Happy Thanksgiving Forum

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Bill Jempty says:

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

  2. Jon says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    Greetings on our most indulgent holiday, enjoy!

    Here’s why much of the rural South is in economic crisis

    Yes, the South is actually in crisis
    First, let’s back up. One might be tempted to ask: Are things really that bad? Hasn’t the Sun Belt been booming? But in fact, by a range of economic indicators — personal income per capita and the proportion of the population living in poverty, for starters – large parts of the South, and particularly the rural South, are struggling.

    Gross domestic product per capita in the region has been stuck at about 90% of the national average for decades, with average income even lower in rural areas. About 1 in 5 counties in the South is marked by “persistent poverty” — a poverty rate that has stayed above 20% for three decades running. Indeed, fully 80% of all persistently poor counties in the U.S. are in the South.

    Persistent poverty is, of course, linked to a host of other problems. The South’s rural counties are marked by low levels of educational attainment, measured both by high school and college graduation rates. Meanwhile, labor-force participation rates in the South are far lower than in the nation as a whole.

    Unsurprisingly, these issues stifle economic growth.

    Meanwhile, financial institutions have fled the region: The South as a whole lost 62% of its banks between 1980 and 2020, with the decline sharpest in rural areas. At the same time, local hospitals and medical facilities have been shuttering, while funding for everything from emergency services to wellness programs has been cut.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Holidays… Blech.

    A PSA: Nearly 40% of conventional baby food contains toxic pesticides, US study finds

    Nearly 40% of conventional baby food products analyzed in a new US study were found to contain toxic pesticides, while none of the organic products sampled in the survey contained the chemicals.

    The research, conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) non-profit, looked at 73 products and found at least one pesticide in 22 of them. Many products showed more than one pesticide, and the substances present a dangerous health threat to babies, researchers said.

    “Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable to the health risks posed by pesticides in food – and food is the way most children will be exposed to pesticides,” said Sydney Evans, a senior science analyst at EWG and co-author of the report.

    The study looked at products from Beech-Nut, Gerber and Parent’s Choice, though it did not specifically identify which of the companies’ products contained pesticide residue.
    The best way to avoid pesticides is to buy organic baby food products, which are subjected to much stricter regulations, and are now often comparable in price, said Olga Naidenko, a study co-author and who leads children’s research for EWG. The non-profit has also developed produce guides that show pesticide residue levels.

    Anyone with little ones in their extended families might want to pass this on to the parents.

    The research did find some good news: EWG compared its findings to a similar study it conducted in 1995 and found pesticide levels in baby foods are broadly decreasing. That research detected pesticide in 55% of products tested, and found more dangerous pesticides.

    A small ray of sunshine anyway.

  5. CSK says:

    A question: When do you eat your Thanksgiving Dinner? Noon? Mid-afternoon? Early evening?

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: That article touches on the why, but seems more focused on the how or at least the what.

    One might argue that the current mess is a legacy effect of the South’s historical dependence on a low-skill, low-cost growth “strategy” — beginning with slavery — that privileged short-term economic gains over patient investment in human capital and long-term development. That’s a big claim about a larger, more complex story.

    For now, our aim is simply to call attention to the problem.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: We don’t.

  8. Jim Brown 32 says:


    I start going on the Tryptophan trip around noon and try to make it an all day bender

  9. CSK says:


    For political reasons, or because no one likes turkey?

    @Jim Brown 32:

    That’s the advantage to eating at noon.

  10. Joe says:

    My preferred time is closer to 3:30, but my son and his wife have Thanksgiving with us and then drive 3 hours north to do it again with his wife’s family who make it a late dinner. So we are hitting the table here at 1:00 this year.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


  12. Sleeping Dog says:


    Damn keyboards

    My bride and master turkey preparer, tells me to ready to carve about 4.

  13. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    If you and yours celebrate, a blessed and happy holiday to all!


    Probably late afternoon. Time , like mileage, may vary, depending on factors outside Luddite’s control.

    My job is to get the turkey done, and then stay out of the way in a corner somewhere while the kids and SWMBO run around our tinyish kitchen doing everything else imaginable. So feasting is usually mid to late afternoon.

    In times past, I’m cooking a ginormous 20#+ bird, with a number of friends and others invited, sending everyone off with food for a week. This year, it’s just clan Luddite and Cracker, so I’m only doing a 12 lb bird.

