Open Forum

Go for it.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Tony W says:

    At this pace, Trump may well be an actual billionaire before his administration ends.

  2. Teve says:

    I haven’t seen Knock Down the House but my friends who have say it’s surprisingly good.

  3. Teve says:

    Bishop Talbert Swan
    May 4
    Calling a Black POTUS married 25 yrs to 1 wife with 2 children, no mistresses, affairs or scandals, ‘the antichrist’ but a racist white POTUS married thrice, 5 kids by 3 women, mistresses, affairs & scandals, ‘God‘s anointed,’ proves your religion is white supremacy.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: He forgot to mention Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride.

  5. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: sloth has now been rebranded Executive Time. 🙂

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Gluttony= KFC?, Lust= Stormy Daniels?, Pride= trump Vodka?

  7. Kathy says:

    Remember when John F. Kennedy ended the Cuban missile crisis by saying “I talked to Khrushchev, and he says those aren’t his missiles.”?

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Yeah, they made a movie about it didn’t they?

  9. MarkedMan says:

    I was musing on the size of the elderly electorate and what it takes to appeal to them and it made me realize once again everything is complicated if you go deep enough. Putting together a set of convincing messages that wins over a majority form the elderly, blacks, hispanics, evangelicals and many other disparate groups is no easy task, especially when you realize that from the moment humans are old enough to notice others, we instinctively interpret someone paying attention to another as not paying attention to us. Some numbers:

    Percentages in 2020
    Over 65: 17% (fastest growing segment of the population)
    Black: 12% (slightly declining)
    Hispanic: 18%
    Evangelical: 25% (varies widely depending on how you define it)
    Catholic: 24%

    However, if you put in the multipliers for actual voting rate it changes the numbers dramatically. In 2016, 60% of eligible blacks voted and just over 60% of whites voted, but Hispanics barely cleared 40%. When it comes to age, the 65+ voter turn out at 70%, while the 30-44 range is significantly lower at 56%. The under 30 vote is only 42%.

    There is a caveat to that youth vote: in 2018 the youth voting rate was 32%. It doesn’t sound like much but going back to 1984, off year turnout for that group was very consistent at around 20%. That is an astounding increase, in a group that is much more likely to change parties than the elderly.

  10. Teve says:

    A Former Alt-Right Member’s Message: Get Out While You Still Can

    Once notorious for her racist and bigoted tweets, Katie McHugh saw the dark insides of the white nationalist movement.

    these people are fucking mental

  11. Teve says:

    Kathy says:
    Monday, May 6, 2019 at 09:44
    Remember when John F. Kennedy ended the Cuban missile crisis by saying “I talked to Khrushchev, and he says those aren’t his missiles.”?

    Okay that gets Post of the Week.

  12. Kari Q says:

    I’m wondering what everyone’s take on the posturing toward Iran is? I assume that Bolton just wants war with Iran and is making it up. I wish I could feel the least bit guilty about assuming the worst.

  13. Teve says:

    John Fugelsang
    The same Bible chapter that says men w/men must be executed also commands stoning for adultery.
    So if you really believe the anti-gay bit you’re also obliged to execute you-know-who.
    Luckily, Jesus threw all that out so u can drop the homophobia & have bacon, too.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: You reminded me of something I’d been meaning to check. I recently moved to FL. All over the place you see gated communities. Over the walls you see close spaced, nearly identical houses, or doublewides. Hundreds in each development, tens of thousand in the area. It’s easy to picture all those retirees sitting there all day with nothing more pressing to do than watch FOX “News” and get outraged over brown people coming to take their stuff. Makes it scary that you note 65+ is the fastest growing, and heaviest voting, segment.

    I’m a leading edge Boomer. Wondered if my cohort is as stupidly Republican as our predecessors. Best data I could find quickly was from Pew. Shows Silent Gen identifying as 38%R and 33% D in 2017, but Boomers 35% D to 30% R. A swing from -5%D to +5%, a net 10% swing. Leaners swung a net 11% toward D. Demographic doom for Rs may be sooner than I thought. GOPs have the same problem as Cadillac and Buick. their customer base is literally dying.

