Open Forum

Where you can't be off-topic because there IS no topic.

The floor is yours.

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. CSK says:

    It certainly is fascinating to see how assiduously the pro-Trump sites are ignoring the revelation that one of Trump’s biggest fans was Whitey Bulger.

    Bulger also loved Limbaugh and Hannity.

  2. Teve says:
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: They’re not ignoring it so much as it’s just “dog bites man” news. Of course Whitey was a trump fan, birds of a feather and all that.

  4. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think it’s more that they revere Trump, and know Whitey is very, very bad, and they can’t reconcile the two, so they pretend it never happened.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Trust me on this, way down deep inside they admire thugs who say, “Fuck you and the law.” Of course, on the surface they are exactly the same.

  6. Teve says:

    Some Maine Republicans Fret New State Ballad Is Too Hard On The Confederacy

    John Bazemore/AP
    By Caitlin MacNeal
    June 7, 2019 3:20 pm

    Maine legislators recently approved a new state ballad, a task one would expect to be simple and drama-free.

    Alas, in the year 2019, it’s not so easy. Some Republican state lawmakers in the northeastern state were concerned that the ballad chosen cast too negative of a light on the Confederacy, according to a new report from the Maine Beacon.

    The song, titled “The Ballad of the 20th Maine,” tells the story of a Maine infantry regiment that fought in the Civil War, and unsurprisingly, has a pro-Union message. Two Republicans found this inappropriate.

    “I find it a little bit, we are united states, we are not Union, we are united states. And I find it just a little bit – I won’t say offensive but that’s what I mean – to say that we’re any better than the South was,” Republican state Rep. Frances Head said last month while discussing the song, per the Maine Beacon.

    Republican state Rep. Roger Reed expressed similar hesitations.

    “I am a lover of history and especially a lover of the civil war period and regardless of what side people fought on, they were fighting for something they truly believed in,” Reed said, according to the Beacon. “Many of them were great Christian men on both sides. They fought hard and they were fighting for states’ rights as they saw them.”

  7. CSK says:

    @Teve: The “states right” was the right to keep slaves. It says so in the declaration of secession for So. Carolina.

  8. Teve says:

    Chris Miller
    Bugs Bunny is totally chill until provoked, & then he comes back at you with like 1000x more than the original offense. He’s the John Wick of the cartoon world
    7:42 PM · Jun 8, 2019 ·

    Sis Boom Blah
    Replying to
    I remember the episode where a rude magician threw a pie in Bugs’ face and then I’m pretty sure Bugs retaliated by killing him.

    Replying to
    He pulled a gun out of nowhere in the middle of his own piano concert because someone coughed and he wasn’t even reprehended when he killed him, Bugs Bunny exerts ultimate power and I fear his capabilities

  9. Teve says:

    Tom Gara
    This is amazing: Forbes, The Hill, the Daily Caller and The Federalist all published articles by an Iranian opposition activist who does not exist and is actually just a fake Twitter account run by a bunch of dudes in Albania

  10. Mister Bluster says:

    Independence Hall Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Saturday June 9, 1787

    Mr. GERRY, according to previous notice given by him, moved “that the National Executive should be elected by the Executives of the States whose proportion of votes should be the same with that allowed to the States in the election of the Senate.”
    If the appointmt. should be made by the Natl. Legislature, it would lessen that independence of the Executive which ought to prevail, would give birth to intrigue and corruption between the Executive & Legislature previous to the election, and to partiality in the Executive afterwards to the friends who promoted him.
    Mr. RANDOLPH, urged strongly the inexpediency of Mr. Gerry’s mode of appointing the Natl. Executive. The confidence of the people would not be secured by it to the Natl. magistrate. The small States would lose all chance of an appointmt. from within themselves. Bad appointments would be made; the Executives of the States being little conversant with characters not within their own small spheres.

    On the question for referring the appointment of the Natl. Executive to the State Executives as propd. by Mr. Gerry Massts. no. Cont. no. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. divd. Md. no. Va. no. S. C. no. Geo. no.

