Open Forum

It's that time again.


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. MarkedMan says:

    The tactic of intentional demonizing the Muslim members of congress by the Republicans and their (all but) official news media outlets demonstrates their essential depravity and their inability to embrace the good and positive values of the United States.

  2. Kathy says:

    I’ve found something like a coffee nap: coffee snooze.

    The idea behind a coffee nap is to drink a cup of coffee before taking a short nap. You’re supposed to wake up more alert than with just coffee or just a nap.

    A few days ago I woke up about 40 minutes before my usual time, feeling I wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep. So I got some coffee and watched TV and played with the phone while I drank it. When I was finished with the coffee, say around 25 minutes before my alarm went off, I fell asleep.

    I awoke again when the alarm went off, and I was feeling a lot more alert than 40 minutes earlier.

    I’ve been doing this every time I wake up too early. I can’t always fall asleep again, especially on weekends, but when it works, it works rather well.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    There’s an idiot in Ohio who wants to insist on a non-existent medical procedure for women with ectopic pregnancies.

    And I thought the Brits were stupid with their “WTO Brexit”…..

  4. @Kathy:

    Huh. My general rule is no caffeine after lunch because otherwise it keeps me awake.

  5. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I stop my caffeine intake around 4-5 pm, unless we’re working late.

  6. Guarneri says:

    “Former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden partnered with infamous mobster Whitey Bulger’s nephew and former secretary of state John Kerry’s stepson for his lucrative business deal with the Bank of China.

    The lucrative business deal with state-owned Bank of China was a $1.5 billion private equity investment and was inked in 2013 just weeks after Joe Biden brought his son along on an official trip to China.”

    I’ve been carefully watching “Democrat logic” the past two years. Clearly, what is proven here is that Joe Biden is a pawn of the Boston mob, and probably the Chinese. Further, the best way to get billion dollar private equity deals done, when you have no private equity experience whatsoever, is to have a connected dad, say, the VP of the United States.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    ….if you ever wanted more evidence that the interactions among people trying to live off YouTube and other social media are nothing more than 1950s high school hissy fits, writ large…

  8. Jax says:

    @Guarneri: Great. Now do Ivanka and Jared and all the deals they’ve inked with Russia, China and others, before during and after the election. See, that’s the problem with you Trumpies. You do not realize how low Brokeahontas has set the bar. Until your “rules” on corruption apply equally to the Trump family, nobody really cares.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: @Kathy: I used to be able to drink coffee all day long, right up to the moment I went to bed. These days it’s no coffee for me after 9 AM and it’s half caff.

  10. Slugger says:

    @Guarneri: Hunter Biden is a billionaire with hinky financing with foreign sources behind him? Where do I vote for him!
    Guarneri, you’re just not on your game with this one. I expect better of you. A Democrat from Boston and no mention of Chappiquiddick, not long ago ago you would have gotten a incomplete just for that oversight.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. Oh, and for those interested in the latest Brexit situation–not much change. The dimwits who used to support Boris Johnson have found their new saviour in Nigel Farage, and the Torygraph crowd are peeing themselves with glee over the fact that ol’ Nigel with his Brexit Party is expected to take “the majority” of the vote in the upcoming EU elections. (“The majority” meaning 26%). The fact that even if Nigel were to get 99% in the EU election it wouldn’t mean a single seat in the U.K. Parliament has, of course, totally slipped their minds.

    Aside from epithets thrown at anyone who indicates that a) “WTO Brexit” doesn’t mean anything b) Nigel Farage is nothing more than a dimmer O. Mosley, c) the reason Theresa May hasn’t been kicked out of being PM by the Tories is because no one wants the job at present……there’s not much going on.

  12. Kathy says:


    A co-worker drinks coffee all day, and Coke the rest of the day. He claims he has no trouble falling asleep, and that he regularly goes to bed at 1 am sharp every day.

    I have tried to explain.

    BTW decaf coffee is not caffeine-free. It has way less caffeine than regular, but you can’t remove it all. People who seldom drink caffeine find decaf an eye-opening experience.

  13. grumpy realist says:

    Mel Gibson starring in a film called Rothchild? Uh, no.

    (I can’t figure out whether this is pure trolling on the part of whoever came up with this idea or just pure tone-deafness. And I can’t figure out which is more appalling.)

  14. Kathy says:

    Interesting and timely article about “Truth Decay” in Neurologica.

    The gist, news has become more narrative entertainment than fact-based information:

    They identified several trends, which may contribute to Truth Decay. The first is that prior to 2000 broadcast news tended to be more academic and fact-based. After 2000 the news became more narrative based – presented more as simplistic stories, with less complexity and nuance.

    No word on cutesy titles for phenomena or articles.

    The usual caveat: It’s only one study.

    But it’s something I’ve noticed, especially in digital media. Too many articles promise, via headline, something interesting and factual, which then becomes a narrative on how someone did or experienced something related to the topic at hand.

    I’m not opposed to narrative and personal stories in news media, but it can go too far. It should not supplant the news.

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    25 years ago it was all the beer I could drink and all the Kools I could smoke (3 packs) every day.
    Today it’s all the mud I can drink, about 3 rolls of Breath Savers and enough weed to keep me happy and on most nights 8 or 9 hours of sleep.
    Still need to cut back on Buffalo Wild Wings and the 55 TV’s. That might be my most odious vice.

  16. Gustopher says:


    Interesting and timely article about “Truth Decay” in Neurologica.

    I was disappointed to see that you weren’t discussing the album by T-Bone Burnett. And more disappointed to see that it wasn’t on Spotify.