  15. Kathy says:

    Yesterday an Aeroflot Superjet 100 crash-landed in Moscow, bursting into flames.

    I want to note the very bad reporting which took place throughout the day. First there was one death reported, which seems miraculous if you see the video. Then the toll went up to 13. This is still rather low given the nature of the accident. Finally we were told the death toll was 41, out of a total 78 passengers and crew.

    I wonder. In the old days, early reports of casualties in accidents included a number of missing people. We all knew this meant “people who perished in the accident but haven’t been accounted for.” More specifically it meant there was yet no accurate account of who died and who survived. In all the coverage of the Aeroflot accident, I saw no mention of missing people.

    The high speed reporting common today, also left various blog posts in aviation blogs praising modern aviation safety for the low loss of life. None were updated fast enough to keep up with the real numbers.

    In the grand scheme of things, a momentary mistake in the death toll may not matter. But lots of people who stumbled on the story will believe or recall for months that only a a few people died, not over half the passengers.

    Again, this may not matter in the long term. But it points to something I call “One and done” frame of mind, where a large majority of people remember the first thing they heard, and don’t revise their memory, or belief, with additional information.

    This matters a great deal in many fields. It means an early lie about something, like, say, the Mueller Report’s conclusions, goes a very long way. Set Trump’s supporters aside, a lot of people not invested in the matter still believe the report exonerated Dennison, when the report does no such thing.

  16. Kathy says:


    Okay that gets Post of the Week.

    This early on a Monday? I seriously hope not 😉

  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: That was a really interesting article. Thanks.

  18. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: if you had told me 20 years ago that there would be young American right-wingers who were ditching christianity in favor of ersatz pseudo-Norse white supremacy gibberish, my exact response would have been:


  19. dmichael says:

    @gVOR08: Hey: Your “leading edge boomer” expression was stolen from me. I have been using that for years.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: In putting together an electoral majority I think it is really important to remember that the job a Presidential candidate is applying for is to serve the interests of the entire electorate. As a human being that candidate no doubt feels some of those interests are more pressing and vital than others, but by signing up for the job they should be agreeing to take all of those concerns seriously and to address them where possible.

    As I head ever closer to the 60 year milestone, I find that my life involves a lot of older people now, ones long past retirement. One thing that I see as a common concern is financial security. Wherever they are at on the wealth spectrum, they all know they don’t have any additional opportunities to increase their monthly income or replenish their savings and they don’t know how long they must make it last, and they constantly worry about becoming a burden on their family or on the state. Yet I hear very few Dems address these issues. I think there are powerful arguments on the Dem side: Republicans cut taxes on the rich, but these are replaced with endless fees and privatization schemes; Reminding people that by far the two biggest entitlements the Republicans are trying to cut are the elderlies health benefit and retirement income; That the Republicans relentless desire to push more people into poverty will inevitably result in more desperate people and thus more crime.

  21. Kari Q says:


    Republicans keep explicitly saying that they want to cut Social Security, but Dems still don’t seem to be able to break the GOP stranglehold on that demographic.

  22. DrDaveT says:

    I posted this in a previous Open Forum, but late enough that many people probably never saw it…

    I strongly suspect that the regular commenters here include a significant intersection of Sci-Fi Film geeks and Typography geeks. For those people, there is a website you must explore:

    Typeset in the Future

    The author explores (in unbelievable detail) the type faces used in various classic SF films. The erudition brought to bear in the comments is even more astonishing. There are only 4 or 5 entries so far — the author stopped posting them in order to turn the ones he had into a book that is now for sale. Scroll past the ad for the book to get to the fun stuff.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Kari Q:

    Republicans keep explicitly saying that they want to cut Social Security

    Do they? I usually hear them speaking in code. They say “entitlements” and it seems that 90% of people interpret this as welfare and food stamps.

    They do seem to speak more freely when they are amongst themselves, and enough verified accounts of this have happened to make for an effective Democratic campaign commercial (Scary music, grainy videos and out of focus snapshots: “Do you know what the Republicans say about your social security and retirement health plans when they think you’re not listening?”….)

