Friday’s Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has recorded a steep 75% drop in full-year profit but sees opportunities ahead as it expands the use of cost-saving AI-produced content.

    The US-listed media conglomerate – which owns mastheads in the US, UK and Australia, along with book publishers, subscription television and real estate advertising assets – recorded $US187m ($A287m) in net profit for the financial year, down from the previous year’s $US760m record.

    The result was weighed down by lower print and digital advertising at News Corp Australia, a division that includes flagship newspaper, The Australian. It also recorded lower print advertising at its UK news arm.

    For the first time, News Corp generated more than half of its revenue from digital streams and the media company revealed an upbeat assessment of the potential of generative AI, capable of producing text, images, video and other media, to drive profits.

    Not reading too much into this as it’s probably just a black swan event, but I can’t resist the urge to point and laugh.

  2. Kylopod says:

    I think I’ve figured out Ron DeSantis’s most basic miscalculation in his campaign. The other day he said the following:

    Ron Desantis set off a firestorm on the Right by saying that Trump should stop whining about losing the 2020 election because it was his own fault.

    First, he blamed Trump for listening to nut jobs like Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani: “After the election they were talking about Maduro stealing votes on the voting machines and none of those theories proved to be true.”

    Next, he blamed Trump for allowing states to permit mail-in balloting due to covid: “Why did we have all those mail votes? Because Trump turned the government over to Fauci. They embraced lockdowns. They did the CARES Act, which funded mail-in ballots across the country. Donald Trump signed that bill.”

    What DeSantis is doing here is trying to attack Trump from the perspective of a fantasy world that was created by and for Trump. Much of the reason for Covid denial was that Trump wanted to downplay the existence of something that was causing him a great deal of problems politically while he was president. The villainization of Fauci happened in large part because Trump made him enemy #1. The same applies to Trump’s attacks on mail ballots and, ultimately, his refusal to accept his defeat. DeSantis wants to inhabit this world of Trump lies, but then use them to undermine Trump–an impossible task because the entire basis for believing in them in the first place is that they are all derived from the unshakable tenet that Trump can do no wrong and that anything bad which happens to him is the fault of the Deep State trying to destroy him. DeSantis is accepting parts of this story, while picking and choosing based on what’s convenient for him, and trying to use it to discredit the person who’s the entire reason the story exists.

    He’s also trying to have it both ways with the 2020 election–dismissing the most out-there theories of fraud, but implying the election was not conducted legitimately, and blaming Trump for the results anyway. I’m sure he thinks he’s come up with the perfect solution in which he can sow distrust about the election while simultaneously calling Trump a loser. In other words, he’s trying to logic-chop a delusion.

  3. Kathy says:


    Call it double-doublethink, or the worst of both worlds.

  4. Kathy says:

    I’m on vacation, and for the last three days in a row I’ve been waking up at around 4 am. Then I can’t get back to sleep. I take a nap late in the morning, approaching noon. Or try to. yesterday I couldn’t fall asleep. Wednesday I slept three hours…

    On other things, I chanced upon a rather good series of kitchen gadget reviews. Here’s one. The man who makes them, Dan, is a kitchen gadget designer (he doesn’t talk of his own designs much).

    What I like, amind the bad puns and his redesign suggestions, is that after using the gadget, he’ll demonstrate doing the same thing with common kitchen tools, established gadgets, or some improvised method. Very often this shows how little the gadget adds, or how inconvenient they can be.

    It helps he’s not selling the gadgets. So, there’s no hyped-up-beyond-reason enthusiasm, nor the incredible and stupid incompetence when using alternatives, as is shown in so many TV ads for such things.

    Mostly I find Dan’s reviews entertaining, but now and then I see a gadget that would be genuinely useful or convenient.

  5. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: $189 for a knife sharpener? A $95 cheese grater? Who buys these things? Yikes!

    ETA: I give every device a buy rate of zero!

  6. Mister Bluster says:

    So are the buckets of money the results of testing the Popeil Cash-O-Matic?

  7. steve says:

    Sharpen knives as a hobby. Have a collection of bench stones, mostly Japanese water stones, and I am down to two sharpening systems. Sharpen for myself, family, friends, church. It’s pretty easy to spend quite a bit on sharpening tools. If you cook a lot for large groups I think it pays to learn to sharpen. If you rarely cook or only for one. or two people probably cheaper to pay to have them sharpened or just buy a new cheap knife occasionally.


