP lights up in order to keep the base riled and ready to donate. or maybe it was just a way to keep "conservatives" from finding something about Clinton to like, in the run-up for the 2016 election - you know, LIKE THEY FUCKING SAID IT WAS.


Yore probably right cleek, it's amazing how outraged people can be over not so outrageous stuff, like negotiating trade policy.

Like it's the first time we had a trade disagreement with Canada.

wj, you said that in general it was a good idea, I disagree.

Actually, I don't believe I did say it was a good idea. Since I don't think it was -- for precisely the reason that it can be abused.

I did say was that it hadn't been abused on anything like the same scale as Trump has. And I haven't yet seen anything that convinces me otherwise.

 What invocation of national security did Bush or Obama use, in circumstances where there was minimal, if any, actual national security involved?

Almost every single time the term "national security" has been used to justify anything - usually an outrageous power grab by the executive, shameless undermining of civil liberties or militaristic 'realpolitik' i.e greed - it has fuck all to do with the actually safeguarding the nation from a real threat.

you know what?

obama was actually a really good president.

trump is so far proving to be a really crap president.

and whenever i hear 'benghazi' i look for the tin foil hat. do you really want to be that guy?

russell, I feel exactly the same way every time I hear collusion. And evrry time I hear someone day Obama was a good President. Do you want to be that guy? Tin foil abounds.

The Martygism:

Did Thomas Jefferson exceed presidential executive authority with the Louisiana Purchase? Could be.

Therefore, anything that Trump has done is not out of the ordinary.

I could go along with Marty's take on degree vs kind, but this....

Holder and the FBI protected Clinton, they limited the investigation of gun running and they limited the investigation of Benghazi, all on Obama's orders.

Is pure unmitigated bullshit right out of Infowars.

Some salutary thoughts on trade:


America is the largest gunrunner on the face of the Earth.

Not to mention gundancing:


This is how you dance while carrying:



I'm confused. If there was something to hide/investigate about Benghazi, how did years of Congressional investigation fail to uncover it? And, of course, if there wasn't there would be no need for Holder to limit anything.

I don't have the impression that our government is so adept at keeping secrets that even marginally competent Congressional investigators could fail to find a smoking gun after all that effort . . . if thete was one to be found. And, of course, they never did.

I am always amazed at the hills that Marty wants to die on. But given they all start with the sincere conviction that Obama was the worst president EVAH!, I guess I shouldn't be surprised...

I feel exactly the same way every time I hear collusion.

numerous contacts between people in trump's campaign and russian nationals, in the interest of cooperating to advance trump as a candidate, are established fact. call it what you will.

if trump, personally, actually goes down, it will likely be obstruction.

because he's a moron.

And evrry time I hear someone day Obama was a good President. Do you want to be that guy?.

i am that guy.

I am always amazed at the hills that Marty wants to die on.

marty seems to want to think he's not taking a side.

marty, you're taking a side. a poorly chosen one.

I am taking a side, against the Democratic demagoguery that is destroying our country as a pathetic and irrational reaction to losing the election.

A year and a half later. Despite all the analysis, there simply has to be an explanation where not just Trump but Republicans are more evil and corrupt or certainly they would have lost.

if you think this is all about feeling all butt-hurt because the (D)'s lost the election, your head is further up your butt than you realize.

carry on as you wish.

what i expect and in fact require of trump's supporters and defenders is that they allow the mueller investigation to proceed to its conclusion, and that they accept and live with its outcome, whatever that is.

because that's what i'll be doing. because accepting and abiding by the rule of law is better than having us all run around killing each other.

if trump's people think anything less than that will, remotely, be countenanced by the rest of us, the shit is going to hit the fan.

if folks don't like it, next time don't elect a fucking crook.

Was there collusion between Trump and Putin, in the sense of a deal by which Putin would help in the election and Trump if elected would deliver specified favours in return? No, almost certainly not. Putin wouldn't trust Trump to keep a secret like that.

Did Putin want Trump to win the election? Yes. Did he do everything he could to make that happen? Yes. We know both those things for a fact.

Why did he want Trump to win the election? Because it's in the interests of a hostile power for the US to have an incompetent and readily corruptible president.

Should the US be investigating to what extent its own nationals were involved in Russia's efforts to influence the election? Yes of course it should. You want to make it as hard as you can for Russia to choose the US president.

Is Trump incompetent? Yes, obviously. He prefers watching propaganda on television to reading actual briefings. In terms of having the faintest idea of what he's talking about he's the worst president of my lifetime by a vast margin.

Is Trump actually corrupt? Evidently foreign governments think negotiations with him go better if they help out his family business interests. And Trump, like Bush, decides with his gut not his brain. He may not even know whether a sweetener actually influences him. Which to my mind means that it does.

To be fair, I should add that Trump's gut hasn't yet done anything as disastrous as Bush's did. If Mueller could keep it that way, that would be an unexpected blessing for us all.

Putin wouldn't trust Trump to keep an agreement to deliver favors. But if he has leverage?

I expect Trump is capable of keeping his mouth shut about bribes received, for example. Or past participation in money laundering.

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