  24. Teve says:

    In a move likely to heighten the anxiety of those already dubious about President Donald Trump’s respect for term limits, the President retweeted Jerry Falwell’s call to add two years to his term as “reparations” for the time spent on the Mueller investigation.


  25. gVOR08 says:

    @Kari Q: You know Rs want to cut and/or privatize SS and Medicare. And I know it. And most of the principals and commenters here know it. And know they’ve been scheming to since day one of the programs.

    Somebody did a focus group thing asking if people support Senator X, a real Senator. A majority did. Would you support him if he pushed for Y? No, that’s a terrible thing to do. Here’s a news clip of Sen X advocating Y. Do you still support him? Oh yeah. But what about the article? Oh, that can’t be right, he’s a good guy, he wouldn’t really do that. As I’ve bemoaned before, Republicans benefit from an assumption of seriousness and sobriety no matter what evil, stupid stuff they do.

    They don’t say they want to cut. What they say is that they want to “save” SS, they want to put SS and Medicare on a “sound financial footing”, they’re going to make sure they’ll “be there when you need them”. And people believe them. Getting oldsters to understand Republicans are their enemy seems to be surprisingly difficult.

  26. Teve says:

    I feel sorry for any GOP fool who tries to tangle with this woman:

    Rick Scott
    BREAKING: the latest terrible idea to come out of the Democrats’ 2020 primary is a federal gun registry. If you want to buy a gun,
    wants you to register with the federal government.

    This would be scary if Booker had any chance of becoming President. (1/2)

    Rick Scott
    What’s next? Will we have to register sharp knives? Maybe @AOC will make us register every time we buy meat as part of her #GreenNewDeal.

    The Democrats are officially the
    Party. They want America to be less prosperous and less free. (2/2)

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
    That a sitting US Senator can say something lacking so much critical thinking + honesty is embarrassing to the institution.

    If you were a female candidate, maybe you’d be called “unlikeable,” “crazy,” or “uninformed.”

    But since you’re not, this inadequacy is accepted as normal.

  27. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: From the article (which is well worth reading in full):

    She wishes she had never said the things she’s said or did the things she’s done, but when I first met her, she still insisted that they were often jokes gone wrong and that, on some level, she’d said these things because she’d been egged on by others. She seemed unable to face her full complicity in her own behavior. Unlike Derek Black, the son of Stormfront founder Don Black and to date one of the most significant defectors from the white nationalist movement…McHugh wasn’t raised in the movement. Although Black represented the old guard of white nationalism — his godfather is David Duke — McHugh was part of the vanguard. Her set took the emerging own-the-libs ethos that animated the online right and combined it with the new iteration of white nationalism, which called itself the alt-right.

    One of the cornerstones of today’s alt-right is trying to pass off racism, sexism, and other forms of hate as simply jokes, “for the lulz,” a way of triggering the liberals. As Milo put it in his 2016 Breitbart piece promoting the alt-right:

    Meanwhile, the alt-right openly crack jokes about the Holocaust, loudly — albeit almost entirely satirically — expresses its horror at “race-mixing,” and denounces the “degeneracy” of homosexuals… while inviting Jewish gays and mixed-race Breitbart reporters to their secret dinner parties. What gives?

    If you’re this far down the article, you’ll know some of the answers already. For the meme brigade, it’s just about having fun. They have no real problem with race-mixing, homosexuality, or even diverse societies: it’s just fun to watch the mayhem and outrage that erupts when those secular shibboleths are openly mocked.

    A few months ago, in the aftermath of the New Zealand shooting, Amanda Marcotte wrote a good article about how the alt-right uses the “joke” excuse as cover for its true agenda:

    The fact that Brenton Tarrant is likely a mass murderer doesn’t mean he’s not a troll, however. He is both. He livestreamed his killing spree and posted an online manifesto that is stuffed full of alt-right memes and inside jokes, making it quite clear that one of his main goals in murdering all those people was, in internet parlance, “the lulz.” Messing with the libs is what trolls like Tarrant live for, and it turns out that nothing messes with people’s heads quite like mass murder.

