Monday’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. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Took the jetboat out yesterday (Sea-Doo Speedster) on the Santa Rosa Sound.

    The niece, wanting to drive, ran it into some shallows and really dug it in. We had to jump out and push off. Sadly, top speed dropped from 45 MPH to 9. Limped back to the dock at a very leisurely but pleasant speed.

    Don’t know if it is just packed with sand… likely impeller and shaft damage. It will have to go to the shop to be sure.

    The niece was freaked out. I told her to relax. it was nothing that money and time could not fix. I surprised myself, honestly, that I was so chill about the whole thing.

    Cyndi Lauper was right.

  2. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Girls just want to have fun?

  3. Kathy says:

    I did the marinated chicken thighs and coconut rice, possibly for the last time this year. I tried cooking the thighs in the oven, which worked better than on a pan. The problem was getting as much of the drippings from the baking dish into a pan for the sauce. I managed.

    I expect I’ll try it again next year when tangerines are in season. Also, I used up the last of my coconut milk supply.

    What I want to try as soon as the weather gets colder is Italian style hot chocolate. The basic recipe is for some cocoa powder, unsweetened, milk (of course), and chopped chunks of chocolate that are supposed to melt in the mix.

    I suppose some sweetener as well, but most recipes assume some kind of sweetened chocolate. I plan to use and unsweetened kind, as it melts better. I also found one with mint flavoring added. Chocolate and mint mix very well.

    The rest of December is going to be whatever is quick and easy, as I’m having to put in some work on weekends just to stay above water.

  4. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Money changes everything.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    Put aside an hour, settle in front of the home theater system and pour yourself a favorite beverage and enjoy a scene for your or your parents youth.

  6. Kingdaddy says:

    The headline says it all: Texas GOP executive committee rejects proposed ban on associating with Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers.

    Two months after a prominent conservative activist and fundraiser was caught hosting white supremacist Nick Fuentes, leaders of the Republican Party of Texas have voted against barring the party from associating with known Nazi sympathizers and Holocaust deniers.

    In a 32-29 vote on Saturday, members of the Texas GOP’s executive committee stripped a pro-Israel resolution of a clause that would have included the ban. In a separate move that stunned some members, roughly half of the board also tried to prevent a record of their vote from being kept.

    It’s always helpful when GOP officials make it clear that they put election tactics over unambiguous denunciations of anti-Semitism and white supremacy:

    The proposed demands were significantly watered down ahead of the party’s quarterly meeting this weekend. Rather than calling for a break from Defend Texas Liberty, the faction proposed general language that would have barred associations with individuals or groups “known to espouse or tolerate antisemitism, pro-Nazi sympathies or Holocaust denial.”

    But even that general statement was too much for the majority of the executive committee. In at-times tense debate on Saturday, members argued that words like “tolerate” or “antisemitism” were too vague or subjective. The ban, some argued, was akin to “Marxist” and “leftist” tactics, and would create guilt by association that could be problematic for the party, its leaders and candidates.

    Equally helpful to know that, in the demonology of the Texas GOP, Democrats rank higher than Nazis:

    The day prior, Sen. Bob Hall — an Edgewood Republican who has received $50,000 from Defend Texas Liberty — was also at the Austin hotel where executive committee members were meeting, and in a speech condemned attempts to cut ties with the group based on what he called “hearsay,” “fuzzy photographs” and “narratives.”

    “If you want to pass a resolution, I would make it positive,” Hall said to executive committee members on Friday. “We don’t need to do our enemy’s work for them.”

  7. Scott says:

    @Kingdaddy: The Defend Texas Liberty PAC is 90% funded by Tim Dunn and the Wilks brother, far right Christian Nationalist oil billionaires. They fund Lt Gov. Dan Patrick and our very own adulterous, indicted felon, impeached (but not convicted) AG Ken Paxton and a whole host of Texas’ finest politicians. Tim Dunn is known for telling the former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus that he believed that only Christians should be in positions of leadership.