    ETA With the kids living with us now, there’s only one person who gets to cart leftovers away. I figure Cracker and I will be relegated to the patio for several hours of reminiscing and generally enjoying ourselves, and we’ll be wrapped up around dark.

  14. Jax says:

    We always used to “plan” on eating around 1 PM, but invariably my Mom’s turkey (or prime rib, if it was Christmas) wouldn’t be even close to done by then, so it’s usually closer to 3.

    The girls and I aren’t in any big hurry today, it’ll happen when it happens. We might even start with pie first. My youngest daughter has recently acquired the mindset of “You know what? It doesn’t have to be a holiday to have a pie. We can have pie anytime we want to, there’s no law against it!” So we bought pies a couple days ago and have been eating them whenever we feel like it. 😛

    Happy Thanksgiving, OTB friends!

  15. Slugger says:

    At this time of year I used to automatically wish people a “Happy Thanksgiving.” I got pushback twice. Once a woman of Lakota ancestry said that they don’t celebrate the day because they are not glad that White People came to America. She said it with a smile and a sense of whimsy. Also, I was corrected by a Jehovah’s Witness woman who said that her people don’t celebrate. The Witness didn’t explain why and was rather stern. The Lakota message resonated with me. Today as we celebrate the bounty of this very rich land let’s acknowledge that this patrimony didn’t just fall from heaven. Also, soft words are more successful in getting a message to me.

  16. Kathy says:

    You have me wondering about the dinner logistics of people who attend today’s daytime NFL games. I imagine a few do a tailgate thanksgiving dinner.

  17. CSK says:


    Thanks for the answers. I’ve never eaten Thanksgiving at dinner at any time before early evening, so it’s interesting to read about other people’s customs.

  18. JohnSF says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.
    (Despite the fact that as a Brit, I’ve no real idea what on earth it’s all about, LOL)

  19. Tony W says:

    @CSK: For us it’s mid-day. I hate eating a bunch of food then trying to sleep.

  20. CSK says:


    Apparently, JWs celebrate no civil holidays and few Christian ones. You’re supposed to give thanks every day.

    And the Christian holidays have pagan roots.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Neither. The holiday lost a lot of it’s flavor when my sister Peggy died. Then Ma got too old to put it together and I started doing ridgewalks for the 4 day wkend (always had to take a day off work for Friday). Now too decrepit to go out and hike the hills and hollers so if I go anywhere, it’s usually a state park or geological feature where I will have it all to myself. Today, my wife is working for double pay and I have plenty of unfinished chores around here.

    To me, holidays are the potholes in the road of life.* Also, ignoring it allows our children to have a less frenetic day/wkend as there is no need for them to shoehorn us in. Which for my eldest is a real bonus, as both he and his wife have divorced and still living parents. Also too, I don’t like turkey.

    * I stole that from somebody but do not recall who.

  22. Kathy says:

    I’m reading a book on the politics of nuclear weapons.

    I knew nukes screw things up, but I really hadn’t appreciated how truly effed up the whole subject becomes. Simply put, there’s no way an all out war between two or more nuclear powers can end in any kind of victory for anybody.

    This is really well known, and maybe the reason we haven’t had such a war yet. The matter of a nuclear state on an all out war with a non-nuclear one seems more nuanced. We could set the end of WWII as such an example, if we assume Japan surrendered because the US could turn more cities into blast craters and kill millions of people.

    But how about such states now, like Israel, say, or India, or Pakistan?

    There are indications Israel contemplated using nukes in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, and didn’t only because the tide of battle turned in their favor. It’s worth noting since then Israel hasn’t been attacked directly by any state. I put this down to the lack of success of the neighboring states in effecting any gains at all, plus having lost territories in the 1967 Six Day War.

    Perhaps the one positive legacy of the development of nukes is the efforts to prevent widespread proliferation. Imagine if by the late 50s to mid 60s all countries had a few nukes each at least.

  23. just nutha says:

    @JohnSF: Thanksgiving is about being thankful that the various indigenous peoples who were already here didn’t see the danger and drive the Puritans back into the sea until it was too late. Another example of the failure of religion that teaches it’s adherents to love others.

  24. Kathy says:


    Also too, I don’t like turkey.

    IMO, turkey is overrated. At least when cooked whole. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s too big to be cooked this way. I know even bigger animals can be cooked whole, like pigs, but I’ve never tried any of those.

    I may just try getting a turkey breast and/or legs to see what can I do with that.

