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. grumpy realist says:

    Boris going for an early election?

    It looks like Boris and his entourage are trying to make as much of a noise as possible about “no we’re really planning to leave with No Deal this time we pinky-swear”. The question that everyone is asking is whether Boris et al. are really stupid enough to believe the U.K. can exit on a no-deal Brexit without totally crashing the economy.

    I’ve gotten to the point where I do hope they fall off the cliff. I can’t stand people who try to blackmail others with their own incompetence. Let them crash.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It sounds just like the kind of joke that is ubiquitous in today’s cheap-and-cheerful souvenir industry: “I went to Rome and all I got you was this lousy pen.” But the tongue-in-cheek inscription recently deciphered on a cheap writing implement during excavations in the City of London is in fact about 2,000 years old.

    “I have come from the city. I bring you a welcome gift with a sharp point that you may remember me. I ask, if fortune allowed, that I might be able [to give] as generously as the way is long [and] as my purse is empty,” it reads.

    The message was inscribed on an iron stylus dating from around AD70, a few decades after Roman London was founded. The implement was discovered by Museum of London Archaeology during excavations for Bloomberg’s European headquarters next to Cannon Street station, on the bank of the river Walbrook, a now-lost tributary of the Thames.

  3. DrDaveT says:

    For those having a tough time of it lately, or just bummed out by current events, I offer these songs:

    Fa Sol La, Finest Kind

    The Mary Ellen Carter, Stan Rogers

    Lean on Me, Bill Withers

    Let It Be, The Beatles

    You’ve Got a Friend, James Taylor

    Apologies for the .wma file for the first one (which is my favorite). Stay safe out there.

  4. Michael Cain says:

    This past week, California signed a deal with four of the big-name automakers (Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW) to use emission targets very close to those negotiated with the Obama administration. Earlier in the month California got 22 other state governors to sign on to use (or continue to use) California’s emission standards rather than the fed’s (in some of those states, the legislature would still have to act). Towards the end of June California signed a deal with Canada to have the same emission standards.

    In the meanwhile, Trump’s EPA is preparing to release a final rule rolling back the Obama emissions standards as well as removing California’s authority to impose its own tougher standards. The latter part, at least, will be tied up in the courts for years.

    Interesting times.

  5. Paine says:

    On this whole Baltimore thing… Conservatives have a child-like understanding of how language works, as demonstrated by their constant, “Well, if a black person can use the word ‘nigger’ why can’t a white person?” refrain. Context and intent matter. Yes, Bernie Sanders said some harsh things about the city, but his comments were entirely consistent with his long-standing policy proposals on poverty, social justice, housing, and health care. He wasn’t criticizing Baltimore so much as using it as an example to criticize the failures of our current system. He probably could have made similar comments about parts of Detroit, Kansas City, Washington D.C., or any number of other cities.

    But Trump? Given that he’s only the president of the Americans that voted for him, he only cares about Baltimore to the extent that conditions there can be used to undercut one of his harshest critics while simultaneously emitting a dog-siren to his troglodyte-base. If he really cared about the conditions there he’s free to do another infrastructure week or use the bully pulpit to bring attention to the issue. In fact, he’d be free to do that at any time as opposed to 30 minutes after a Fox news clip that was put together to, wouldn’t you know it, undercut one of Trump’s harshest critics.

    Seems like a pretty obvious difference in context and intent but the Trumpaloons with their aversion to, well, thinking things through, don’t get it.

  6. CSK says:

    It seems to have gone unnoticed, but last week, in addition to everything else, Trump made a total fool of himself with the prime minister of India by telling the p.m. of Pakistan that India wants him to intervene between the two countries.

  7. DrDaveT says:


    If he really cared about the conditions there he’s free to do another infrastructure week or use the bully pulpit to bring attention to the issue.

    If we really had journalists in this country, one of them would have asked him in public “Mr. President, if conditions in one of your cities are so bad, what are you doing about that?”