    The fascist strategy works this way: You “shroud your sincere ideas in cartoon characters and memes and then, when called out, you mock your accuser for being a clueless normie who isn’t in on the joke,” as vlogger Natalie Wynn explained in her indispensable video “Decrypting the Alt-Right,” released after the Charlottesville riot in 2017.

  28. Just nutha says:

    @Kari Q: That’s because the GOP is saying they want to cut your future Social Security, not my present benefit.

    If it helps you understand, my union brothers, in 1984 in Seattle, WA, voted to cut the starting pay in our industry by over 50% and cap it at 75% of what we were making for all hires subsequent to the onset of the new contract. The answer I got for why they thought it was a good idea was, “it’ll save the companies some money and not affect us.”

  29. Teve says:

    @Kylopod: My favorite part was the guy who tries to claim that his Sieg Heil statement was a “joke”.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: That is truly disturbing. Unfortunately, not surprising.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha:

    If it helps you understand, my union brothers, in 1984 in Seattle, WA, voted to cut the starting pay in our industry by over 50% and cap it at 75% of what we were making for all hires subsequent to the onset of the new contract. The answer I got for why they thought it was a good idea was, “it’ll save the companies some money and not affect us.”

    I don’t know why you would want to give your employers an economic incentive to fire you, should you ever do something dumb and minor that can be construed as cause.


  32. Guarneri says:

    Anyone got any Evening With the Clinton tickets???? I’m offering $.50. That’s a premium I hear….……

  33. Kathy says:


    They were going to. But it was hard to stretch “13 Minutes in October” to theatrical length.

  34. Matt says:

    The slow march to war with Iran continues with the redeployment of a carrier group being announced beforehand over incredibly vague “threats” which no one can seem to define. Not a surprise I guess considering Bolton has wanted a war for a long time and Trump probably wants to be a war time President to boost his numbers and chance of re-election. Trump declaring a branch of the Iranian military a terrorist organization earlier this year was just one of the steps they’ve taken to get the public to support an invasion….

  35. de stijl says:


    I love their take on Bladerunner.

    Whoever did that bit had moxie and stamina just to pull it all together. So much stuff!

    This is a great! Highly recommend Typeset In The Future. Good call, and nice add!

  36. Teve says:

    Speaking of the future a friend just reminded me that DS9 is the best Star Trek.

  37. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: This alone proves that any “Christians”, particularly Evangelicals, who act as moral arbiters and support Trump are nothing more than pathetic hypocrites…Jesus would throw these people out of churches…

    Speaking of the future a friend just reminded me that DS9 is the best Star Trek.

    Better than the original series? Nah…

  38. Kathy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    The primitive effects (which I note were good for the time) of the original make it less appealing, visually, than the more modern series that followed.

    My take is that any series that has a whole galaxy for a playground is bound to ave some excellent episodes. So each Trek series has some great ones, some good ones, not so good ones, terrible ones, and so on.

    Back to effects, some shots in The next generation look decidedly cheesy today, but some hold up reasonably well.

  39. An Interested Party says:

    The primitive effects (which I note were good for the time) of the original make it less appealing, visually, than the more modern series that followed.

    You haven’t seen the newer modified episodes of the original series? They upgraded the special effects but kept the stories…and they look less cheesy than some of the things I saw on TNG…

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: If it helps any, I didn’t either. Worse than that, it didn’t really take very long in an industry where the average age of employees was about 50 for the top-tier workers to be negotiated out of their top-tier wages by lower-tier workers who relatively quickly became 51% of the work force and voted with management because “hey, it’s not us taking the pay cut, go ahead.”

    Idiots. Indeed.

  41. Kathy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Now that you mention it, it tickled a vague memory. I think the original series is available on Netflix, along with all the others, and I wouldn’t mind seeing “The City on the Edge of Forever” again. I should also check out “Let This Be Your Last Battlefield.”