    Anyway, I’ve had good results with turkey milanesas (slices of breast cut thin and pounded flat). Simply pan fried with little oil. I haven’t experimented much, because turkey isn’t available year-round.

    BTW, I’m wondering if anyone keeps the bones from the thanksgiving turkey to make stock.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: We are shooting for 4:00pm but given the Great Mystery that is cooking the turkey, I’ll be happy if I’m ready to carve between 3:00 and 5:00

  26. CSK says:

    Eric Adams has been accused by an unnamed woman of sexually assaulting her 1993.

  27. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: A favorite part of turkey dinner or even Sunday roast chicken dinner is making the soup afterward out of the carcass. It’s a two day project.

  28. Jen says:

    @CSK: We are heading to a restaurant this year, so eating at 3.

    Typically, if we are hosting, we just treat Thanksgiving as a slightly more elaborate dinner, and eat around 5ish.

  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    First time in a long time I’m not cooking. Instead K and Daughter #1 and I are going to Thanksgiving dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant here in Vegas (Baby!). Daughter #2 is the center of her own extended family and the designated cook, a skill I taught her. She does Thanksgiving with her boyfriend’s family, and at Christmas we go up to Marin, which will mean boarding the dogs at a cost north of $200 a day. For point of reference, I could get the dogs a room at Bellagio for that.

    There’s something odd about Vegas. There are 2.2 million people in Clark County, but very few volunteer opportunities, very few bookstores (I know, who coulda…), not a single upscale grocery store, and according to Daughter #1, an eerie absence of people on queer sites. OTOH we have an absolute fukton of high end designer stores populated by a single, bored clerk and no visible customers. I think we lead the world in empty Dolce Gabbana and Fendi stores. What we apparently don’t have is people looking to house-sit with beasts.

    I’m a little bummed that we have to do Christmas in Marin County. Christmas in Vegas has to be even more tragic than Christmas in Los Angeles. I kind of want to go to a casino on Christmas morning and soak up the sadness. Cocktail waitresses delivering watered-down drinks to old ladies wearing Depends so they don’t have to step away from ‘their’ machine. Mmm. Chef’s kiss.

  30. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The only time I spent in Vegas I left feeling as if I’d eaten a bowl of grease.

  31. CSK says:

    Forgive me if I’ve posed this question before, but why is Donald Trump suddenly calling Nikki Haley “Birdbrain”? I know he projects, but this seems a bit extreme. Six times during the Iowa rally alone?

    In any case, Haley has never struck me as especially stupid.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: My family used to make turkey soup with the carcass, but as we moved into the middle class, the fact that none of us particularly like turkey flavored stock overruled. (The fact that turkey soup always has little shards of bone in it is another personal turn off for me.)

  33. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    which will mean boarding the dogs at a cost north of $200 a day.

    If you have the capability to do so, you might want to consider a pet sitter if you’re paying that kind of money. There’s a weird new respiratory illness spreading that makes dogs extremely sick, very quickly. A friend of mine who works with dogs says that it’s terrifying–a very healthy 3 year old dog went from fine to the ER in a matter of hours.


  34. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    If we even get turkey this year for Xmas (sometimes we get a pork leg), my mom will likely cook it sometime in the first quarter of 2024. If I still remember by then, and can find a suitable pot stashed somewhere, I may give it a go.

    I don’t think I’ve ever tasted turkey stock.

  35. Bill Jempty says:

    My wife is watching the dog show on the television and just called a bulldog cut. Cute bulldog, isn’t that a oxymoron?

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I went to Vegas once on an “escape” vacation–over Spring Break, no less. I enjoyed it. I stayed at the Stratosphere on an ~$15o 3-day package. In those days, the Strat was near the edge of “town,” so I found that walking away from the strip took me into the countryside in about 1o minutes. I’ve always been impressed that a place so relentlessly brown was called “The Meadows” by people from Madrid.

    Never been there but Madrid must be pretty dreadful country if Vegas is the meadow.

  37. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’d have thought a true crime writer like you would have liked the Elmore Leonardness of it. Enjoying Vegas does require/engender a certain dark view of humanity. There are few more useless places than Vegas. Baby.

    We tried, it doesn’t appear to be a thing as much here as it was in LA. In LA we had a company that hired only musicians to house/pet sit. I was kind of hoping to find the Vegas equivalent, a company that only hired Cirque de Soleil performers. Yeah, my wife is very aware of the disease issue. Not seeing an alternative though.