    Spotify fails me more and more lately.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    Fox News was started in 1996. Four years later the study notes a decline in veracity?

  18. DrDaveT says:


    But it’s something I’ve noticed, especially in digital media. Too many articles promise, via headline, something interesting and factual, which then becomes a narrative on how someone did or experienced something related to the topic at hand.

    Good catch. I’ve noted this across the entire spectrum of journalism and documentary reporting. For example, the PBS show “Nova” used to be excellent — full of facts presented cogently for an educated but non-specialist audience. These days it’s practically “reality TV”, substituting narratives and personalities and bogus reenactments for history and science.

  19. Mister Bluster says:

    Had to be 25 or 30 years ago that I was viewing an episode of NOVA when an unnamed psychic was presented as a reliable source for something or other.
    Haven’t watched it since.

  20. Kathy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    A trend isn’t a trend until at least a second participant begins to follow the originator.

  21. Kathy says:


    These days it’s practically “reality TV”, substituting narratives and personalities and bogus reenactments for history and science.

    There are some science and history shows still worth watching. If you catch any of Kara Cooney’s shows, like “Out of Egypt,” those are pretty good. Dr. Cooney is an Egyptology professor and author (I’ve read both her books*). I also like “Air Crash Investigations” on National Geographic, whenever they bother to show one.

    I get that narratives help the reader, or viewer, connect with the people a story affects. Therefore including some personal stories or experiences in a news article is legitimate. But when you get a headline like “Canadian Doctor’s Radical Plan to Combat the Opioid Epidemic,” is several pages long and the headlined plan takes maybe three paragraphs, with little analysis, and the rest if the doctor’s life and his experienceS in Canada’s health system, that’s too much narrative and not enough news.

    *) Dr. Cooney’s books are “The Woman Who Would Be King,” about the life and reign of Hatshepsut, and “When women Ruled the World,” reasonably brief accounts of six women who ruled Egypt.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    Bloomberg has an interesting article about Trump Tower’s flagging fortunes. In a market that has been red hot for a decade, condo owners are having to sell at up to a 20% loss after ten years ownership. And while equivalent commercial property is leasing at over $100/sqft, Trump Tower has plenty of vacant space at $72-85, and the listings note that even that is negotiable.

  23. wr says:

    @Guarneri: Adorable that you put your little smear in quotes but somehow never mention who it is you’re quoting from. WND? Rudy Giuliani’s ass?

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @wr: It seems to be from a book by some guy named Peter Schweitzer. A clip from the quote put me at the Washington Free Beacon–an obviously credible source fershur.

  25. Gustopher says:

    Kevin Drum has a post about the depression gene being bogus. He ties it to the reproducibility problem in social sciences, and problems with drug testing, and says that the whole thing is ominous.

    I think he is very optimistic.

    The incentives to fudge data in medical tests means it happens. Studies that don’t show the effectiveness of a drug, which are funded by the drug company are suppressed and never see the light of day. This all gets only the favorable studies published, and skews the overall results.

    But that’s not where he is overly optimistic.

    This will get cited by those who don’t believe in climate change, because it completely fits the science-is-a-fiction narrative, and be used to ignore and delay any efforts at removing carbon from our energy supply. And, to the untrained or moderately trained observer, medical testing and science testing are pretty close (the lab coats are the same), so I can’t say that I entirely blame the dumb people who will cite this.*

    Also, it fuels the antivaxxers. But pandemics aren’t likely to be extinction level events, so… meh.

    It’s just another thing that makes me think we are doomed. Luckily, I’m 48. If climate change takes another 40 years to kill us, I’m probably out of here before then. And I didn’t have kids, so that’s good.

    I think the correct sentiment here is “Peace out, b.tches.” Not 100% sure.

    *: We’re all dumb on something. We mostly assess information by who says it, rather than what the information is.

  26. Gustopher says:

    In another thread, James Joyner writes:

    Trump has been corrupt and dishonest to a degree we’ve not seen in my political lifetime. LBJ was a sleaze and Nixon a paranoid but they compensated by actually getting useful things done.

    Trump’s re-election would signal 1) the country doesn’t care, 2) it doesn’t matter what the country thinks because the Electoral College distorts our system beyond recognition, or 3) both. I think the legitimacy of the Republic is seriously in question if that happens.

    I feel the same way.

    Honestly, I’d be terrified, but I’m fat and comfortable in my life, and know that as a middle-aged white man, I’m going to be pretty ok one way or the other… Otherwise, I’d be a revolutionary.

    But, as it is, it’s a question of being comfortable or very comfortable.

    Anyway, with global warming out of control, but unlikely to kill me, I just kind of shrug. All things being equal, it would be better to get rid of Trump and fix global warming, but…

    And that’s the magic of home ownership and the massive problems hovering about somewhere past the end of my lifespan. You’ve got enough to lose that violent revolution isn’t part of your plans. Honestly, a violent revolution is probably going to be bad for me — might disrupt the supply of blood thinners or something. Also, blood thinners and violent revolutions are just a bad combination anyway.

    I don’t know how people who have kids sleep at night. I’m pretty sure I’ll outlive my cats, and if not… well, they’re just cats.

    Maybe the cats picked the right religion and will be saved. That would be nice. They’re good cats.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @Gustopher:..Otherwise, I’d be a revolutionary.

    The first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man. Unless he understands this, he does not grasp the essential meaning of his life.
    Huey P. Newton 1942-1989 RIP

  28. Teve says:

    Trump State department removing lots of personnel from Iraq embassy, claiming possibility of Iranian terrorist attack.