By on March 25, 2014

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We have very few rules for commenters here at TTAC. Not everyone is comfortable with that; some of our longer-serving friends remember with undisguised fondness the days when Mr. Farago ruled with an iron hand and “moderated” the posts the way a Ma Deuce “moderates” a field of mounted cavalry.

We’re also big believers in anonymity. There are multiple auto-industry people at TTAC who have privately disclosed their status in the business to us or simply signed up with their work e-mail, but we don’t share that with the world at large. Anonymity is, frankly, critical to the free flow of ideas in a world where people lose their jobs for saying the wrong thing in an arena completely unrelated to the rest of their lives.

This past weekend, we had two issues with anonymity. One was our fault — or, more properly speaking, my fault, since I permitted it to happen — and the other was the work of someone with an axe to grind.

Both of these issues have been resolved.

On Sunday, we had a post entitled “The Week That Was” by the author “Zombie McQuestionbot”. I created the Z. McQ alias some time ago based on the idea that jokey “ask the audience” posts neither require nor particularly deserve attribution, because they aren’t creative work. When you go to McDonald’s and buy a BigMac, it doesn’t come with a signature on it, because making a Big Mac is not creative work. The same is true for a “What’s Your Favorite Corvette?” or “What’s The Deal With Diesel Wagons?” post. It’s junk food, the kind of stuff you can get anywhere on the web. We have it here because when we don’t have it, people complain.

Most of the Zombie posts are written by me but I’ll hand them out sometimes when I’m busy. (Bark M. has never written one; when you think it’s Bark, it’s probably me.) This past weekend I was at Putnam Park getting my track legs underneath me again so I subbed out a Z. McQ post to another writer. In an effort to amuse me and/or further his prospects at TTAC, this writer took a swing at a former contributor of ours. Not by name, mind you, but by identifying certain characteristics of that contributor.

The resulting post was harshly criticized by the B&B, and justifiably so. As a result, it’s been deleted and the “Zombie McQuestionbot” alias will join “TTAC Staff” on the ash heap of history. From now on, we’ll attribute QOTD and Week That Was posts to the appropriate writers. I hope the B&B will accept my apology for permitting this to happen on my watch.

At approximately the same time that the Sunday post went up, we had a couple of new users register. These users used junk e-mail addresses and made their contributions using the Tor network of anonymizing proxy servers. Their posts, which usually occurred within two or three minutes of each other, contained various poorly-disguised attempts to rehabilitate the reputations of two former TTAC editors-in-chief. They also contained references to content published in a private Facebook group that is invitation-only for PR people and journalists in the auto industry. Last but not least, they contained allegations that are untrue regarding TTAC’s relationship with its writers both past and present.

I don’t believe in banning users, so we aren’t banning these users. Instead, we’re holding their usernames in a nice little lockbox, safe and secure, waiting for their owners to come claim them. All that’s required is for the people (or, more likely, person) to contact me with the identifying information for those usernames. Then that person and I will have a quick chat about his behavior, and he’ll be granted the permission to contribute again to our community. When I speak to this person, I’ll probably teach him a little bit about how Tor routes connections, so he can better disguise his geographical location next time.

The most frustrating part about this is that it represents a clear attempt to force us to break our commitment to the B&B of an open and largely Stasi-free environment. Not to worry; we will continue to wield the scalpel in preference to the broadsword. Your contributions are too vital for us to dispense with them. If you want to read an auto news website where commenters don’t exist and every opposing voice is immediately silenced, you can find that in China. But you won’t find it here.

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119 Comments on “Housekeeping: Tied To The Whippin’ Post...”


  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Amen!

  • avatar
    LALoser

    How/why do people have the time and/or inclination to do stuff like this?

    • 0 avatar
      92golf

      I’ve often wondered the same. I’ve never found a good answer.

      I guess it comes down to there being a lot of different kinds of people in the world.
      Some are worth associating with, some aren’t.

    • 0 avatar

      It happens. For example, a somewhat well-established pundit Glenn Greenwald became Internet-famous by running a massive campaign of posting pseudonymous comments at political blogs that praised Glenn Greenwald. Glenn Greenwald’s sock puppet is now a minor meme all in itself and the subject of Jack’s post is but a piker in comparison.