  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Our Nevada state flower is a cactus festooned with Taco Bell trash thrown out of a rented Lamborghini by a drunk Joe Rogan fan. All those elements must be just right.

  39. Bill Jempty says:

    @CSK: We’ll be eating at 4:30.

  40. gVOR10 says:


    Simply put, there’s no way an all out war between two or more nuclear powers can end in any kind of victory for anybody.

    Japan pretty much knew they couldn’t win a war against the United States. They started it anyway There’s a lot of game theory about nuclear war. It assumes rational actors. Seems an unjustified assumption. MAD has worked so far. But working 99 times out of a hundred won’t be good enough.

    Happy Thanksgiving anyway.

  41. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I use a small cleaver to hack of the “knuckles” of the leg and thigh bones, exposing the marrow. I throw in all the bones with some meat attached, along with the giblets and neck. Pour in stove bought Turkey or chicken stock or broth along with vegetable stock. Simmer very low for a lot of hours in a heavy covered pot. I turn off the heat but leave the pot covered and on the stove. Next morning I pour out the broth through a strainer (no shards!) and set aside. I position the strainer on top of the pot leaving a gap and by hand I remove all the meat from the bone and drop it into the pot and leave the bones dripping in the strainer. When done, I toss the bones, add the stock back and bring to a boil. If I’m going to serve it that night I again turn off the heat and leave covered until about an hour before serving. I bring to a simmer, add chunks of carrot and some pieces of parsnip, some cut up onions and diced garlic. 15 minutes before serving I add egg noodles. Oh, seasoning with bay leaf, marjoram, salt if needed, and whatever else suits your fancy.

  42. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I miss being in Detroit and seeing the parade there. It was a show not made for TV.

    You got a real sense of community. Followed by Cony Dogs at Lafayette Cony Island.

    Three with everything, as all good dogs should be. (that’s chili, onions, mustard.)

  43. JohnSF says:

    @just nutha:
    Ah, like in the UK, when the English celebrate the victory of Hengist and Horsa and the Anglo-Saxons over Vortigern and the Britons!
    The English feast on stuffed badger, while the Welsh mourn.
    (Actually, not, LOL)

    Historical oddity: the “legendary hero” of Britain, including England is Arthur, who, if he ever existed, fought the Anglo-Saxons.
    While Hengist and Horsa, Athelstan and Edmund, are largely forgotten. Only Alfred of the Old English gets remembered.
    The Brythons get their revenge, such as it is.

    It’s been speculated that the Norman-French aristocracy liked the legends of Arthur in part because he wasn’t English.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    I remove all the meat from the bone and drop it into the pot

    This is where the shards enter into the mix again, unless you’re obsessive about keeping them out (Mom never was).

    The parsnips would be a good addition to the broth. I’ll have to remember that.

  45. JohnSF says:


    Japan pretty much knew they couldn’t win a war against the United States. They started it anyway There’s a lot of game theory about nuclear war. It assumes rational actors.

    Apparently the Japanese consensus was that the Americans were “rational actors”.
    If they could make the price of defeating Japan high enough, the US would seek terms, and leave Japan alone to predate upon Asia.

    Overlooking both that a democracy in “war mode” is a very scary thing; and the overwhelming US industrial/technical potential.

    Nazi Germany made a similar miscalculation regarding the UK; albeit with the excuse that the UK did not have as much of an economic edge over Germany plus occupied Europe.

    In both cases immediate (and self-serving) predictions of “rational response” overlooked both the “very extremely pissed-off” factor, and the inclinations of London and Washington to make their rational response calculus on a longer/larger strategic basis.

  46. Kathy says:


    I think Japan was looking for a more limited war, in order to get the US to butt out of Asia and let them continue to build their empire.

    I’m not saying that was rational, but ti can be argued to seem plausible or even likely. That’s a trap worth keeping in mind.

  47. gVOR10 says:

    @JohnSF: Implied by your “very extremely pissed-off” factor is that once a democracy is in a war it has to sell it to the electorate. Once you’ve got everybody rallied ’round the flag it’s political suicide to back off. Putin could quit Ukraine any time and depend on state media to sell it. It took twenty years for rally ’round the flag in Afghanistan to cool enough to take a chance on pulling out.

