Sunday’s 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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The Brontosaurus Is Back

    The first of the Brontosaurus genus was named in 1879 by famed paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh. The specimen still stands on display in the Great Hall of Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. In 1903, however, paleontologist Elmer Riggs found that Brontosaurus was apparently the same as the genus Apatosaurus, which Marsh had first described in 1877. In such cases the rules of scientific nomenclature state that the oldest name has priority, dooming Brontosaurus to another extinction.

    But a 2015 study suggests resurrecting Brontosaurus. It turns out the original Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus fossils appear different enough to belong to separate groups after all. “Generally, Brontosaurus can be distinguished from Apatosaurus most easily by its neck, which is higher and less wide,” says lead study author Emanuel Tschopp, a vertebrate paleontologist at the New University of Lisbon in Portugal. “So although both are very massive and robust animals, Apatosaurus is even more extreme than Brontosaurus.”

    The nearly 300-page study analyzed 477 different physical features of 81 sauropod specimens, involving five years of research and numerous visits to museum collections in Europe and the U.S. The initial goal of the research was to clarify the relationships among the species making up the family of sauropods known as the diplodocids, which includes Diplodocus, Apatosaurus and now Brontosaurus.

  2. James Joyner says:

    In 1903, however, paleontologist Elmer Riggs found that Brontosaurus was apparently the same as the genus Apatosaurus

    What’s bizarre is that we certainly learned about Brontosaurus when I was in grade school in the 1970s. I thought the move away was much more recent.

  3. de stijl says:

    If you ever want to sport a mohawk, there are drawbacks and contingencies.

    If you have the the prep time you can can look mighty fine. But it is sorta a pain. A friend of mine used Elmer’s glue which is pretty genius – it’s water soluble.

    If you need to be anywhere, you basically need an hour. Screw that.

    I did a high hawk once for a month and not gonna happen again. It is a pain to maintain.

    You wake up with an ugly flop on one side. You need coffee but look like a fool so you put on a cap or a beanie.

    Too much hassle. Nope.

    Nowadays, I just go super sort on sides and back – .5 guide fading to 1 and 1.5. Top just does it’s business.

    A short wide ‘hawk is sorta the go-to – think Joe Strummer, but once a while I just whack all of it off when it annoys me.

    In this circumstance I am glad I am not a girl. So much pressure! It’s just hair.

    From 25 to 48 I had serious corporate guy hair. What a goddamned joke that was.

    That only conventional looking people can be serious is a myth perpetrated to keep us coloring within the lines.

    Our kids and grandkids have this figured out. Hair is a neutral accessory.

    It’s brains, will, and moxie. Hair – and clothes – are irrelevant.

    The era of judging a professional serious person by status markings is flatly thankfully over.

    God, ties are really annoying. Never again.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: Same here. I just figured my parochial grade school science books were from the 1900s. 😉

  6. Kathy says:

    From the Vatican’s own files, come revelations about the Holocaust, and the aftermath.

    It’s worth reading the whole thing. It’s rather short. And offers some insight both of today’s political situation, and of religion and Christianity. Quote:

    The historian says his findings help fill many of the behind-the-scenes gaps at the Vatican during the war and its aftermath. But there is one question, says Kertzer, Pope Pius XII never seemed to ask:

    “How could so many thousands and hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Germans and their allies take part in the mass murder of Jewish children and old people and so forth, still thinking they were good Catholics?”

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: My hair is so kinky I had a natural afro throughout HS and my early 20s. I finally got tired of it sometime after my first marraige and started having it cut short, but hated the time spent in a barbers chair such that every 6 months I’d have one again. Finally learned to just get a buzz cut. I still wait 3 months between cuts but the hair isn’t near as long and the cuts are a lot quicker.

  8. de stijl says:


    Get yourself a set of electric clippers.

    You will never have to see a barber again.

    I am full in on DIY hair.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: We have them. My wife likes to do it for me. Takes longer than if I did it, but it makes her happy.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Saint Catherine’s Monastery, a sacred Christian site nestled in the shadow of Mount Sinai, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuously used libraries. Thousands of manuscripts and books are kept there—some of which contain hidden treasures.

    Now, as Jeff Farrell reports for the Independent, a team of researchers is using new technology to uncover texts that were erased and written over by the monks who lived and worked at the monastery. Many of these original texts were written in languages well known to researchers—Latin, Greek, Arabic—but others were inscribed in long-lost languages that are rarely seen in the historical record.
    Since 2011, researchers have photographed 74 palimpsests, which boast 6,800 pages between them. And the team’s results have been quite astonishing. Among the newly revealed texts, which date from the 4th to the 12th century, are 108 pages of previously unknown Greek poems and the oldest-known recipe attributed to the Greek physician Hippocrates.

    But perhaps the most intriguing finds are the manuscripts written in obscure languages that fell out of use many centuries ago.