      • 0 avatar

        > For example, a somewhat well-established pundit Glenn Greenwald became Internet-famous by running a massive campaign of posting pseudonymous comments at political blogs that praised Glenn Greenwald.

        Sure, if the standard for “Internet-famous” is measured by very niche right-wing blogs.

        Posting on an anon blog with an anon name to defend yourself is pretty vain, but hardly the stuff of the NSA. But those conspiracy theorists sure cracked that case.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        . . .Did you post that proudly after Fox News was found to be astroturfing as well as many right-wing blogs? Nah, I’ll chalk it up to the TTAC world being a strange republican bizarro land..

        • 0 avatar

          Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with unfit comparisons.

          This is literally someone using a pseudonym on a blog like most everyone else does to rebut the usual kind of stuff about people on those blogs, with zero attempt to hide anything other than referring to himself by name (cus, you know, the whole point of a pseudonym).

          It’s pretty much par for course for the kind of “investigation” which goes on in that world.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        It seems like all that’s left of the progressive movement in this country is the deranged leading the unhinged.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Are all the anonymous things gone, since this follows the TTAC Staff Bot to the trash bin?

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I know this is contrary to the no airing of laundry aspect of the site, and I completely respect it, but I am still very curious as to what transpired with this site and the supposed subject of the Z. McQ. first paragraph. I knew early on that that person would not be around here long, but I never thought it would be due to any negativity. And that makes me a sad Fiat Panda.
    Regardless, sometimes it’s nice to know that there is just as much needless drama where other people work as where I do.
    Keep on.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    I didn’t do it, but I’d still be kind of interested to know more about finding the origin of Tor traffic beyond just an exit node, if this is what you did.

    Not here obviously, but maybe on your own site, if the prospect of writing this gets you hot.

    • 0 avatar

      Browser and OS fingerprinting can help, if the Tor user accesses other sites from the same system and those sites cooperate. Usually it’s difficult for sites to find each other, but the space may be more narrow here. For example, if the guy ever visits Jalopnik and R&T from outside of Tor. Even worse, some people may be dumb enough to visit TTAC itself to read it, and then fire up Tor to post those comments. Getting such matches does not even require Jack asking for cooperation from other publications.

    • 0 avatar

      Using Tor to hide tracks generally implies lack of sophistication for better means. Using bright urban camo is not a good disguise even if it covers your face.

      • 0 avatar
        Kinosh

        What are the issues with Tor?

        I’m genuinely curious, as I thought Tor was generally regarded as a good anonomizer.

        • 0 avatar

          > I thought Tor was generally regarded as a good anonomizer.

          Yes, it’s safe against all but the most well-heeled. However the suspicion of something to hide is not only info in itself but tends to make users targets of monitoring if not outright ban. True anonymity relies on camouflage and then misdirection in case that fails.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve read enough of your comments to know that you would never hide behind a troll account. If you have something to say, you come right out with it. It’s a quality I greatly admire about you.

      TTAC is an unusual site in that it many straight-shooters as commenters. That’s one of the reasons the community here is so great, in my opinion.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        I’m proud to have any traits that you admire, Tom. You seem as real as real gets; being genuine and honorable, plus the fact that you’re an excellent writer, make you a huge asset to this place.

        Meanwhile, I’m just a nameless random on the internet. For the record, this is my troll account.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Well now I am going to have to go find my copy of At Fillmore East.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Love that song. Nothing but pure guts.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        The whole album from beginning to end … not a bad one to be found ….

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Its tremendous. There are a number of excellent live albums from the 70s, but At Fillmore East may be the best.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Must plug Band of Gypsies here, especially “Machine Gun”.

            There’s more melodic and tonal invention in that one performance than in 99% of other guitarists’ careers.

          • 0 avatar

            Great album, and if you like it, you should try and get The Fillmore Concerts box set. The same songs and more, plus Tom Dowd was able to take advantage of the long CD playing time, so all the songs are full length and the Whipping Post -> Mountain Jam transition is intact instead of being split between At Fillmore East and Eat A Peach. I have both the original At Fillmore East and The Fillmore Concerts and the latter is what I usually play.