    Jeffrey Record in A War It Was Always Going to Lose goes deep into the politics of Japan’s decision to bring the U. S. into the war, thereby dooming Germany and Italy alsong with themselves. It’s a long time since I read it. It’s a long time since I read it but IIRC he goes beyond the usual code Bushido, Jaspanese culture explanations. He does note that after the war with Russia they were broke, had to drastically cut the military, and put a lot of ex-officers into teaching jobs, where they did inculcate a warrior mentality. But mostly he sees it as a normal sort of politics. I saw in it a lot of The Best and the Brightest in it, a group dynamic in which it was really hard to raise your hand and question the consensus. And a lot of what pols are really good at, kicking the can down the road.

    I’ve also lately seen an explanation that there was bad translation, that they thought Roosevelt’s demands were more absolute than intended. But I can’t help but think they’d have tried to clarify if they wanted to avoid war.

  48. Michael Reynolds says:

    Speaking of OG Britons, if I were a Brit I’d write a YA series about Boudica’s daughters. No one knows what happened to them (or Mom, for that matter) after the Romans demonstrated the difference between a disciplined professional army and a huge gaggle of angry tribespeople. It could be an update of Xena: Warrior Princess, the girls wandering Europe ambushing Romans and (because who cares about a few centuries one way or the other) having amorous adventures with Robin Hood. Or Galahad. Or Guinevere.

  49. Kathy says:


    Sounds like a lot of work. The stock had better be worth it 🙂

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I begin in obsessive mode when doing such things, then lose patience as I get tired and just figure “what the hell!” If possible, I will take a break and try again.

  50. dazedandconfused says:


    I would add that the people in Japan who made the decision had never been to the US. Same goes for the person in Germany who decided to declare war on the US. The one guy who had seen just how big the US industrial base was, and got to know the American public, Yamamoto, tried to talk them out of it but failed.

    Nevertheless it was a sound military gamble they could completely wipe out the US fleet. They were extremely unlucky. Had the carriers been in Pearl Harbor, which by should’ve been, they would probably have been sunk. Had we not broken their codes they would’ve almost certainly been sunk in the battle of Midway. Nothing left to prevent a complete blockade on Hawaii, which would certainly have to have been conceded. Been several years before we could have been able to do anything. Several years in which the Japanese would’ve had all the free oil of Indonesia and all the resources (including a heaping helping of slave labor) in China to keep building an even bigger fleet.

    Tactically brilliant/strategically stupid is not uncommon in military genius. Napoleon suffered from that, bigly.

  51. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    There’ve been a couple of BBC dramas re. Boudicca.
    It was not a tale with happy endings.

  52. JohnSF says:

    Disagree re. Afghanistan. The US had to a large extent detached itself by 2003.
    The big error was the post-2003 decision to attempt to support the Kabul government in imposing central rule over the provinces, and the related “anti-opium” idiocies.

    And it has to be said, that a lot of the fault for that lies with the UK; because the the UK military thought the pacification plan for Iraq was b.s. & so tried to pivot to Afghanistan to avoid an Iraq quagmire.
    UK govt bought the argument, without noticing the “why”.
    And then so did the US.

  53. JohnSF says:

    In re. Germany (and Italy as mini-me): the decision to declare war on the US was Hitler’s.
    He could have easily have dodged it as Japan had re the Soviet Union.
    He did not for his own reasons: immediately, the false hope that expanding the U-boat campaign would break Britain.

    More generally, that he had always thought war with the US inevitable, and thought it was an opportune moment. That the Japanese naval arm could make up for German deficiency, and give Germany the opportunity to defeat the USSR, cripple the British, and prepare the naval/air forces needed to beat the US.

    Utterly unrealistic, but that’s Hitler for you.

  54. Kathy says:


    One thing. No one ever starts a war if they know they will lose. They always expect to win. Those attacked may go to war knowing they will lose, but they have to at least try to defend their country and homes.

    In nuclear matters, the widespread perception is that no one can win a nuclear war. That would be the kind of war no one starts because they know they will lose. I wonder, BTW, whether King Pyrrhus would have gone to war against the Roman Republic, if he knew what it would cost him.

    Anyway, this is important. If some people in crucial decision making roles thought such a war could be won, then such a war might take place. I mean on purpose. An accidental “exchange” of nuclear broadsides is always a possibility.

    The problem is every so often someone comes up with an idea on how to win a nuclear war. Such ideas have proven unworkable, flawed, incomplete, etc. But given a deranged enough head of a country, like, for example, Adolph trump, some deluded general or military theorist might convince him it’s doable.

    It’s unlikely Adolph would nuke his master in Moscow, even if he’s deficient in loyalty. But nuking Xi and China are a different matter.