    Mr. PATTERSON moves that the Committee resume the clause relating to the rule of suffrage in the Natl. Legislature.
    Mr. BREARLY seconds him. He was sorry he said that any question on this point was brought into view. It had been much agitated in Congs. at the time of forming the Confederation, and was then rightly settled by allowing to each sovereign State an equal vote. Otherwise the smaller States must have been destroyed instead of being saved. The substitution of a ratio, he admitted carried fairness on the face of it; but on a deeper examination was unfair and unjust.
    He had come to the convention with a view of being as useful as he could in giving energy and stability to the federal Government. When the proposition for destroying the equality of votes came forward, he was astonished, he was alarmed. Is it fair then it will be asked that Georgia should have an equal vote with Virga.? He would not say it was. What remedy then? One only, that a map of the U. S. be spread out, that all the existing boundaries be erased, and that a new partition of the whole be made into 13 equal parts.
    Mr. PATTERSON considered the proposition for a proportional representation as striking at the existence of the lesser States. The Convention he said was formed in pursuance of an Act of Congs. …that the amendment of the confederacy was the object of all the laws and commissions on the subject; that the articles of the Confederation were therefore the proper basis of all the proceedings of the Convention. We ought to keep within its limits, or we should be charged by our Constituents with usurpation,..But the Commissions under which we acted were not only the measure of our power, they denoted also the sentiments of the States on the subject of our deliberation. The idea of a national Govt. as contradistinguished from a federal one, never entered into the mind of any of them, and to the public mind we must accomodate ourselves. We have no power to go beyond the federal scheme,… We must follow the people; the people will not follow us. -The proposition could not be maintained whether considered in reference to us as a nation, or as a confederacy. A confederacy supposes sovereignty in the members composing it & sovereignty supposes equality. If we are to be considered as a nation, all State distinctions must be abolished, the whole must be thrown into hotchpot, and when an equal division is made, then there may be fairly an equality of representation. He held up Virga. Massts. & Pa. as the three large States, and the other ten as small ones; repeating the calculations of Mr. Brearly as to the disparity of votes which wd. take place, and affirming that the small States would never agree to it…Give the large States an influence in proportion to their magnitude, and what will be the consequence? Their ambition will be proportionally increased, and the small States will have every thing to fear. It was once proposed by Galloway & some others that America should be represented in the British Parlt. and then be bound by its laws. America could not have been entitled to more than 1/3 of the no. of Representatives which would fall to the share of G. B. Would American rights & interests have been safe under an authority thus constituted? It has been said that if a Natl. Govt. is to be formed so as to operate on the people and not on the States, the representatives ought to be drawn from the people. But why so? May not a Legislature filled by the State Legislatures operate on the people who chuse the State Legislatures? or may not a practicable coercion be found. He admitted that there was none such in the existing System. -He was attached strongly to the plan of the existing confederacy, in which the people chuse their Legislative representatives; and the Legislatures their federal representatives. No other amendments were wanting than to mark the orbits of the States with due precision, and provide for the use of coercion, which was the great point. He alluded to the hint thrown out heretofore by Mr. Wilson of the necessity to which the large States might be reduced of confederating among themselves, by a refusal of the others to concur. Let them unite if they please, but let them remember that they have no authority to compel the others to unite. N. Jersey will never confederate on the plan before the Committee. She would be swallowed up. He had rather submit to a monarch, to a despot, than to such a fate. He would not only oppose the plan here but on his return home do every thing in his power to defeat it there.

  11. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It will be tough for those who truly believe, or purport to believe, that Donald Trump is a moral, upright man.

  12. Gustopher says:

    Th first few episodes of Good Omens on Amazon make me wish they had done The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy instead. It hits the tone that the HHGG tv show and movie aimed for and missed.

    David Tennant’s Crowley is a bit too David Tennanty though — and I say that as someone who really likes David Tennant. He might be doing a parody of David Tennant at this point.

  13. Gustopher says:

    I’m not sure I can vote for someone who tucks in a polo shirt like this:

    Beto’s suit jacket with baseball cap is not a great look either, but, Mayor Pete is not looking good. Hands on hips and being a foot shorter doesn’t help.

    Our first gay president will demolish stereotypes of gays having good fashion sense.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: One foot in Hell and the other on a banana peel. The part that cracks me up is they actually think he was chosen by God to do God’s work. One could be forgiven for thinking that they might ask themselves whether or not the things they have dedicated their lives to are actually God’s work. I mean, what mere mortal could possibly know the minds of God?. But of course, they have ‘faith’.