            Other great live albums are Little Feat’s Waiting For Columbus, Joe Cocker & Leon Russell’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen, and too many Grateful Dead vault issues to list here. I’ve also lately been listening a lot to a CD that Mark Naftalin put out with different live versions of the Butterfield Blues Bands’ East West from 1966 and 1967. Recorded on a Wollensak, they don’t have great audio quality by the music is very exciting. East West, perhaps the first extended jam on a major label, was pretty influential. I think the Allman Bros’ workup of their Joy to the World medley was taken from the Butterfield band vamping on that tune during some versions of East West.

          • 0 avatar
            Ralph ShpoilShport

            What? No love for Live Bullet?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I love Live Bullet. I’m not ashamed to say so. Every track on that album is great.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Any response that doesn’t include “The Who Live at Leeds” is the wrong answer.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Pch-

            I bought that album when I was 13 or 14. I remember Magic Bus blowing my mind. The only explanation is that Pete Townsend practices some sort of witchcraft.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            All of these albums are somewhat before my time, but I preferred them to what my contemporaries were listening to when I was a teenager.

            (For the record, I have two different versions of At Fillmore East and three of Live at Leeds. Those damned Legacy editions get me every time….)

          • 0 avatar
            Ralph ShpoilShport

            Pch: Live at Leeds was a ground breaker. Thought you might get disqualified for not being in the 70′s, but it was. Barely. It would seem Wikipedia would agree with you. “Since its initial reception, Live at Leeds has been cited by several music critics as the best live rock recording of all time.”

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m trying to think of something profound to say about the greatness of Live at Leeds, but I just can’t do it justice.

            The band had finally discovered its voice (and Daltrey had found his), and they were blessed with a larger-than-life rhythm section that could fill the gaps that would usually be dominated by a lead guitarist. Perhaps that’s what makes it so special — the performance isn’t that of a noodling lead guitarist accompanied by some guys playing backup, but of an actual band in which these four very different players could make it come together.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      If you’re at all interested in how the Allman Brothers sound really came to be .. watch the documentary ” Muscle Shoals ” Its only about a ten minute segment of the film .. but its the story thats never told .. that’ll completely surprise you .. that’ll have the Whitey Tighty red necks PO’d to the max … and well worth hearing

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    Just so we’re clear … the only time I’m seriously offended by anonymous posts … especially when from employees etc of any automobile or automotive related manufacture is when they … as they do constantly on another US site who’s moniker I shall not mention [ oddly enough always from GM only .. and never from any other auto maker * ] come on either to shill for the company in order to generate sales .. or spread blatant corporate propaganda in order to further their minders agenda .

    If they do … banning them IMO is too kind … by all rights they should be considered fair game for the rest of us to tear into … virtual fangs .. claws the works .

    Opinions are one thing . Blatant lies to benefit a corporate entity as an anonymous commentator … are another thing entirely indeed .

    But as for anonymous oddball stories etc … heck .. a little fun from the staff IMO is a good thing and greatly appreciated … in my opinion of course … others being free to disagree

    * Kind of shows just how desperate a straights GM must be in when they’re willing to pay employees on the clock to spread their propaganda on comment pages of automotive websites ..

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Thought I’d better try logging in to make sure it wasn’t me.

    Sunday is such a long way back to remember.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      +1, I have to go through my journal and make sure I haven’t committed any crimes against humanity every now and then before I go into major towns.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I can honestly say I’ve never wanted to bang your doors off their hinges, Kenmore. Now Hummer…I’ve wanted to slash his tires and drill a hole through his block…but that’s a fight for another day. :P

      I didn’t like the ‘random right-wing slander guy’ over the VW debacle because the left-wing author was a columnist and basically attacked for NOT having an economics degree.

  • avatar
    vcficus

    Ahh the Stasi… just when you thought it was safe to eat your week old saltines and bad liverwurst while tuning in to Radio America.