  8. Slugger says:


    *Offer not good in Maryland. Check your locale for eligibility.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    The relation between Trump, Boris, and punk.

    As said, the joy of smashing things just for the sake of smashing things.

  10. Mister Bluster says:
  11. CSK says:

    Dan Coats is out.

  12. Kylopod says:

    In honor of my hometown of Baltimore, I found it fitting to post one work from from a semi-local personality who specialized in song parodies which were played on 98 Rock FM when I was growing up. It took me years before I found this on the Internet, but I did see someone comment that apart from the line about the Catholic confessional, it’s almost a perfect description of our president.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    As someone who is about to move back into Baltimore after 20 years I’d just like to say to all you Republicans out there: take your racist piece of trash President and your quisling Senators and Reps and shove them up your *ss. Thank you.

  14. Guarneri says:


    Well there’s a well reasoned argument.

  15. An Interested Party says:

    Well there’s a well reasoned argument.

    It’s certainly more reasoned than any argument the trash in the White House has ever made…

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @Guarneri: When you endorse filth you get filth on you. Don’t expect others to pretend you don’t stink.

  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “… while simultaneously emitting a dog-siren to his troglodyte-base. ”

    Like the concept! Certainly better than “dog whistles” for what Trump is doing. Even David Duke was more subtle than Trump is.

  18. Guarneri says:

    “Anyone who took the walk that we took around this neighborhood would not think you’re in a wealthy nation,” ………during a visit to the city’s West Baltimore section in December 2015, the Baltimore Sun reported. “You would think that you were in a Third World country.”

    That damned Trump. Oh, wait, that was Bernie Sanders. I’m going to go out on a limb and say none Of you said a word.

    Hypocrites gonna hypocrit……

    Very clever, marked man. What next, I’m a poopie?

  19. An Interested Party says:

    What liberal bias?

    Deep, measured, scholarly critiques of the most powerful elements of our information ecosystem get drowned out when Cruz, Hawley, or Trump crows about bias. That’s an easy talking point for politicians to push, an easy story for distractible news organizations to report, and an easy idea for a gullible public to digest. The concept that billions of aggregated human decisions mold the actions of complex machine-learning systems—which in turn guide human behavior, ultimately rendering us shallow, exhausted, angered, and willing to believe just about anything—is not such a pithy story.

    Cruz and Hawley have to know perfectly well they can’t legislate or regulate the editorial choices that private companies make in America. And they are not making serious proposals, nor introducing any evidence for their complaints.

    That is the real story of Facebook and Google and their effects on our collective minds. We have been rendered unable to take serious things seriously. One reason we can’t face that horrible conclusion is that—well, we can’t take serious things seriously. Cruz, Hawley, and Trump benefit greatly from that vicious circle in the short term, but democracy and the pursuit of a decent society suffer greatly over time.

    Ironically, this article is part of a project supported by the Koch Foundation…

  20. Tyrell says:

    @Michael Cain: How would this affect people who own older cars? What car models would be exempt?
    I have a friend who has an older Pontiac Firebird – the one that has the the eagle on the hood and a high horsepower engine with a two – four barrel carb. This car is worth more than a lot of new cars.

  21. Gustopher says:

    @Guarneri: I’m really impressed that @Paine read that idiotic argument somewhere, and tore it apart before you got around to reading it and parroting it here.

  22. Teve says:
  23. Teve says:
  24. An Interested Party says:

    This is the kind of filth that supports the trash in the White House…

  25. grumpy realist says:

    Uber starting to slide down the slope, regardless of IPO.

    Now I suspect we’ll see the original stockholders dump as much stock as possible as they can before then entire company implodes.

    Told ya so told ya so told ya so…..

  26. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist: Yeah Travis Kalanick wasn’t fired for the sexual harassment stuff, he was fired because he wasn’t getting them to IPO fast enough. They’re losing 4 billion dollars a year and have no functioning business model.