  42. de stijl says:

    @An Interested Party:

    DS9 had the best over-arching story of any of the others.

  43. MarkedMan says:

    I watched every single episode of TOS Star Trek as a kid, multiple times, and so they will always be THE Star Trek to me. All the other ones came after I stopped watching commercial TV (because, commercials) and before the age of streaming, so I’ve never really seen more than a few excerpts of most of them. But I did recently start watching DS9 and have made it about halfway through. I really like the characters, especially the captain, who somehow crafted a portrayal that is both believably a “regular guy” but still dignified, serious and ballsy enough to make a convincing senior naval officer.

  44. de stijl says:

    You know how dictionaries and etymologies and lexicons try to identify the first instance that introduced a neologism or usage into the world?

    I think I identified one – “kinda sorta”

    Specifically, as a combination adjective.

    Prince 1979 / 1980 / When You Were Mine

    “You were kinda sorta my best friend” at 1:28

    First instance?

    (I’ve been listening to versions and covers of this song basically all day – I’m a nerd.)

  45. de stijl says:

    Arguably, the definitive version is Cyndi Lauper’s because “She’s So Unusual” had a much bigger audience than did Dirty Minds (many mistake the song for her’s). And props to her for not changing the pronouns and gender perspective – bold choice for then.

    I’m really quite fond of the Tegan & Sara version

    or, obviously Har Mar Superstar live versions (Davenport)
    He performs it shirtless as an homage to Prince and that is indeed a sight to behold.

    Yes, I’m so a nerd.

  46. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: I was curious about this, so I did a little searching–first through Google’s archive by filtering it to only include pre-1980 results (yes, it’s possible) and then in my library’s online newspaper archive. Here’s what I found.

    There’s a song with that title by David T. Walker from a 1975 album:

    In the newspaper archive I found several instances of the phrase from the first half of the 20th century, including two from The Afro-American, one from the comic strip Joe Palooka, and a sprinkling of other examples around that period.

    I’m guessing the phrase has its origins in Black English. The Online Etymology Dictionary says that the word “kinda” goes back at least to the 19th century.

    Here’s a little more info:

  47. Gustopher says:


    The primitive effects (which I note were good for the time) of the original make it less appealing, visually, than the more modern series that followed.

    The replacement effects are honestly not bad, and not good enough to be jarring given the sets — they are probably the best replacement effects they could have created — but they miss the charm of the original effects.

    The original effects are a reminder that you should be suspending disbelief and focusing on the story. Especially in HD.

    Also, I like seeing tape holding the set together from time to time, and there’s something just adorable about the transporter room having framed pictures of space scenes rather than windows.

    I love 1970s era sci-fi at a higher resolution than it was ever intended to be seen at.

    Similarly, Space: 1999 looks gorgeous in HD, other than when it doesn’t. Most of the time when it looks terrible, it looked terrible at broadcast resolution too.

    The Adam West Batman show — also a winner in HD.

    On a contrary note, the attack on the Death Star in the special edition of Star Wars is a lot better than the original. Three times as many ships makes a big difference.

    I would also happily watch an updated Jurassic Park that adds feathers to dinosaurs. Really, just update it every decade with whatever the best science is for what dinosaurs might have looked like.

  48. Teve says:


    I’m just starting to listen to the podcast Rachel Watches Star Trek, where a young English woman who has never seen any Star trek before starts watching the original series and then talking about each episode with her geek husband, and it’s just fantastic. She is delighted by how spray-painted hunks of styrofoam are supposed to be rocks.

  49. Kathy says:


    Similarly, Space: 1999 looks gorgeous in HD, other than when it doesn’t.

    The styling on late-60s to mid-70s era science fiction shows and movies is superb. I call it retro-futuristic, as in how the past viewed the future. In particular 2001: A Space Odyssey, Logan’s Run, and Space 1999.

  50. Kathy says:

    Update on the recent Aeroflot crash, it seems evacuation was delayed due to passengers nearer the front picking up their luggage from the overhead bins. This needs to be looked at, but there are clear images of passengers schlepping bags away from the plane.