  8. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I sharpened my own knives with stones for many years and during that time I mostly hand-held, but occasionally tried a variety of non-powered devices to hold the knife to the stone edge at a constant angle. I’ve never really been consistently satisfied with the edges I got. Mostly decently sharp, but occasionally I just couldn’t seem to get part of the knife how I wanted. And every couple of years I would have to really take some steel off to get back to a reasonable angle. So when I saw The WireCutter finally highly recommend a powered sharpener and continue to do so for several years in a row, I broke down and paid $150 for one. Couldn’t be happier. It took me a lot of passes for each knife in the coarsest slot before I got the angle right (pro tip: magic marker the edge on both sides and then use a high powered magnifier to see when the stone finally takes the marker off all the way to the edge.) Once there you go through the fine stone and then a felt strop. Couldn’t be happier. I assumed I would be making a few passes with a fine hand stone and a leather strop, but I never have. I use a steel every time I use the knife and find I need to pull out the powered sharpener only every couple-three months or less, for a couple of quick passes on the fine stone and the strop.

  9. charontwo says:
  10. a country lawyer says:

    James, I could use some help getting registered and out of the moderation penalty box. When the blog went to registration I tried to register, and when the instructions said look to my e-mail for login instructions nothing was sent to me. I checked my spam filter and nothing. When I attempted to register a second time I received a notice that there was already someone registered at my e-mail.
    I then requested a new password and received notice to check my e-mail. Nothing. Then 24 hours later a message form word press concerning a new password popped up in my e-mail but when I checked the link a message said came up saying my request had time expired. Help!

  11. EddieInCA says:

    Re: Abortion politics…

    When you’ve lost Sean says GOP might be too radical on abortion.

  12. Mister Bluster says:

    Just saw a green hummingbird near my porch. First green hummer that I have ever seen. No feeder here. Have not seen any other hummingbirds in the 38 years that I have lived here. Little bird must be lost.

  13. CSK says:


    Judge Chutkan said she’ll be “scrutinizing” every word Trump says or writes.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    That one was not the best to link to. He doesn’t usually review high end gadgets. More the common cheap plastic stuff you see on TV. It was the one I had handy.

  15. Erik says:

    @MarkedMan: @steve: any advice on getting started with sharpening? I’ve wanted to for years but have been afraid to damage my knives as they have significant sentimental value

  16. just nutha says:

    @MarkedMan: One “sharpenable” chef’s knife. $3.95 Cook’s Tools device. Happy.

  17. Kylopod says:

    @EddieInCA: Hannity has a history of unsuccessfully trying to talk the party down from its radical ledge, then going on to join them as soon as it becomes clear he’s made himself irrelevant. In 2013 he was briefly gushing over Marco Rubio and claiming to have “evolved” on the immigration question. Take a guess how long that lasted.

  18. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: The video’s entertainment value was fine. I’m still wondering who the tools are marketed to is all.

  19. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    A lot of wealthy people used to buy decorative books, and arranged them in their libraries by color so they’d look impressive. I suppose some want their kitchen to look good, and buy such gadgets as decoration. they surely also put up overhead racks with dangling pots and pans, all of them looking pristine for years and years.

  20. Mikey says:

    In a move I must admit I can think of no reason for, and no upside to, AG Garland has just appointed a special counsel to investigate…Hunter Biden.

    Also, the special counsel is David Weiss, the same US Attorney who has already investigated and charged Hunter Biden.

    ETA: Apparently it was Weiss himself who requested this earlier this week.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Erik: If you want to hand sharpen, you need a coarse stone, a fine stone and, once you get more ambitious, a superfine stone such as a Japanese water stone. I switched over to diamond stones and they are an improvement in speed, at least at the coarsest stone. You also need something to tell you the proper angle (usually 15 degrees for Asian knives and 20 for Western, although I use 15 on everything). Rather than try to explain it here I would direct you to YouTube, as seeing is much better than reading in this case. But three pieces of advice: First, concentrate on feeling the flat of the knife as you move it across the stone. Think about that flat you are creating and concentrate on that, not anything else. Second, commit to that flat. Rocking the knife while sharpening it makes it very difficult to get a proper angle. And that angle is important because even a perfectly sharp angle that is too steep will make it difficult to cut. Third, use the whole stone. You paid for the whole stone, so get your moneys worth.It will keep the stone from developing curved depressions for a longer time and while that is not a consideration for diamond stones, it’s still good advice because you have more control when you go longer and smoother in one direction before switching over than with a lot of little herky-jerky reversals.

    FWIW, this is also one of the most important lessons I learned in learning to saw straight. Use the whole saw blade and concentrate on nothing but laying the cut point on the line. Think about the teeth entering the wood on the line while you take long saw strokes. I’m sure different things work for different people but that was the turning point for me.