  11. de stijl says:

    If you confidently wear odd hair people will react and respond to you differently.

    It is really noticeable.

    It’s actually pretty fascinating.

    You are afforded some authority. Not credence per se, but moxie points.

    Some give you aggression, but you can laugh it off easy.

    I really don’t give a crap about boundary policing on stupid shit like hair. Fuck right off with that.

  12. CSK says:

    ABC News headline: Trump blames media after DNC tops RNC in ratings.

  13. de stijl says:

    Kids get that self presentation is dissociated from talent, worth, professionalism.

    Good riddance to that bad rubbish.

    I hated wearing a tie, but I enjoyed wearing odd ties to perplex my boss.

    God, he must have hated me at the time. I wasn’t a dick about it, but my vibe was this is frankly silly and needs to change.

    Thankfully, I did not have a customer focused job.

    Would have been so fired if so.

    The kids got this. We will move to a new understanding of work.

  14. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:
    Same here. It was always a brontosaurus.

  15. Michael Cain says:

    @de stijl:

    I hated wearing a tie, but I enjoyed wearing odd ties to perplex my boss.

    When I was on the state legislature’s staff — coat and tie required — I had my “special” tie for the last day of the session. Dark blue, thin horizontal red lines, and a batch of Warner Brothers cartoon characters climbing the lines like a ladder, looking like a jail break.

  16. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    Get yourself a set of electric clippers.

    You will never have to see a barber again.

    I’ve been wondering about that recently. I haven’t been to a professional barber since being sent home from work in March. I’ve been using clippers I got from Amazon. People on Zoom say I look fine, but I imagine that when the, um, situation finally blows over and I get back out into the world I will have to figure out whether I need a professional. There’s a distinct possibility I’ll never have to see a barber again, but that could be hubris.

    Of course I’m balding on top (I couldn’t sport a mohawk if I wanted to, the hair in front is just gone) and I’ve been wearing a buzz-cut for years, so cutting my hair isn’t exactly the most complicated thing in the world.

  17. de stijl says:


    I might be the wrong person to ask.

    I am perfectly fine with a buzz cut with a .5 guard.

    It does not bother me at all whatever hair I have or whatever hair you have or don’t. Your hair is your business.

    That inoculates me to approbation. I just do not give a shit.

    I like low maintenance but a style that suits me so DIY electric clippers work fine for me.

    May not for you. That is perfectly fine.

    For me it works. Perhaps because I don’t care about stuff like that.

    There are shit loads of YT vids to teach you how if you decide on that path.

    I like my hair pretty short so I had to hit the barber about every three weeks. Anxiety odd man or woman touching my head was uncool.

    For me, it is a relief to do DIY hair. It’s basic, but it works for me and is the correct choice for me.

    When I was a pup only friends futzed with my hair so that worked perfectly.

    When I became an adult, I had to go a gal or guy I did not know. Always creeped me out.

    I am at the point in my life where I choose to diminish anxiety.

    Plus I look like a bad-ass.

  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    @de stijl:

    Just wait, your hair will fall out.

  19. de stijl says:

    I don’t mind suits.

    Suits are pretty cool. I have a half dozen decent ones and two awesome.

    Ties are just stupid. They serve no purpose. Beyond style, that is – if you are into ties and like wearing them then you are aces in my book.

    Granted there can be very cool and stylish and awesome ties, but the concept that a good tie and a solid suit makes you better at a job is just fucking stupidity.

    It was a gateway where poor people could not comply to the social norm. Fuck that nonsense.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: If you confidently wear odd hair people will react and respond to you differently.

    I learned it’s the same with clothes, the louder the better. Certainly got me more attention from the ladies.

  21. sam says:

    I Was a U.S. Diplomat. Customs and Border Protection Only Cared That I Was Black

    And some people wonder why folks are upset.


  22. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    If my hair falls out I will no longer have to concern myself with it. That super works for me.

    I have spent a fairly large portion of my life shaved bald.

    Bring it, stupid follicles! I dare you.

    I will totally submit. Embrace the bald.

    I’m het, but can appreciate a good looking man. I can and do a man crush if he is worthy. Bald is not a problem at all. Who the fuck cares? And, if so, fuck them!

  23. de stijl says:


    Dude, I am not telling you what to do especially on things romantic or sexy fun time stuff, but I guarantee you I get more attention than average Joe / Jo with stupid normal hair.

    Plus women (for me) that respond to that are people I want to meet. I like people that like odd.

    Social signifiers send a message.

    It really is a fascinating topic.

    I am simultaneously very anxious and quite bold. I signal strong.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: Jeebus. Thanx for that.

  25. An Interested Party says:

    Conservative sports fans are being brutally victimized by the NBA players, among other professional sports players…it’s just so sad…I feel so bad for these poor dears…

  26. de stijl says:

    @An Interested Party:

    How dare those black men have a political response to a black man being shot in the back?