    This has been a concern in aviation blogs for some time. There have been a few emergency evacuations lately, famously the Asiana crash in San Francisco, where we also see passengers leaving with their luggage.

    For the record, in the event of an evacuation, you’re supposed to get up and leave the plane as fast as possible, leaving your luggage behind. You don’t stop to take it off the bins, or to take video of the fire, or for any other reason save to help someone else get out.

    In prior incidents this didn’t seem to have had nay adverse consequences. In this one it may have. In aircraft fires the main cause of death sin’t burning, but smoke inhalation. remember that smoke is scorching hot and will burn your nose, throat and lungs from the inside. Much of it is toxic. and none of it is free oxygen, so it causes hypoxia and may lead to losing consciousness.

    Currently you can be fined and even jailed for lighting up a cigarette on a plane, especially in the lavatory. Much the same ought to apply to people who stop to get their luggage during an evacuation.

    Now, I will say I understand some reasons why people do something that stupid. Force of habit is one. Another is that plenty of people keep money and other valuables in their carry-on, so they’re reluctant to leave it. Some people keep medication in there, or passports, or plane tickets, etc. All those are replaceable.

    But then, it’s easy to criticize others. No one knows how they’ll act in an actual emergency until it happens.

  51. MarkedMan says:

    I found this Atlantic article on the success of experts in predicting events inside their area of expertise really interesting. Or rather, the incredible lack of success. It discusses the Fox vs. Hedgehog paradigm, about how “Foxes” know many little things and are much more effective than the “Hedgehogs” who know one big thing. But I wonder if that’s really the difference. In the example they give and in my personal experience there is a huge difference between people who are invested in getting a prediction right, and people who are invested in a particular world view. The hedgehogs feel they lose prestige by having their worldview invalidated, while the foxes feel they lose prestige by having their prediction turn out wrong. Very different incentives.

    The few Trumpers on here are good examples of people who search through every piece of information to find the ones that support their world view. And, truth be told, many of us who despise Trump are also guilty of the same. For myself, I try to remember that although Trump is a moron who understands nothing and is the living embodiment of the Dunning-Kruger effect, sometimes the things he randomly flails at get knocked in the right direction. For example, his administration may actually pull some reforms out of China. But this doesn’t really threaten my world view, as even a drunk driving a school bus may sometimes accidentally steers it in the right direction. It doesn’t mean they should be behind the wheel.

  52. Gustopher says:

    Over the weekend, in between tweeting about the political correctness of horse racing, our fine President has been claiming that he had the first two years of his presidency stolen from him, and is owed two more.

    Given that he is hostile to oversight, doesn’t understand the limits of his job, is marinating in emoluments, and happily accepted the help of a foreign power to win election… I’m not sure whether this is old man yells at clouds, an attempt to trigger the libs, or a trial balloon for the end of democracy.

    It’s probably all three.

    That is the alt-right playbook for “humor” isn’t it? The way they flash their white power signs. They’re just trolling the libs who don’t get the joke, but they absolutely mean it at the same time. Like the guy who live streamed his shooting rampage and had the manifesto filled with right wing memes, copypasta and jokes. Nothing quite triggers the libs like ironic racism and an ironic shooting rampage, amirite?

    I’m less worried about Trump than whoever the next Republican is. Trump is an obese septuagenarian who never exercises and is probably term limited by that if nothing else.

    Meanwhile, the Republican Party is doing everything they can to restrict voting and voting drives from the undesirable brown folks.

  53. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I’m absolutely enchanted with the designs of the robots in the movie Silent Running. It’s not as optimistic a movie as a lot of the 1970s sci-fi, and that carries over to the design of everything, but the robots are particularly good.

    They are weird, boxy, inhuman shapes and they move with amazing fluidity, and you really have to wonder how they got such great puppetry and remote control robots in 1972. The answer is that they actually had little person amputees in costumes, and those little people put in some great, amazingly physical performances.

    I can not recommend the movie though, as it contains Joan Baez songs. Also, the ending hinges upon Bruce Dern being the worst botanist ever.