  22. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Mister Bluster: Just curious, was the hummer green breasted or was only the back green? If the breast was green it really is lost. Lots of hummers have green backs. Those male hummers are making their way south to stake out their winter territories now. The females stay until September/early October then go look for the mate. Maybe this one is just passing through.

  23. a country lawyer says:

    The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has just struck down the firearms statute under which Hunter Biden was accused of violating. The Court held that the statute could not apply to one who had not been prior adjudicated a drug addict. Many scholars felt that this provision could not stand in light of recent Supreme Court holdings. The possibility that the statute would be held unconstitutional likely played a part in the decision of the prosecutor in the Hunter Biden proposed settlement.

  24. steve says:

    Good advice above. Also, your knives may affect your choices. If you have expensive Japanese knives they are likely pretty hard. If you have German, French, American it’s likely much softer steel. With water stones you can sharpen anything but if you are doing high end Japanese may want diamond stones. Most people don’t use angle guides and freehand on their bench stones. You can sort of feel when you are at the correct angle and the magic marker trick helps. If you find it is really not working then look at the different systems. You likely won’t get quite the sharpness of a high quality job on a stone but it may be fine for your cooking and less frustrating than learning hand sharpening. My experience was that electric sharpeners were more likely to scratch your blades. I am not sentimental about my knives and I use them hard. Wife abuses them. May be a factor if they are sentimental but my experience is with older electrics so newer may be better.

    Also, learn to hone and do it often. It’s not really sharpening, more about realigning the edge. You will need to sharpen less often. The good ceramic ones claim to sharpen a bit, sort of like a fine grit stone.


  25. a country lawyer says:

    @Mikey: It only means that the special prosecutor must file a final report.

  26. Gustopher says:


    For the first time, News Corp generated more than half of its revenue from digital streams and the media company revealed an upbeat assessment of the potential of generative AI, capable of producing text, images, video and other media, to drive profits.

    Part of me is really curious about what Fox News would be like if AI was writing the news articles, and part of me is terrified. But, can it be worse than what they currently do?

    People building LLMs are at least trying to get them to stop spewing racist shit, so it might be an improvement.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mr. Prosser:..hummingbird watch

    Gotta’ go for a haircut. I’ll get back to you.

  28. dazedandconfused says:


    I’ve had very good results using a diamond dust wand. I keep one knife strictly reserved for fish filleting, and to achieve that last bit of sharpness nothing works better for me than a fine-grit diamond wand does, used very lightly, to finish off the edge.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I’ve been honing my cutting edges for almost 60 years, everything from machetes and lawn mower blades to knives to chisels, plane blades and scrapers. The old man began my education and I’ve picked up a lot of little tricks over the years on the various techniques, stones*, files, grinders etc etc. No one way is suitable for all. I always found it a satisfying exercise, meditative if one likes.

    *my water stones “disappeared” when somebody stole my finish tool box out of my truck. At the time (early 90s), I figured my loss was about $2500. I never did replace all of them as some tools were bought for a specific job and I never found a need to replace them. A couple years ago I did a rundown of what it would cost me to replace them all with new and it was pushing $10,000. I was always a cheap sob and about half of them I had bought at flea markets, estate sales, and auctions.

    I never did replace my water stones tho.

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: But, can it be worse than what they currently do?

    I don’t see how but then OAN says, “Hold mah beer, watch this!”

  31. Jen says:

    @Mikey: That caught me too. I’m wondering if it’s an attempt to preempt the Republicans–basically lock up Hunter Biden in that investigation so that he doesn’t have to appear before the Republican committee that has announced it will be subpoenaing the “Biden family,” which apparently includes the President.

  32. Joe says:

    @Jen: My reaction is somebody (maybe even Hunger) finally convinced Joe that Hunter needs to be under a bus somewhere.

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mr. Prosser:..hummingbird…

    I tried to examine the bird as it fluttered about maybe 16 inches from my nose. The sunlight was shaded by the leaves of trees in my yard. I saw mostly green. I just stood still as it darted away a few feet and back again. The encounter might have lasted 60-90 seconds and it flew away.
    WikiP lists 366 species of hummingbirds. Of all the birds on the list that had
    green in their name the Green Breasted Mango is said to be a vagrant in the United States.

    Les Paul and Mary Ford – Hummingbird (1955)

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    Apologies for the italics on the Hummingbird post.
    Proofreading fail.

  35. Mr. Prosser says:
  36. Kathy says:

    This is how a perfectly good plane almost splashed into the Pacific Ocean shortly after takeoff.

    The Aviation Herald has links to the NTSB report. Here we learn the incident was reported two months after it happened, and long after the relevant information on the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder was overwritten by normal use.