    BTW, a bunch of these Texans, out of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, are now in Washington planning Project 2025 and the return of Trump.

    Good Times (or as they prefer, End Times) ahead.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    In 1948 Harry Truman was widely considered a doomed presidential candidate. The press had little respect for him and the political class considered him a boob. From Wiki:

    The 1948 presidential election is remembered for Truman’s stunning come-from-behind victory.[190] In the spring of 1948, Truman’s public approval rating stood at 36 percent,[191] and the president was nearly universally regarded as incapable of winning the general election.

    How did Truman turn this around? He campaigned against the Republican Do-Nothing Congress. He took the attack to them loudly, repeatedly and with without letup.

    Recently I’ve noticed Biden, in the little campaigning he’s done so far, go after the MAGA Republicans in a way that sounds like what Truman did. I wonder if it’s deliberate?

  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    In the “they say HRT takes off 20 years” file, I actually got carded while trying to buy a beer at a restaurant this weekend. O.O And I was the only person at the table who got carded, including my younger brother.

  10. becca says:

    @Scott: I think that the far right republicans who call themselves Christian (they are not) should be referred to as Xtians. They are worship money and power and guys like Musk. Jesus Christ would have nothing to do with them.

  11. Scott says:

    Texas Ranks Last in Personal Freedoms, According to the Libertarian CATO Institute

    Cato relies on twelve metrics, each weighted differently, to create its personal freedom index. Almost across the board on those categories, Texas fares poorly. We rank thirty-fifth on educational freedom, thirty-ninth on gambling, forty-second on asset forfeiture, forty-third on incarceration, forty-fourth on marriage freedom, and dead last on both cannabis and travel freedom (see below for fuller definitions). Alcohol, gun, and tobacco rights; the right to give large sums to political campaigns; and the right to engage in activities that harm no one, such as safely setting off fireworks, are the only categories in which Cato finds Texas doesn’t rank in the bottom half of the states. Notably, the institute doesn’t factor key issues such as reproductive or transgender rights into its ratings.

  12. Mister Bluster says:

    Won $4 two days in a row from Illinois Lottery $1 scratch off tickets out of the same machine! Now I can do my Xmas shopping!

  13. MarkedMan says:

    On another thread Bill is railing against the Florida Dems cancelling their Presidential primary. I pointed out that this is not all that unusual in either party when there is a President of their party running for reelection. But, and I didn’t bring this up there, I think this modern age of popular vote primaries is a disaster. More primaries should be canceled. The idea that any yahoo regardless of whether they agree with the party’s principles who can get enough votes should automatically become the party’s nominee strikes me as stupid and dangerous. Trump is the most glaring example of this. He cared so little for Republican Party principles that he had them simply scrap their platform when he ran for reelection.

  14. Kathy says:


    The way I see it, political parties are private, non-state association of people who promote, endorse, and finance candidates for various offices at all levels, in order to carry out a political agenda or enact certain political principles.

    Therefore how the parties choose their candidates is up to the parties to determine. Of course, this can be regulated through law, which we know will vary at various levels as well.

    I suppose the idea for primaries is that a large pool of voters should cast votes, therefore the primaries will elect the candidate most favored by the habitual supporters of each party. In practice, we know a small base of voters dominates, and this base tends to be more extreme than the vast pool of voters is.

    There’s a lot more to be said, but work isn’t getting any lighter. Week Two of Hell Week is on.

  15. KM says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    It might not be the HRT (although I’ve heard it does do wonders for the skin).

    If you are feeling more confident and safe in your own skin, the years can drop away. Stress can hunch you over, make your face look haggard or tired in a way it’s really not. Happiness can radiate outward and if you feel like you’re new and fresh, there’s a chance others can see it.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I thought that the 90’s era Democratic nominating system was an interesting experiment. Primaries and caucuses, but with a significant number of super delegates picked by party leaders. That would have prevented a Democratic version of Trump. But that is no longer the case, thanks to Bernie and his feelings of martyrdom at the hands of the evil Hillary.

