New Year’s Eve 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. Sleeping Dog says:

    A thought to end the year on. Republicans are set to capture control of government, while at the same time undermining the nation’s democratic traditions in order to cement minority rule indefinitely. Given that Republicans are not interested in governing and have no proposed program beyond tax cuts for the rich and being against whatever Democrats are for, Republicans will have sole responsibility for the future of the country. And so we’re at a Pottery Barn moment.

    Perhaps all that’s left is to sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

  2. SC_Birdflyte says:

    It will be interesting to see if the Trump loyalists in Wyoming succeed in purging Liz Cheney.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    New England is warming faster than the rest of the planet

    We’ve been back in NE for 16 years and it seems that the past 5 or 6 have been significantly milder winters than the prior years. That observation could be explained away as the weather cycle and another period will reestablish historical averages. But that is not what the research indicates and we are in a new normal.

    For a lot of reasons this is bad news, but personally there is a lot to like about milder winters and less snow. The overnight low for last night/this morning was ~35 and we received enough rain that if it had been snow, we’d have 8-12 inches.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Aaron Rupar

    At this point in Donald Trump’s term he had gone golfing 91 times

    · 10h
    Joe Biden has now been to Delaware 31 times since he took office.

    Americans are struggling to make ends meet and he is on vacation.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mike Rothschild

    Elon Musk just finished selling off nearly 10% of his Tesla stock – a day before the company announced it was recalling more cars than it sold in the US this year due to safety issues. Not suggesting a conspiracy, just noting the timing.

    BBC News (World)
    · 20h
    Tesla to recall 475,000 cars in the US

  6. Kathy says:

    So, I’m thinking of buying some Aeromexico stock.

    It’s taken a beating due to the pandemic, of course, and there was something last week about a takeover or something that drove it further down. Prior to the pandemic it had been falling, too, as I understand due to bad financials and competition. So right now it trades at about $0.12-0.12 US (a penny stock).

    This is not to say I think it’s a good investment, nor that I believe it has nowhere to go but up. Rather I don’t think the airline will fail for a while yet, and it will recover as the pandemic eventually passes.

    But all that is still beside the point. I just want to own a tiny piece of an airline.

    As soon as I figure out how, I’ll buy about $50 worth of it.

  7. sam says:
  8. Kathy says:

    This is really good. Rebeca Watson over at Skepchic, relays some predictions by Phil Plait, the “Bad” Astronomer, and others. Phil’s third is priceless:

    “Prediction three: “Two small asteroid impacts will occur: One will utterly destroy the Lauren Boebert re-election headquarters and the other one will mildy singe an LGBTQ+ flag. QAnoners will claim the latter is an act of God but the former was from antifa.” This one is a longshot but honestly I can see it happening.”

  9. clarkontheweekend says:

    On yesterday’s forum re New Mexico, I have a funny. I was having breakfast in a diner here in Milwaukee with my girlfriend at the time, around 2000, and we were talking about NM which was were she was from. Our waitress came to our table and had overheard us talking about it, and she said, “You’re from NM!?.” My gf said yes. The waitress replied, “Oh. You speak really good English coming from New Mexico!” True story.

  10. clarkontheweekend says:

    Highlight of 2021 for me. As a Milwaukee native and big Bucks fan, them winning the title this year was really something special for me, the city and the state of WI. On top of which there were three iconic moments from the finals. The Gainnis block in game 5, the Jrue steal and alleyoop to Giannis, both in the critical closing moments of both games, and then of course Giannis putting up 50 in the clinching game 6 to win it all. So amazing, so special for a team that hadn’t won since Abdul Jabbar in 1971. I only have the energy for positive thought and stories to close out this year and that one will be hard to top in any year to come. (Excluding matters of family milestones, I should.add.)

  11. Michael Cain says:

    I have a friend in Sante Fe who was doing a consulting job for IBM. She spent three days on the phone off and on convincing the contract people in New York that no, she didn’t need to file the mountain of paperwork required for foreign companies. She says it’s a recurring problem.

  12. Michael Cain says:

    ~600 homes burned west of Denver in a pair of grassfires pushed by winds gusting as high as 100 mph. I drove to work through that area for years, but live 50 miles to the north now. The smoke yesterday afternoon was impressive from here. Obviously still burning this morning. Snow is supposed to start about noon.

  13. Kathy says:

    I think we’ve just about reached the fatalistic stage of the pandemic, where large numbers of people, including government officials, are convinced that “we will all get COVID.”