  15. An Interested Party says:


    Obviously, the New Deal shaded into socialism or social democracy, if you will. But in many ways, it’s a foolish argument, because we have socialism for the rich everywhere. Nobody is actually trying to keep the government out of the market. At least, nobody in Herbert Hoover or Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

  16. Stormy Dragon says:

    Today I had to get the first dose of an MMR vaccine after an antibody test revealed that, despite having been vaccinated as a child, I was no longer immune. Apparently people who were vaccinated before 1989 are experiencing MMR vaccination failures at a much higher rate than expected. While in the past this wasn’t a problem because of herd immunity, it’s becoming an issue again.

    So if your insurance covers it, you may want to get yourself a measles antibody test to make sure you’re still protected.

  17. Mister Bluster says:

    @An Interested Party:..Nobody is actually trying to keep the government out of the market. At least, nobody in Herbert Hoover or Donald Trump’s Republican Party.

    Rich people march on Washington every day.
    I. F. Stone

  18. Gustopher says:


    The part that cracks me up is they actually think he was chosen by God to do God’s work.

    The Book of Revelations describes a bit of God’s work, does it not? It pretty much lays out God’s plan, and it kind of sucks.

    Also, the Book of Job reads like God is an abusive boyfriend, testing Job’s love. Why Job didn’t dump his ass and hook up with Zorro, the god of Zoroasterism, I simply cannot understand. From the outside, it seems like the right thing to do.

    You just want to shake Job and yell at him “someone who loves you doesn’t deliberately hurt you!” Or “b.tch, I supported you when you joined this crazy cult because it made you happy, and I want you to be happy, but you ain’t happy.”

    That reminds me of this fine song by Elvis Costello and Emmylou Harris, “Heart Shaped Bruise.”

  19. Kathy says:


    Also, the Book of Job reads like God is an abusive boyfriend, testing Job’s love.

    Yes, thank you. I’m glad someone else sees that.

    It also contains the idea that you can replace a dead wife and dead children with a new wife and new children.

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The sad part to me is that they have to say that about God and God’s work even if they don’t believe it. Otherwise, they have to own having elected a immoral moron after years of saying that character matters.

  21. Kathy says:

    Considering the finale of The Big Bang Theory, was the point that after 12 years Sheldon finally grew up?

    Also, unlike many sitcoms, no one moved away, no one married, and no one had a baby. There’s already a spin-off, Young Sheldon, and there was no obvious set up for another. In some ways, life just goes on but we don’t get to hear more about it.

    That’s how it feels. The Nobel has a big monetary component, aside from the prestige, of nearly $1 million. The tax man will take a bite, but that still leaves Dr. and Dr. Cooper a lot of money one wonders how they’d use or invest.

  22. Teve says:

    If anybody still has the terrible, innumerate idea that nuclear power is going to save us from global warming, that new Chernobyl show probably doomed that.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve:I used to think nuclear energy could play a significant role but then had some peripheral but downright frightening demonstrations of the fundamental dishonesty of the people running the industry. Rather than list them out I’ll just point out that when US nuclear officials were asked “could a Fukishima style nuclear meltdown happen here?” they basically replied that no US nuclear power plant was located where both an earthquake and a tsunami could happen simultaneously. They lobbied (and won) strongly against further oversight. What they didn’t mention was that what ultimately caused the catastrophe in Japan was that power was lost to the reactor and it had no way to safely shut down. If I remember correctly, about 1 in 3 US plants would suffer the same fate if power was cut to them. Sure, that might not happen because of simultaneous tidal waves and earthquakes, but it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to game out other scenarios, accidental or deliberate.

    On top of that, virtually every reactor in the US, commercial or military, is surrounded by tons of spent fuel that rely on continuous power to run the cooling system. If power was lost for an extensive period of time the fuel would catch fire, billowing endless radioactive smoke plumes. According to the nuclear experts on a US National Academies panel:

    At U.S. nuclear plants, spent fuel is equally vulnerable. It is for the most part densely packed in pools, heightening the fire risk if cooling systems were to fail. NRC has estimated that a major fire in a U.S. spent fuel pool would displace, on average, 3.4 million people from an area larger than New Jersey. “We’re talking about trillion-dollar consequences,” says panelist Frank von Hippel, a nuclear security expert at Princeton University.