  17. Gustopher says:


    The idea that any yahoo regardless of whether they agree with the party’s principles who can get enough votes should automatically become the party’s nominee strikes me as stupid and dangerous. Trump is the most glaring example of this.

    The man rode down his golden escalator and immediately started with racial slurs. I don’t think he really disagrees with the party principles.

    And he quickly embraced the party platform on things like abortion that he never seemed to care about before.

  18. JohnSF says:


    Texas Ranks Last in Personal Freedoms

    One wonders if the Cato Institute might mull over those findings, then pop down to the supermarket to purchase a clue, re. the political realities of right-Republican governance.

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Good times! Thanks!!!

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: No. no, no! You’re supposed to think that the big payoff is in that machine and only $8 away from your grasp–not waste the money on consumer goods. 🙁

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: @Kathy: Bill’s comment isn’t about elections or honesty or democracy or anything else. He’s just playing the “Republicans are better ‘Murkans” card.


  22. MarkedMan says:


    One wonders if the Cato Institute

    The so called institute is apparently funded by billionaires in order to crank out messaging favorable to billionaires, so, no. They will not be revisiting their core beliefs.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I guess I’m not taking his comments to be pro-Republican and I get why he’s mad, since he seems to feel primaries are the only legitimate way to select a candidate. I feel differently but, hey, it’s a free country…

  24. Sleeping Dog says:


    Cato is another organization that claims to be libertarian that doesn’t believe in civil liberties.

  25. Kathy says:

    You ever had so much work to do, you get stuck trying to decide which parts to prioritize?

  26. dazedandconfused says:

    Well, this is interesting…and oddly not getting much (if any) US press coverage. The potential for war is high.
    Venezuela claims large support for annexing oil-rich Guyana territory

    More than half of eligible Venezuelan voters have taken part in a referendum that yielded overwhelming support for laying claim to an oil-rich border region administered by neighbouring Guyana, officials in Caracas have said.

    More than 10.4 million out of 20.7 million eligible voters cast their ballots, National Electoral Council president Elvis Amoroso said to lay to rest initial doubts over the turnout.

    Venezuela has for decades laid claim to Essequibo, which makes up more than two-thirds of the territory of Guyana and is home to 125,000 of its 800,000 citizens. Guyana, a former British and Dutch colony, insists the frontiers were determined by an arbitration panel in 1899.

    “It has been a total success for our country, for our democracy,” President Nicolas Maduro told supporters gathered in the capital. “We have taken the first steps of a new historic stage in the struggle for what belongs to us.”

    “Furthermore, Venezuelan military officials announced that Venezuela is taking concrete measures to build an airstrip to serve as a ‘logistical support point for the integral development of the Essequibo’,” she said.

    But Guyana has always feared that the referendum could be a pretext for a land grab.

    “The collective decision called for here involves nothing less than the annexation of the territory in dispute in this case,” Paul Reichler, an American lawyer representing Guyana, told the ICJ. “This is a textbook example of annexation.”

    Essequibo is larger than Greece and rich in minerals. It also gives access to an area of the Atlantic where energy giant ExxonMobil discovered oil in commercial quantities in 2015, drawing the attention of Maduro’s government.

    I’ve seen some estimates of the area in question’s oil reserve is on a par with the oil reserve of Kuwait, but it’s not light sweet crude.

    I find it hard to imagine the US not acting in the same way though. We are unlikely to stand by and idly watch Venezuela (or anyone else) annex a large pool of our precious in the Western hemisphere.

  27. Beth says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I have a friend who is a Cis-Het dude. He’s like 45ish or so. Real good dude. I was talking to him one day when he did one of those dramatic “OMG I just thought of something…” deals. He was like, “YOU’RE! the perfect person to ask this question…” like, oh is this going to be bad.