    This may be so, though there’s nothing inevitable about it, but it’s being bandied about as a reason to relax or drop all mitigation measures entirely. That will prove fatal to literally millions more people the world over, especially in areas with low vaccination rates.

    I managed not to get it with just a mask from mid-march 2020 until at least early June 2021 when I got my second dose of Pfizer. That’s 15 months. Add 6 more months where I haven’t caught it after vaccination.

    I admit I’m a bit less concerned about it now, as my odds of surviving it are greatly improved by the vaccine, and will rise even more once I get a booster (I think they’ll be made available mid-January).

    This means I’m a bit more casual about masking all the time at the office. I remove the mask for short periods to drink coffee at my desk, for instance. And I braved a couple of gatherings (and left them as quickly as I could manage).

    But I haven’t gone to the movies, or restaurants, museums (and I wanted to revisit the National Anthropology Museum last summer), etc. I’ve been shopping only for groceries and office supplies, and only early in the morning when there are fewer people. Sam when I need to go to the bank. And masked all the time.

    I don’t intend to get COVID. I also don’t intend to relax until daily case counts are measured in dozens rather than thousands.

  14. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: My biggest fear with the milder winters is the lack of water. Without snow pack and the resulting melt, groundwater levels are not going to recover. A substantial number of homeowners–including us–are on wells. The next town over had wells dry up during the last period of drought. It costs thousands of dollars to re-frack a well.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Julie The Guardian steals tweets Blommaert

    This photo of hospital staff watching a raging wildfire in Colorado is really peak 2021 huh


  16. Sleeping Dog says:


    Lack of ground water is a real concern. Simply as a measure of precipitation, we’re not far behind historical averages, because it has rained. Melting snow does tend to soak in rather than run off as rain does.

    When we were looking for housing here, I had only 2 prerequisites, that we not be on a flood plain and that we have town water. No wells for me. I would have put up grudgingly with a septic system rather than town sewer, fortunately we hit the trifecta.

  17. becca says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: looks like an surreal Norman Rockwell painting. Eerily beautiful.

  18. CSK says:

    This has never been an issue for me, but I’m assuming homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover the cost of re-fracking the well.

  19. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    This is horrifying.

  20. Slugger says:

    I wish a Happy New Year to all. I hope that your hearts will be light and your laughs many.

  21. Kathy says:


    Norman Rockwell from Trek’s Mirror Universe.

  22. CSK says:

    According to Newsweek, Alexs Jones is telling people to “move on” from Donald Trump, that “he’s not a bad guy” but he doesn’t know what he’s doing and has terrible advisors.

    On Christmas Day, he called Trump “pure evil” for his support for vaccination.

    Jones also claims that he’ll “dish all the dirt” he has on Trump in order to get his attention.

  23. matt bernius says:

    Hey, remember how this summer @Keef assured us that the reason that Florida and other southern States’ COVID numbers were spiking was that everyone there was inside and that once they got out of summer their numbers would go and stay down. At the time a few of us pointed out that didn’t match what happened last year (where there was a Winter spike that was worse than summer)?

    Well, perhaps it’s Omicron, but history again seems to be repeating itself:

    On the positive news, hospitalizations and deaths seem to be staying down there (and elsewhere), but both of those are lagging indicators. Still, there is some reason for hope.

  24. Michael Cain says:


    This is horrifying.

    Also entirely predictable. I’m a Great Plains guy of sorts, but there was simply no convincing people I knew who bought a house backing up on a few square miles of native grassland in a known wind corridor that they were smack in a fire zone as dangerous as the overgrown national forests.

  25. Kathy says:


    [..]that “he’s not a bad guy” but he doesn’t know what he’s doing and has terrible advisors.

    Two out of three ain’t that bad?

    It would be great if these two wound up annihilating each other.

  26. flat earth luddite says:

    Billionaire Peter Thiel’s investment firm is tapping former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to become a global strategist.
    Kurz will advise Thiel Capital LLC as a part-time consultant with a focus on helping the company understand European Union and Austrian politics, according to a person close to Thiel Capital who asked not to be named.
    The appointment comes amid multiple criminal probes into Kurz and his inner circle over allegations that he used taxpayer money to plant fabricated public-opinion polls in newspapers to help build his career. Kurz resigned as chancellor in October, and completely withdrew from politics earlier this month, setting off another change in power.
    Kurz long cultivated connections to Thiel, a conservative power broker. The German-born venture capitalist — one of the first investors in Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook — has supported Republican candidates in the U.S. and endorsed Donald Trump.