    Chancellor Merkel mentioned to her staff recently about the first time she and Putin sat down at a state dinner and he spoke German to her:

    “His German is very good, he speaks quietly and distinctly. It reminded me of listening to the Stasi…”

    ‘European History Not Repeating But Rhyming’ for $400 Marks, Jack…

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Bring back the dunce hat avatar for offenders.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    Interesting. Sorry I missed the dust up. The comments on this site have become such a clusterf* that I rarely bother any more.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    Thanks Jack for finally getting rid of the anonymous authors.

    EDIT: never mind, I see your comment above about industry insiders. But politically sensitive???

    Might I also suggest adding ALL regular authors to the masthead, with CVs so that we can know their INDUSTRY background / experience / authority?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      We have so many contributors that it would look a little odd — but I’ll ask our gnomes to see how much room they could carve out.

    • 0 avatar

      I think I’m the only regular anonymous contributor. And everybody knows who I am.

    • 0 avatar

      I worked for DuPont Automotive, a tier one and tier two supplier, for over 20 years, have lived in the Detroit area my entire life, and have been a car enthusiast starting with slot cars. I hope one day to restore my 1966 Lotus Elan. I’ve owned American, British,German, Japanese and Swedish cars and have wrenched most of them myself, including rebuilding two or three engines. I’ve been credentialed to major auto shows’ media previews since 2002, getting paid by others to write on cars, car culture and the auto industry for the past seven years. In addition to being published at TTAC, I’ve also had my work published at Left Lane News, Road & Track, PJMedia, and Hemmings, as well as on my own site, Cars In Depth.

    • 0 avatar

      Much like when I first began my writing career as a fashion blogger, I have no industry background beyond a love of cars, which I inherited via long-distance osmosis from my father; his current rides include a Ford Explorer SportTrac, a Harley Road King, and a ’79 Corvette in need of a new rear suspension.

      My writing credits include TTAC, Insider Louisville, Louisville.com and my since-retired — and deleted — fashion blog, 33 avenue Miquelon; I invite you all to Google my writings as soon as you have the opportunity.

      I’ve yet to attend a major new car auto show — my first was in Louisville — and the only time I made it to New York for an industry event was New York Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2011.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Much ado about nothing.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Jack and Derek:

    Keep up the great work. You guys are like the good cop that Jack encountered to other day.

    I’m a little surprised anyone feels the need to pull such trickery (and I don’t even know how it’s done). They need someone at home to talk to.

  • avatar
    saabophile

    since this seems like a ” ask your random questions” kinda topic, what happened to the weekly car reviews? Did I miss something?

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      I agree with you.

      WHERE are the vehicle reviews? Dykes appears to be self-publishing since his last TTAC test review on Feb 22.

      Has he been led out to the back lot and turned loose, or did I miss some annoumcement?

      Without serious road test reviews underpinning the site, the place is turning into a bit of a gossip column (with replies).

      Jack and Derek, getting a decent reviewer should be Job 1 right now. Braithwaite isn’t going to cut it, and capsule reviews are a poor substitute, IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      campocaceres

      I’m glad I’m not the only one wondering about this. I did notice Alex’s YouTube channel still regularly has new reviews showing up, but they’re no longer being linked here, it seems.

    • 0 avatar
      masrapida

      Maybe Alex got bored of the B&B going batshit on his excellent reviews over any errant typos that made it through the edit. But yeah, where are the reviews? I’ll only have TFLCars left to read/watch (not too bad; adding Emme Hall was a good move).

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        My my the rumor mill has been busy. Rumors of my death or departure have been greatly exaggerated. I had a week off, had a sinus infection turned bronchitis and at the moment TTAC and I are engaged in very normal (and very civilized) discussions and negotiations on a number of matters. This sort of thing happens all the time in the industry so let’s keep the wild speculation focused entirely on why Jack bought a Honda.

        • 0 avatar

          > This sort of thing happens all the time in the industry so let’s keep the wild speculation focused entirely on why Jack bought a Honda.

          Surprised the TTAC detectives haven’t “figured out” this is just Baruth posing as Dykes, or something.