    He launched into a semi tirade about how a bunch of his dude friends were pressuring him to get testosterone therapy. Lol, hormone therapy for the Cis. He was like, “what do you think about this.” After I got done laughing hysterically, I was like, “oh, yeah, you’ll feel great, you’ll have more energy, you’ll look younger, BUUUUUUUUT, remember how stupid and crazed you were during first puberty.

    A look of horror and disgust washed over his face. He was all, “Fuck that, those people are crazy. ” and he kinda shuddered. It was hilarious.

    Now, the thought of taking testosterone fills me with absolute horror. I’d rather shoot heroin into my eyeballs take that stuff.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: I don’t invest a lot of time wondering about what he is–I can see he’s angry, all the time. I was simply noting that he was recycling the same bogus point that the pro-Republican guy was making yesterday.

  29. dazedandconfused says:

    More than I care to think of…the Abyss of paralysis by analysis looms.

    What I do to dodge The Abyss is pick a small one that can be finished quickly and gotten into someone else’s court or done with. If I am going to get hounded I prefer a few big hounds to a huge pack of little ones. Nothing else exists while working on it. NOTHING!

    Not dissimilar to my not-untypical Monday morning mindset of sorting through the stack for the easiest thing in it…

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Part of the reason I got out of the wholesale produce business even though competitors had contacted me about going to work for them when the company I worked for was sold.

    Turned out to be a good choice. Almost all of the wholesalers and distributors, including the one that bought the company I worked for, are no longer in business where I lived–some not in business at all any more. It all moved to regional distribution centers out of state.

  31. Kathy says:


    The Guardian reported the turnout figures were inflated. But based on observations of polling places, and reports of tallies filled before the election. Also that fewer people than 10 million voted for St. Hugo when he was reelected in 2012.

    I will await evidence. But as Venezuela is an authoritarian pseudo-democracy, I tend to believe it.

  32. Beth says:


    I’m starting to come to grips with having had untreated ADHD my whole life. Unless I have an absolute pressure cooker of work to do, nothing gets done. I got thrown off my game today and now I’m spiraling trying to get anything at all done. This is HELL.

  33. CSK says:


    Did your friend say why he was being pressured to get hormone therapy?

  34. Beth says:


    It sounded like it was just middle aged dudes being middle aged. They had thought they had found the singular answer to all their problems and were out evangelizing to their friends.

    Lol, they didn’t understand that HRT, cis or trans, only solves certain discrete problems, not all problems.

  35. Kathy says:


    I’m a chronic procrastinator. I prefer to have work ahead or behind me, but not actually doing it. This even includes cooking (which explains why some Saturdays I don’t start until after 5 pm, then fret things haven’t cooled enough by bedtime to go in the fridge).

    Hell, it even includes watching TV. I’ve lost count of how many series and movies I’ve on watch lists, that I just haven’t gotten around to. I may even scroll past them and think “No, I don’t want to start a new series now. I’ll just stream some cooking videos instead.”

  36. Beth says:


    I thought I was a procrastinator too. I was screamed at for being lazy as a kid. I got put in special classes for it too. None of it worked and only made me feel stupid. I have no idea how I graduated from law school other than it was so hard and such a pressure cooker that it was literally a perfect environment for me.

    What I’ve come to learn, since my dysphoria is no longer a screaming banshee in my head, that there’s a wild interlocking set of problems with ADHD, PTSD and Depression. It’s incredibly frustrating. Some days I have all the energy in the world and I just can’t do anything.

    I do that with the tv too. Except it’s usually, “I want to play Xbox” but my brain says “best I can do is a star wars show you’ve watched 10 times.

  37. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: A lot of people — particularly pro-Palestinian youngsters — are really upset that their choices this year are going to be Donald Trump and Joe Biden. This echos a refrain from a Bo Burnam song from a few years ago: “how is the best case scenario Joe Biden?” The lack of primaries has become a sticking point, and has either been seeded in that group by right wing folks, or escaped from that group to be noticed and repeated by right wing folks, or both.