    I bring this up because I can’t see how can mistake five for fifteen. But there’s no recording of the cockpit at the time. I think it far more likely that the captain said fifteen when he meant to say five.

  37. Kathy says:


    The GQP is going full Bizarro, claiming a special counsel investigation is a coverup.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: I think I’ve figured out Ron DeSantis’s most basic miscalculation in his campaign.

    I think his most basic miscalculation was thinking he had what it took to win. He’s f’n horrible on the stump.

  39. CSK says:

    You can read the protective order here by clicking on the link provided at the end of this very breif article:

  40. wr says:

    @Kathy: “The GQP is going full Bizarro, claiming a special counsel investigation is a coverup.”

    That would be the special counsel they were demanding two weeks ago? And saying the fact that there wasn’t one proved there was a coverup?

  41. Gustopher says:

    @wr: There’s always a coverup.

    Yes, this is exactly what was being demanded several days ago. I kind of wish Garland would remove the special counsel Monday, citing Republican outcry, then reinstate on Wednesday citing new outcry, remove on Friday, etc.

  42. Kathy says:


    You’d think a party that engages in so many coverups, would know what one is.

  43. Monala says:

    @Kathy: I found this little buddy at Walmart for two bucks. It’s so helpful for dealing with canned goods.

  44. CSK says:

    Iraq has outlawed the word “homosexuality”. The phrase “sexual deviance” must be used instead.

  45. JohnSF says:

    What are the actual terms in Iraqi Arabic, I wonder? LOL.

  46. DK says:

    @Joe: I don’t think the Justice Department is acting on Joe Biden’s directives. Were it so, he’d probably have ordered a shutdown this Hunter Biden dic pic fishing expedition, as five years of investigating a private citizen whose never held a government role, and turning up nothing impactful, is quite enough.

  47. CSK says:


    Mithli al-jins.

  48. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Saw a hummingbird hawkmoth on my heleniums earlier this evening!
    You see them a lot in France south of the Loire, but not that often in the English Midlands.
    Also, lots of butterflies around this year; probably due to last years hot summer and mild autumn?
    Counted dozens of six different varieties in my garden last weekend.
    (No hummingbirds in UK 🙁 )

  49. JohnSF says:


    Mithli al-jins.

    But which one is that? Homosexual or deviant?
    Seems like it could be either, depending on context.
    Generally on Islam, Judaism, Christianity and sexuality: one might expect if the deity concerned were that concerned, HE might be a bit more explicit about the whole thing.

  50. JohnSF says:

    Reminds me, must get a whetstone to sharpen my garden shears and secateurs, etc.
    When dead-heading and pruning, a sharp secateur is a good secateur.

  51. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Mister Bluster: Sorry about the blank reply, tried to use my phone and messed it all up. I don’t know what part of the country you are in. If Florida then maybe a Green Mango but their home range is basically Puerto Rico. Like I said, lots of green-backed hummers in the US: Ruby Throats, Black Chinned, Broad Tails and more. The light can really refract in strange ways on their feathers.

  52. Kathy says:

    The Newsweek headline is: Evangelicals Are Now Rejecting ‘Liberal’ Teachings of Jesus.

    I think they’ve been doing that for decades now, if not for centuries*. Now they just are beginning to admit it. Or, to quote Ghandi: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    * I can argue Christianity had a good start, then it was adopted as Rome’s state religion, and became something completely different. Something more akin to a tool of the powerful.

  53. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mr. Prosser:..Hummingbird

    I live in Makanda Township, Illinois. About 100 miles southeast of St. Louis, Missouri and 60 miles north of Cairo, Illinois. Not in The South. However by latitude my half acre hillside is south of Washington DC which I have been told is The South.

  54. dazedandconfused says:


    The flap/CRM stuff dodges the important point: The pilot flying was unaware the plane was descending SHORTLY AFTER A TAKEOFF (insert face-palm meme here).

    The ground proximity warning system earned its keep that day, bigly.

  55. Kathy says:


    Air France 447 showed how easy it is for a full crew to stall and crash due to a failure to understand the aircraft’s situation.

    @Mister Bluster:

    At the house I grew up, the flowers on the front yard sometimes drew hummingbirds. Later we put in a feeder for some reason*, and we got plenty. Several were green, as I recall.

    *I don’t really think sugar and water constitutes a healthy diet for any animal.

  56. DrDaveT says:


    Generally on Islam, Judaism, Christianity and sexuality: one might expect if the deity concerned were that concerned, HE might be a bit more explicit about the whole thing.

    This is, of course, the smoking gun with regard to the credibility of major world religions. It is simply not credible that The Supreme Deity is that obsessed with sex. If your religion is, that’s a tell.