    The US nuclear industry has done nothing to modify existing plants so they “fail safe” and instead has created dozens of storage areas of spent fuel that also will not “fail safe”. They are risking the lives of millions on uninterrupted operation and resist all efforts to hold them to a higher standard.

  24. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: my undergrad degree is in physics. I want nuclear power to work. I want nuclear power to be awesome. I want nuclear power to fix global warming. But the numbers tell me I’m an idiot. We need 15 terawatts of electrical power just at current rate and a nuclear power plant produces about a gigawatt. And we’re too dumb to figure out what to do with the waste from our measly 100 ish existing nuclear power plants. Humanity is fuuuuuuuuucked and thank heavens I’m 42 and will be dead before the massive horrendous consequences really start to kick in.

  25. Stormy Dragon says:


    The US nuclear industry has done nothing to modify existing plants so they “fail safe” and instead has created dozens of storage areas of spent fuel that also will not “fail safe”. They are risking the lives of millions on uninterrupted operation and resist all efforts to hold them to a higher standard.

    Why would they? If an accident ever occurs, their liability is capped and the US taxpayer is on the hook for cleaning up the mess:

    Price–Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act

  26. MarkedMan says:

    So when Trump’s phony “deal” with Mexico was shown to be a farce he said the first thing that popped into his Adderall riddled brain – there was another, secret, deal that would be revealed any day now. But the Mexican government just directly contradicted that and said there was no other deal. This got me thinking about two things:
    – The Trump administration is such a giant disorganized cluster*ck and when they have negotiations they don’t seem to write anything down or have a formal signing. So, yeah, Trump can later claim there was a whole other part of the deal he forgot to mention, but so can the other side. Without a signed agreement, there is nothing. For example, how would an agency write the rules if there is no document to guide them?
    – Where have all our Trumpers gone? Where are the dependable regulars that would normally be here crowing about what a negotiating genius Trump was? Have they all been banned? Or have they reached the Reynolds Threshold*?

    *The point at which even a Trumper can’t bring themselves to put anymore lipstick on the pig and so slink off to sulk alone

  27. Stormy Dragon says:


    The Nobel has a big monetary component, aside from the prestige, of nearly $1 million. The tax man will take a bite, but that still leaves Dr. and Dr. Cooper a lot of money one wonders how they’d use or invest.

    It won’t change anything. Early in the series there was an episode where it turned out Sheldon Cooper has a drawer full of uncashed paychecks because he makes more money than he needs and doesn’t care about the rest beyond that.

    Also, he doesn’t use banks because he’s convinced ATM’s will be the first wave of the inevitable robot rebellion.

  28. @Kathy:

    Also, unlike many sitcoms, no one moved away, no one married, and no one had a baby

    Maybe I’m missing the point here but on TBBT everyone but Raj and Stuart got married, Howard and Bernadette had two kids, and Penny was pregnant by the end of the finale.

  29. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Continuity wasn’t the best in that show. In one episode Sheldon states he done’t dance(*), in another he’s an expert in all sorts of dancing arts and takes Penny, Amy, and Bernadette dancing.

    So there 🙂

    They were better with the money. In different eps he loans money to Penny and doesn’t care when she pays him back, and asks Raj about the relevance of a cash prize in a not Magic the Gathering tournament.

    But I posit that confronted with a lump sum of hundreds of thousands of dollars, Sheldon might think of something to do with it.

    (*) Even if he were a clown made of candy.

  30. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Sorry. I mean in the finale (or the last season close to the finale). That’s how sitcoms commonly end: someone has a baby, someone gets married, someone moves away.

    In Friends, Chandler and Monica have their adopted twins and move way, while Phoebe gets married just a few eps short of the finale. In Frasier, Daphne gives birth and Frasier moves elsewhere. Things like that.

    They teased Raj moving to London, but that doesn’t happen.

  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: I thought that the ending was simply about having run out of ways to make fun of people on the Asperger’s Spectrum.

  32. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    But they had such a great setup for next season, if there were going to be a next season.

    Character growth in a sitcom can always be eliminated at any time. So Sheldon would be triply obnoxious now that he won a Nobel Prize. He may get depressed because he won’t ever win another. He should get another visit from Bob Newhart as well.

    Penny’s pregnancy, delivery and early parenting adventures, can provide comic fodder for the rest of the season, along with guest spots for Keith Carradine and Katey Sagal.

    BTW, we never found out Penny’s last name.

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    Penny Lane