    It also echoes the BernieBro’s belief that he was cheated out of the 2016 nomination by the DNC somehow.

    And then the “I’m not voting for Genocide Joe” starts, and they’re talking about Cornell West or someone named Claudia or something, or someone even stupider.

    Anyway, it’s a bit of wandering shrapnel from the Israel-Palestine wedge in the party.

  38. CSK says:

    In the running for Time magazine’s Person of the Year are:
    1. Taylor Swift
    2. Barbie
    3. Vladimir Putin

  39. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..consumer goods

    I know. Most of my Illinois Lotto spending is limited to the $1 scratch off. I can go weeks and not spend anything on lotto. However if I win as little as $1 I will stick it right back in the machine and buy the same scratcher over again. Hardly ever pays off.
    Since the two $4 winners cost $1 each I’m $6 ahead. That works out to 3 $1 lotto tickets for my brother and 3 $1 lotto tickets for my sister and my Xmas shopping is done!

  40. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Yo mama, you say? Surely, there must be a larger pool than this one.

  41. Kathy says:


    Mad Vlad had a better case last year, per the criterion “the person who most influenced the news.” I take it to mean, who caused more inches of newsprint (however that’s measured these days).

    Since they can pick organizations, or even objects (ie Earth as Planet of the Year), as Person of the Year, this time they should go for the union movement. There were several high profile strikes, several major wins in some industries, and unionization efforts in the service sector are gaining ground (albeit slowly).

  42. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    Oh, there are, but I thought those three were the most piquant.


    The Hollywood Writers Strike also made the short list.

  43. Slugger says:

    Yesterday, people were worried about Florida State football not getting a shot at the national stage. Well, right now FSU is easily winning a national football championship! They creamed Stanford 5-1. Great job, Noles.

  44. Kathy says:


    Good to know.

    Having given it a bit more thought, and seeing how news magazines like to be trendy, I’d be willing to bet a whole latte they’ll name Generative AI Software of the Year.

  45. CSK says:


    I didn’t notice it in the 2023 short list. You’re right, though.

  46. Kathy says:


    “I’m always right. Except on such occasions when I’m not.”

    My bet isn’t only that ChatGPT at al have generated, not by themselves, a great deal of news stories, but also a great many editorial pieces, analysis, and predictions.

    Besides, they can, and surely will if they go this way, interview various generative AIs, and/or have them produce short essays on themselves. Better yet, they can ask them to predict their impact in the coming years.

  47. Kathy says:

    Does anyone know if there’s something special about safflower oil? An incredible amount of Omega 3s, maybe, or antioxidants too good to be true, or some magical healing curative superpower?

    The reason I ask, is one of our big customers, a government agency that operates hospitals, clinics, and day care centers (don’t ask), has had this oil in most of their requirements for years. The problem is that it isn’t common. In Mexico, there’s one brand of it only, and it’s expensive.

    Now, decades ago, just about all leading cooking oil brands were pure safflower. Olive oil was a luxury good (to some extent, it still is), and other types of oil were exotic and not very popular. Around the mid-90s, though, most leading brands began to switch to mixed oils (two or more types), canola, corn, and soy for the most part. The mixed oils listed safflower as an ingredient, but in the forms of “It contains two or more of the following oils: safflower, corn, canola….” Why the switch happened, I don’t know.

    The point is safflower oil is no longer popular, nor made in large quantities, nor cheap. And yet this customer keeps ordering it. I figure it must be extra special in some way.

  48. just nutha says:

    @Mister Bluster: Oh, never mind. The department of stupidity taxation will fully approve! My apologies.

  49. al Ameda says:


    In the running for Time magazine’s Person of the Year are:
    1. Taylor Swift
    2. Barbie
    3. Vladimir Putin

    Okay, this one is easy – Barbie.
    And if you replace Putin with Margot Robbie, then Margot gets my vote.