    Those folks who want “just sports” are … Complicit is a very strong word and accusative.

    “Just sports” dudes are ignoring a hard generational reckoning of race and policing.

  27. CSK says:

    Thanks. I always wondered why that song became the Red Sox anthem. And I’ve always suspected Diamond made up the Caroline Kennedy bit for the occasion.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    We’re about pluralism, not my way or the highway.
    Andrew C. McCarthy

    Who’s “we” white man?

    Trump attacked Colin Kaepernick for protesting police brutality by declining to stand during the national anthem. “Maybe he should find a country that works better for him,” Trump said.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    After decades on this earth, I’ve finally deduced something to my satisfaction.

    I started wondering nearly four decades ago: why are so many people duped by the most flagrant and obvious of phonies? Long before there was Trump there was Jim and Tammy Faye, and Pat Robertson still plies his nonsense. Limbaugh has been going for almost as long. But I now realize there is a key personality trait amongst the type of people who are attracted to them. The feel beset upon, and are at some level deeply fearful of the unknown or uncontrolled. What the phonies deliver is absolute certainty. Most of the people on this blog value people who are right about things, but this other contingent value people who are certain about things. And that explains why people we judge to be the most ludicrously phony have the most appeal, because the only way to convey absolute certainty in all things is to ignore reality and feel free to contradict yourself from day to day.

    It’s why there is no point arguing with a Trumper. We can say that Trump’s plans are simplistic and wrong, but being who we are we also admit that things are complicated and that progress is halting. But all a Trumper hears is that we are not sure, while Trump is always sure. So he wins in their eyes.

  30. CSK says:

    Anthony Martignetti, the 12-year-old star of the 1970s Prince spaghetti commercial (“Annnnthony!”) has died, age 63.

    Time passes.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: For a couple of years, I had long, luxurious locks of thick, sparkling silver hair — my natural hair color, mind you. It was such a pain to maintain, that I started getting it cut a little shorter, then a little shorter.

    Pandemic arrives, I get the clippers, and now it is 3/4ths on the side and an inch on the top. So, so much easier. A little boring, but easy.

    I may never go back to long hair again.

  32. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Andrew C. McCarthy advocating for pluralism, pot meet kettle.

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    Don’t often lift from FaceBook but here it is:

    Ladies, if he’s:
    -got you and your girls trying to decode messages
    -always keeping you guessing which way he’ll go
    That’s not your man,
    that’s your school’s Fall 2020 reopening plan!

  34. CSK says:

    The ironic part is that Trump is far from certain, if being certain involves being consistent. He’s forever backtracking or reversing course. Remember when he said, all in the course of one afternoon, that women should be punished for having abortions? Then he changed that to doctors who provided abortions should be punished. He ended up by saying the current law should be left alone.

    I have no idea what his current “thinking” on the subject is. I would not be at all surprised if he hadn’t subsidized a few abortions himself.

  35. Mister Bluster says:
  36. MarkedMan says:


    Trump is far from certain, if being certain involves being consistent.

    That’s actually my point. People who are drawn to Trumps and Bakers and Limbaughs don’t place any value on being right. They place value on being certain. The fact that these fakers are certain about one thing now, and about the exact opposite thing an hour from now doesn’t mean anything to them. And that’s why people like us would have no effect on them. We can sometimes get them to see that they are lying or wrong but they aren’t looking for a leader that is truthful or even correct, just one that is “strong” i.e. “certain”.

    This may seem a simplistic way to judge their motivations, but I find it works. It is very predictive.

    Years ago Oliver North was running for the Senate and he was met with the types of cheers and adulation the Trump/Limbaugh types get. Mindless cheering over everything he said. Except for one part. He was trying to portray his decision to lie to Congress under oath as a noble act. But no matter how he delivered it, he knew he was losing the audience. So in the space of one day he changed his story. He started saying, “There are those who claim I lied to Congress. [Voice rises with outrage] Well, I’m here to tell you I NEVER LIED TO CONGRESS”. Huge cheers! Television news ran back to back speeches where he first admitted lying to congress and then denied having done so. And it didn’t make a bit of difference to his supporters. This puzzled me. Were they all stupid? I doubted it but even if that were true it doesn’t explain why they were attracted to him. Over the years I realized that I had to just accept the obvious: they knew and they didn’t care. Admitting he lied was “weak”. Saying stridently and forcefully that he had never lied was “strong”. They wanted strength. They didn’t care about lying.

  37. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The smarmy prep from Pretty In Pink?

    Isn’t she?

    I saw the Psychedelic Furs live in a small club in 1982 with Scott H and George S. We were so amped. This is going to be so amazing!