    Nothing to see here, folks. Move along, move along.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Also, GOP makes it sound like Delaware is halfway across the universe. Dover’s a little over an hour away. My commute was longer than that when I lived in Seattle.

  28. CSK says:

    Well, I wish Jones would start “dishing the dirt.”

  29. Jen says:


    I’m assuming homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover the cost of re-fracking the well.

    That’s my understanding too–it would be considered a care and maintenance situation. Homeowner’s covers “sudden and accidental” incidents.

  30. Mikey says:

    Betty White has died. I honestly didn’t think it possible.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Delaware is also a wee bit closer to DC than Marred-a-Lego.

  32. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I love that one of the doctors or nurses is checking their phone. I am 50-50 on whether they are looking to see if they are going to need to evacuate, or just doom scrolling on Twitter.

  33. Gustopher says:

    @Mikey: I was hoping she could hold on for a few more weeks and get to 100, but 99 is a good run. She was great.

  34. CSK says:

    She’ll always be Sue Ann Nivens to me. RIP.

  35. Kathy says:


    Oh, I’m sure he will, as soon as we see the Kraken and the Pillow Guy argue his case before the Supreme Court. Not to mention after Nov 4th, 2020, when no one will even know what the word COVID means, finally gets here.

  36. Mister Bluster says:

    Advise and Consent (1962)
    Senator Bessie Adams of Kansas

  37. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: To invoke our departed virtual friend Teve: “Shitty people with Shitty values…”

  38. Kathy says:

    Week three of Hell Week is almost over.

    Alas, it will outlast the year, because I have to get in my expenses and reimbursement requests in the system before January 4th. So I’ll come in Sunday to do that.

    It’s not usually this bad, and Hell Week typically lasts a week (hence the name). This year a lot of government hospitals all released their very separate requests for proposals all bunched close together.

    Not to mention some others published requests as well. the worst was one that wanted 1) samples, 2) photos, and 3) written descriptions, of all 327 products. they published late on the 23rd and wanted all that, plus the proposal, by the 29th. You can imagine how easy it is to get people to move on Xmas Eve and over the weekend to deliver everything by the 27th. We talked them down to just 14 samples, but couldn’t eliminate the rest.

    Worse, we were awarded that contract, so next year we get to do it again.

    I’m going home to take a nap. then I’ll watch some season 2 of Stargirl (more on that as time permits). Tomorrow I’m making chicken milanesas with home made store bought breadcrumbs (I do like a paradox!) in tomato and honey mustard sauce. White rice on the side.

  39. Jax says:

    Happy New Year to the OTB family! My kids and I are laying low (we’re supposed to hit -30 with the wind chill by morning) and making gnocchi with a creamy ham sauce! We used an entire 10 pound bag of potatoes, and my new mixer with the cookie whisks fluffed them right up, even after adding flour. I’m hoping for my best batch of the potato version yet!

    I hope all of you stay safe and healthy in this new year!

  40. Michael Cain says:


    Betty White has died. I honestly didn’t think it possible.

    Ssshhh. Next you’re going to be telling me that Keith Richards isn’t immortal either.

  41. Jax says:

    @Michael Cain: We’ve officially entered the End Times. If Keith Richards dies, it’s the Apocalypse. 😛

  42. Jax says:

    Sigh….the gnocchi, while tasty and fluffy, did not hold up to boiling water very well, they were about half the size they went in as! Guess I’ll try steaming the second batch tomorrow. 😐

    There’s a trick, and I’m determined to figure out what it is! 😛

  43. EddieInCA says:



    I purchased 20,000 shares of Aeromexico at .09 earlier today. This is the fourth time I’ve purchased this stock since Oct. 26. The previous three times I’ve sold at .30, .32, and .27. I buy at .10 or less, and sell at .30. Then I wait for it to fall back to .10 or less, and buy again. It’s a lovely play to keep doing as long as the stock stays in this channel. Not much downside. And I’m playing with house money at this point.

    I could have done better because each time i’ve purchased at .10, it’s gone down below .05 before starting it’s climb. But I”m happy staying in this channel.

  44. Ken_L says:

    The horrifying Colorado fires didn’t get as much media coverage as the death of a 99 year-old TV star. The tornadoes of fortnight ago are ancient history. Last century, both events would have been massive front page stories, with the damage and the recovery efforts prominent in the media for weeks.

    These days, extreme weather events are like mass shootings. There are more and more of them, and Americans aren’t willing to take the action necessary to reverse the trend.

  45. CSK says:

    Well, Happy New Year, everyone. I hope 2022 is better for all of us than 2021 was.