    I’ve some idea of what nuclear forces Mad Vlad can dispose of. I’m less clear on Xi’s. One really doesn’t need many nukes to render any kind of “winning” strategy Pyrrhic. And this leaves out secondary effects like massive fallout circulating in the atmosphere, nor the cooling effects of dust and ejecta kicked up to obscure the Sun for a prolonged period (and such estimates don’t take into account the effect on plants and crops worldwide).

  55. JohnSF says:

    Was recently re-reading G. L. Weinberg’s “A World At Arms”.
    One of his theses: Yamamoto was a fool.
    Even if the Japanese Fleet had been able to take out the entire US Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor including the carriers, there would have remained the US Pacific submarine forces, the ships on the west coast, and the entire Atlantic Fleet.
    Plus, the Royal Navy could, and would, in extermis, have transferred several carriers to the Pacific.

    Midway was flagged up to the USN by code-breaks; but also Yamamoto fucked up by diverting forces to the Aleutians, and was already lamed by losses at the Battle of the Coral Sea.

    And at base, even if the Japanese had won Coral Sea, Midway and whatever else: the US would still have had overwhelming industrial/technical advantage.
    And the Manhattan Project was a thing.

    As was UK re. “Tube Alloys”.
    When the UK determined to fight in 1940/1, it did so because it intended to, and considered it could, win.

  56. Beth says:

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

    We ate around 2 and are now lounging. My partner did the cooking so she went off to hide from the children. I’m giving it until about 4-ish and then I’m breaking out the margaritas and edibles.

    Since it’s just the four of us we ordered a package from an Indian restaurant. There was a decent size and very tasty turkey along with masala, dal, some sort of yogurt broccoli (didn’t care for it), some sort of potatoes and a couple other things. First round of food was good. Oh, and we got Italian bread from the local bakery my family has been going to since I was a kid.

    The rest of the day will be spent giggling, getting yelled at for letting the zipper on my unicorn onesie getting too low, and trying to comfort trans people who are getting shit on by their families.

  57. Kingdaddy says:

    Wishing everyone Happy Thanksgiving and a restful food coma.

  58. JohnSF says:

    The thing is, once you get to credible nuclear exchange, unless you are a nutcase (see T. Powers) then it is unacceptable.
    Which is why the UK and France both determined to have independent national deterrent forces.
    The US was unwilling to risk confrontation with a nuclear Soviet Union after 1950.
    The Soviet Union always avoided direct engagement with the USA after 1945.
    One reason why the Politburo shafted Khrushchev: Cuba scared them.

    The really interesting thing: why the US failed to try for world dominion during the nuclear monopoly, 1945-50?
    That icon of the nuclear disarmament movement, Bertrand Russell, advocated a US nuclear pre-emptive war in the late 1940’s.
    Forgotten footnotes of history, LOL
    (Have to admit, I love trolling CND folks about this. ’cause I is evil.)

  59. JohnSF says:

    Thing was, Japan would prob. have done a lot better had it grabbed Indo-China, Indonesia, possibly even British SE Asia, and left the US out of it.
    It could then have used it’s original war plan vs US, if US initiated war, of fleet defence in depth.

    Not a great plan, perhaps, but arguably a lot better than trying for a intial victory, inevitably failing, and provoking a war of revenge.

  60. Kathy says:

    There’s a number of AH scenarios where Truman liberates eastern Europe and deposes Stalin, using conventional US, French, UK, and German forces (yes, you read that right), plus America’s very small supply of nukes.

    Realistically, by then everyone was sick and tired of war, and inflicting mass death and destruction, and wanted to end it. Besides, no one laid any groundwork while the fight against Germany and Japan was taking place. It’s hard to just go to war, or to continue a war, without building up support for it first.

    Then there’s the matter of how many bombs the US had. Plus the delivery method was a B29 bomber. Those can be shot down, and the Soviets had an air force. It could have been done, but not as easily as threatening Stalin with nuking Moscow, Leningrad, et al and expecting him to fold. Not to mention that while the alliance with the USSR fell apart in short order (amply demonstrated with the Berlin Blockade), there was also some cooperation in setting up the UN. Outside the Soviet sphere, there was much to do about Germany and Japan, and the other international institutions born of Bretton Woods.

    So the will just wasn’t there to take out Stalin, never mind the world (Ah, if The Brain had been alive then!)