  • avatar
    mic

    BTW, what do you know about Ma Deuce Jack? Great analogy lol!

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Do you ever feel like a parent refereeing a bunch of 8 year olds???

  • avatar
    Zekele Ibo

    Slightly off-topic, but the increase in ad hominem attacks in the comments is more of a problem from my point of view. They diminish significantly the quality of the discussion, something which is usually one of TTAC’s main strengths.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      Agreed. Attacks and pointless arguments that grind on for days just cause others to look elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar

      > They diminish significantly the quality of the discussion, something which is usually one of TTAC’s main strengths.

      The quality of comments from the usual self-proclaimed experts really aren’t as high as might be supposed by layman. The resulting righteous indignation when this is pointed out is perhaps even less impressive.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        ” The quality of comments from the usual self-proclaimed experts really aren’t as high as might be supposed by layman.”

        I’d have to agree with you there, you mad scientist you. Hint: your English is distinctive agenthex and interim socialbelite. Hint: power is the rate of doing work.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        ” The quality of comments from the usual self-proclaimed experts really aren’t as high as might be supposed by layman.”

        I’d have to agree with you there, u mad scientist you. Hint: your English is distinctive agenthex and interim socialbelite. Hint: power is the rate of doing work.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Righteous indignation is the equal and opposite reaction to condescension.

        You and Xeranar should come to expect it, when you treat the B&B as the D&D.

        • 0 avatar
          jhefner

          I stopped feeding these trolls back on the steam car thread. It is quite apparent that they can babel ceaselessly as one who knows what they are talking about; passing along links to their own wisdom; yet their words are obviously those of fools to anyone who knows anything about the subject matter.

          agenthex/u mad scientist obviously has some finance background; and I defer most such matters to him. But when he gets off on one of his soapbox postings; I refuse to waste time reading his comments; much less responding to them.

          When the EIC “rebooted” TTAC last year; I decided not to comment on global warming, politics, and other such hot button topics; and for the most part, I have stuck with it. Now I am adding feeding the trolls to the list.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            It’s not a matter of “feeding the trolls” when even the most innocuous statements become fodder to be dissected and ripped for the sport of it. It’s just the terminally obnoxious banging away on their keyboards from a dimly lit corner of their mama’s basement

          • 0 avatar

            > agenthex/u mad scientist obviously has some finance background; and I defer most such matters to him.

            A most interesting deduction from our crack team of detectives given what was said in the steam car thread.

            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/03/alternative-technologies-the-power-of-steam/#comment-2959465

            Maybe next week I’ll have a background in philosophy should anything esp. ponderous come up.

            > When the EIC “rebooted” TTAC last year; I decided not to comment on global warming, politics, and other such hot button topics

            If only more “engineers” showed such restraint on engineering.

        • 0 avatar

          > Righteous indignation is the equal and opposite reaction to condescension. You and Xeranar should come to expect it, when you treat the B&B as the D&D.

          Opposite perhaps, but not equals. Pretense really isn’t sufficient qualification for the title.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I miss RF. He removed some of my posts, but always did so with polite and constructive criticism why he did so. It made for a better conversation, but I don’t think many people have the skill or energy to do it as he did.

    • 0 avatar
      LALoser

      He edited one of mine and sent an email explaining why. But I knew what would happen just as soon as I wrote something like this to another commenter: Of course Toyota is the best, this is TTAC…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I would agree. I wasn’t chastised (that I was aware of; except for once on guns, and that wasn’t in camera) but I do think the site’s discussion forums benefited from it.

      There was more of a sense of purpose, though that had to do with the times as much as the leadership.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Jack, what is being done to cultivate new readers/commenters/points of view? Because I have to tell you that the B&B has gotten stale, to the point that it’s the same commentators making the exact same comments and hurling the exact same insults day in and day out. I’m at the point that all I need to do so read the headline, and perhaps the first paragraph or two of any story and I know exactly who is going to take what side, what their comments are going to be and who is going to insult whom.

    I came back after an extended absence the moment I heard that Bertil was gone, but now I find myself participating less and less because there is nothing intellectually stimulating here anymore. If I want to hear a bunch of people hurl insults and non sequiturs at each other I’d go volunteer at the local senior center.

    • 0 avatar

      > If I want to hear a bunch of people hurl insults and non sequiturs at each other I’d go volunteer at the *local senior center*.

      Therein lies the problem when this is almost literally correct.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Jimal,

      I agree with you that we could use some new blood. That’s happening, believe it or not; our inbound link count has never been higher and a lot of the new readers aren’t conventional “car people”.

      We could stand to do some more of it, however, and we will.

      • 0 avatar

        I vastly prefer the old blood. If you do not fight the trolls, they drive participation out. Next step is taking their trolling as the feedback for posts and corresponding changes in the editorial direction. Pretty soon you’re catering to Reddit and Tumblr crowd. And it starts innocently with the big tent policy.

        • 0 avatar

          > I vastly prefer the old blood. If you do not fight the trolls, they drive participation out. Next step is taking their trolling as the feedback for posts and corresponding changes in the editorial direction. Pretty soon you’re catering to Reddit and Tumblr crowd.

          A significant chunk of the old blood were those attracted by a right wing car blog. It’s really no surprise they enjoy the company of each other regardless of comment quality.

          Also worth noting this is the sort of petty authoritarian crowd which assumes any spoken reality which defies their faith is trolling, because apparently trolling = imma buthurt.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “A significant chunk of the old blood were those attracted by a right wing car blog. It’s really no surprise they enjoy the company of each other regardless of comment quality.”

            I do not find ttac, now or ever, to be a right wing car blog.

            While Farago ruled with an iron fist, it did not detract from the site nor turn away readers nor commenters.

            There are plenty of sites which cater to enthusiasts of right-wing or left-wing persuasion, as there are sites that cater to brand enthusiasts.

            ttac does pretty well by covering all the bases within the industry, including those on the periphery.

            However, some commentors portray themselves as experts within this industry yet their comments often reveal that they have never been part of any decision-making process at any level within the industry.

            That doesn’t make them trolls. Just a little less experienced in the scope of the auto industry than they think they are.

            Personal experience is what shapes our value system and helps us to interact successfully with the harsh reality of the real world. Anything else is just wishin’ and hopin’.

            However, I missed the whole “two issues with anonymity” thing.

          • 0 avatar

            > I do not find ttac, now or ever, to be a right wing car blog.

            Sure, RF and EN were “independents” just like yourself.

            I rest my case.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            I gotta say I have never picked up on this, and I’m generally a left-leaning tree hugger.

            I read and nuance all viewpoints and leanings in articles and comments…which is why TTAC in a multiple-times-a-day drug for me.

            And I learn on a daily basis how much I don’t know….

          • 0 avatar

            > I gotta say I have never picked up on this, and I’m generally a left-leaning tree hugger

            Once upon a time the site was founded by a man who wrote the same article on the domestic auto industry, their unions, and the gubmint a few hundred times. Since that wasn’t quite enough he pruned various proteges to spread and carry on the tradition.

            This sort of religious fervor captivated a sizable Merican audience receptive to this style of divinatory repetition.

            Over time their influence gradually waned but the audience remained long after the bible thumping itself has subsided.

            This also might as well be the metaphorical tale of merican religious politics.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “Sure, RF and EN were “independents” just like yourself.”

            I did not know that about RF and EN.

            In my case, yes, I am a political Independent with equal disdain for both the Republican and Democrat parties.

            Maybe being an Independent allows for appreciation of the merits from all sides, in politics as well as other aspects of real life.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        That is good to hear Jack. Right now most conversations, particularly those of a political nature are dominated by a cabal of regulars who drown out everyone and everything. All one has to do is read the comments attached to any of the VW/UAW/NLRB stories to see this in action.

    • 0 avatar
      smokingclutch

      I always thought the term “Best and Brightest” was used ironically, with most of the commenters here not getting the joke.

    • 0 avatar
      ravenchris

      Same small band of suffocators moving from victim to victim.

  • avatar

    I knew this staff was better than that, and I’m relieved to find that you know it too.


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