    I’ll check the Bertrand Russell link later (work and all). But I wonder if it was for reasons like in Heinlein’s 1941 story, Solution Unsatisfactory, where (SPOILER ALERT!) the US assumes total supremacy over the world, in order to keep a monopoly and prevent proliferation of the ultimate weapon, radioactive dust.

  61. JohnSF says:

    Yes, the “Patton scenario” was bollocks,
    The US and UK needed to redeploy forces to the Far East for the war with Japan.
    In late 1945 several US formations in Europe were already being drawn down for re-assignment to DOWNFALL/OLYMPIC/CORONET. As were UK forces in the Med and Burma.

    …how many bombs the US had…

    That was why TRINITY was important; the U bomb was never tested, as was known to be viable; the Pu implosion bomb was iffy; but opened up much more fissionables delivery.
    Original tentative plan seems to have been for multiple “tactical” use in support of DOWNFALL, in addition to city destruction strikes.

    B-29 IIRC flew high enough that no Soviet fighter at that time could have intercepted.

    But as you say: nobody wanted a war with the USSR in 1945/50.
    It was the Soviet’s own relentless determination on dominating wherever they could, at whatever cost, at whatever cost, that set the stage for Cold War.

    At the time, the key players in London and DC realised what was likely after the Soviet action re the Warsaw Uprising.
    But nobody was over keen on telling the general public: “all your dreams are dust and ashes.”
    And continued to hope the USSR could become a “satisfied” Power.
    That that would not be the case only became generally and hence politically, obvious after 1950.

  62. gVOR10 says:

    @JohnSF: I forget who said it, and I probably don’t have the numbers quite right, but somebody looked at the numbers and said when it was Germany and Italy against Russia and the British Empire GDP between the sides was about even. (There seems to be a tendency to forget it wasn’t England, it was the Empire.) When it became Germany, Italy, and Japan against the Empire, Russia, the U. S. and China, GDP was 2:1 against the Axis. Part of Churchill’s belief they could win involved his entirely justified confidence one way or another the U. S. would enter the war.

  63. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Definitely worth it. There are a lot of canned things that have gotten better in my lifetime and chicken noodle soup certainly falls into that category. But my homemade chicken/turkey noodle soup is still a definite cut above.

    I think I’m pretty rational about this too. In contrast I used to make a red sauce that took hours and that I had taken years to perfect. It had small amounts of three different cheeses in it (Parmesan, mozzarella and Gruyère. If I had a good Romano instead of the Parmesan I would leave out the Gruyère). At the time store bought red sauce came in cans and tasted about like you would expect. Then Ragu and Prego came out and although they didn’t compare they were definitely edible. And then more and more and better and better sauces came out and eventually I realized the differential just wasn’t worth the hours.

  64. Kathy says:


    Funny. I started with bottled/canned red sauces when I took up cooking, but felt them all too sweet. I’ve tried starting one using tomatoes, but it’s too much work for the results. So now I mix tomato pure (no added sugar), with onions, garlic, spices, and now and then some melty cheese.

    Just goes to show different people are different.

  65. JohnSF says:

    British Empire GDP was twice that of Germany.
    The British decision to fight in 1940 was on the basis that we intended to win.

    The German economy was “running hot” in 1940/41: the British calculus was for German economic collapse within a few years, if blockade/bombing was kept up.
    The longer Germany tried, and failed, to break the UK, the more British, Soviet and American relative power grew.
    Hitlers’ decision to invade the USSR was a desperate attempt to evade this trap.
    Which failed.

    Italy was a potential Power, but as Ciano realised needed decades to develop; not to mention the fact that the Italians generally loathed the Germans. See WW1.

    Japan, economically, was a joke.
    And utterly strategically incompetent.
    See how it ended up basing its main fleet near Borneo because it couldn’t get oil to the Home Islands, had a million man army and all the associated resources tied up in China, and was whipped like a government mule by the British Army in Burma in 1944/45

  66. Kathy says:


    My great big WWII counterfactual, is what if Germany had gone after eastern Europe and the USSR only, and left France, the UK, and especially the US strictly alone?

    It would have taken some doing, given the webs of treaties in Europe at the time, including French and British treaties with Poland. Not to mention lingering WWI memories, apprehension about the chancellor’s territorial demands, etc. So, very likely not realistic at all.

    But I wonder, what if?

    While Germany remained a potential threat and was viewed with suspicion since 1914, the USSR was the big pariah nation many hated, though not many feared.

    So, impossible, I know, but imagine a king of non-aggression treaty signed with Poland, in order to invade the USSR, Maybe Poland helps, maybe not (Poland had reason to fear Russia). I wonder how that plays out. More important, whether France and the UK stay out.

  67. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Beats the heck outta mom’s standard, which involved making a turkey briquette and sending me up to Taco Bell. Which is another reason why I learned to cook.

  68. JohnSF says:

    Germany tried to do so.
    It’s often forgotten, Germany did not declare war on the UK or France.
    We declared war on them.
    We were nasty that way.
    Germany actually tried for a deal with Poland; Poles told them to FO.
    As they did the Soviets.
    The Poles were not naive about the ambitions of either of their neighbours.
    A Polish-German alliance was an impossibility, primarily because almost all Germans, not just Nazis, were enraged that post-1918 Poland should have taken former German territory, and never mind the ethnicity of the inhabitants.
    Seriously, check out “moderate” Weimar politicians statements about Poland.

    Poland’s existence is intolerable and incompatible with the essential conditions of Germany’s life. Poland must go and will go – as a result of her internal weakness and of action by Russia – with our aid

    The USSR was feared, and rightly.
    It had taken a French/Polish allied army to break the Red Army offensive at the Battle of Warsaw in 1920. The much-forgotten war.

    In any case, neither the UK nor France would tolerate the Nazi dominance of Europe after 1938: the aftermath of Munich had displayed plainly that both the appetite and the mendacity of the Nazis was boundless.

  69. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Time for a new holiday tradition???


    {The C-3PO strip tease (which is a phrase I can’t believe I am typing) features Jawas removing parts of the dancing droid’s paneling one by one. And, of course, there’s a scene with Leia in that gold bikini, straddling a massive, stage-stealing Jabba the Hutt puppet that lip-syncs to Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize.”}

  70. Kathy says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    I must be missing something: how has this show gone on this long, without Disney suing the pants off the producers (no pun intended)?

    Image issues aside, they are making money off Star Wars.

  71. steve says:

    I actually like turkey but the key is having good gravy to put on it. I make it every year. This year was a real challenge since we went to my adopted family’s home. I had two 4 y/o girls “helping” me. Still came out pretty good.


  72. Kathy says:


    I thought I knew the build-up to WWII reasonably well. I may have to revisit that. I did recall Britain and France declared war, and that the war’s opening was the invasion of Poland.

    Duncan covered the Battle of Warsaw in the late stages of his podcast on the Russian Revolution, but I must admit I recall little of it.

  73. JohnSF says:

    Indeed, Germany took the initiative and invaded Poland.
    But the British and French declarations of war were a matter of decisions by London and Paris, not an determined outcome.
    They could have wriggled, as re. Czechoslovakia in 1938.
    They did not.
    Hitler IMO misread Chamberlain: as Churchill said:

    “He did not realise that Neville Chamberlain had a very hard core, and that he did not like being cheated.”

    By 1939 the British political elites, both Right and Left, had determined that the Nazi’s could not be bargained with, must be stopped, and if that required war, so be it.

  74. Beth says:


    It had a decently long run here in Chicago this summer. I didn’t get a chance to see it though.

  75. Beth says:


    It had a decently long run here in Chicago this summer. I didn’t get a chance to see it though.

  76. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Parody and apparently mentioned everywhere on everything.

    I’m really tempted.

  77. Kathy says:


    It seems obvious as you say it. One thing I’ve neglected to say, is we’ve never done the turkey with gravy.

    Not that gravy’s unknown in Mexico, but almost. You can buy it canned courtesy of Campbell’s. It’s also available with mashed potatoes at KFC. And that’s pretty much it.

    I have made my own a few times after cooking chicken in the cast iron pot. And also other gravy-like sauces from other dishes, like ground beef patties cooked in a pan. Pretty much whatever leaves some fond, drippings, and fat, can be made into a kind of gravy with some broth and flour.

    So, again if I remember, I’ll see if I can make gravy once the turkey gets roasted around March.

    Oh, there’s one more. A chain restaurant called Sanborns (with an attached odd dept. store and bar), has a thanksgiving and Xmas special dinner menu, which includes turkey with gravy. Only they call it “giblet sauce,” which doesn’t sound appetizing at all.

  78. wr says:

    @Bill Jempty: That bulldog was cute. But the Great Dane was robbed!

  79. Jax says:

    @Kathy: Turkey with giblets gravy is the bomb. You boil the neck and the heart/liver/gizzard all day long, then pick the meat off the neck and mince the rest up for the gravy.