    They sucked live. No caveats – they were flat out atrociosly bad. Horribly bad live. Half of them were sitting on chairs.

    Some bands should not tour.

    I still love them. The recorded tracks kick ass. Butler guy has a killer fry voice.

    Forever Now – I listen to that daily.

  38. de stijl says:


    If I were a silver fox, I would let those strands just flow. I’m mousy brown up with a silver beard.

    I envy you. Downside is the monthly professional maintenance.

    I do have a cool ass beard. It went gray when I was 35. Currently doing stubble.

  39. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher: I had the same haircut for over 30 years–basic military. I kept it even after I didn’t have to (retired from the Air Force in 2006). It has been getting progressively grayer. So late last year I decided to embrace it, be the “silver fox,” and let it grow.

    Now, I didn’t intend to let it go this long, but I haven’t had it cut since January and man, it’s *spectacular*. I get compliments all the time. It’s still salt-and-pepper, although predominantly salt, but the pepper is in all the right places.

    I may never go back to *short* hair again…lol…

  40. CSK says:

    I can understand why Trump’s supporters don’t care if he lies. But you’d think they’d find his constant goal-post-moving a bit disconcerting. Unless it’s all part of “owning the libtards.”

  41. CSK says:

    The lt. gov. of Wisconsin, Mandela Barnes, has said he would prefer Trump not to visit on Tuesday. The mayor of Kenosha says he wishes Trump would postpone the visit for a few weeks. Donald is going to be mad–and twice as determined to show up there.

  42. Gustopher says:

    A detail from the Portland shooting last night, according to WaPo:

    Dunlap, 44, said when the gunshots were fired, “the guy who had sprayed the bear mace turned and took three or four steps and then went face down. While he was doing that, the two that he had bear maced ran back in my general direction and kind of went around the corner.”

    If true… this Nazi shit stain probably still didn’t deserve death, but he was kind of asking for it.

    These Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys had descended upon Seattle trying to start trouble, were filmed brandishing weapons and assaulting people and nothing was done about it.

    Turns out, sometimes when you assault people they are armed. Isn’t this what the NRA has been hoping for for decades? I guess the NRA wins this round.

  43. Monala says:

    @sam: Between the cluelessness of her colleagues, the callousness of the State Department, and the outright gleeful racism of the CBP, this story is so enraging!

    Her story is a microcosm of our nation as a whole — abusive, racist law enforcement, and too many white people who deny it is happening.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: I ended spending my Friday at a Zoom meeting for the opening of school in one of my districts. The district is on full remote learning for the start of the year, and I needed to learn how to use the programs that will provide the contact hours the state will be requiring teachers to use for Zoom meetings, recording class discussions and such. The teachers will be working from the buildings so that they can document the full 1700 hours of class contact time that the students would normally be in school, so the district is expecting that it will use substitute teachers from near the start of the year.

    The other district has committed to providing live instruction from the start of the year, so it will also need substitutes. With suggested levels of social distancing, there will be a maximum of 10 students per room, IIRC. According to the plan, that will mean that each student comes to school one day per week.

    The relative merits of providing live instruction one day per student per week escapes me, to be honest, but that’s why I’m not an administrator. Interesting times.

  45. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: That’s how you and I react. The empirically demonstrated fact is that they don’t care about the goalpost moving. Just as Albert Einstein finally accepted that, huh, the speed of light IS actually a constant, I have finally accepted that these people simply don’t care about truth or consistency or logic. They care about strong leaders who will constantly reassure them. Tone and image matters. Content doesn’t. It really is that simple.

  46. CSK says:

    And Trump isn’t strong, either. He’s a terrible weakling. But bluster and bullying are perceived by the Trumpkins as strength.

  47. Mikey says:

    This afternoon Trump tweeted the following:

    “The only way you stop the violence in the high crime Democrat run cities is through strength!”

    Remember how he referred to the Chinese government’s brutal massacre of protesters in Tiananmen Square? He said they put it down with “strength” and “that shows you the power of strength.”

    So if you had any doubt that he wants to massacre those who oppose him, put that doubt to rest, because that’s exactly what he wants. He said so himself.

  48. gVOR08 says:

    I noticed yesterday that Benjamin Wittes had a column at Lawfare asking something I’ve been asking since the Mueller report came out – what happened to the counterintelligence investigation? NYT has a story today answering that question, nothing happened, it died. McCabe launched it, Mueller took it over, Rosenstein told Mueller to confine himself to criminal acts, McCabe got fired, Mueller did what he was told, ever mindful he could not indict Trump and concluding there was therefore no point to investigating, and here we are.

    The real question was why Trump was favoring Russia and hiring people like Manafort and Flynn, known to be up to their eyeballs in Russians. Apparently we won’t ever have an answer. But there’s a new question – what the hell is wrong with the FBI?

  49. CSK says:

    According to Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s forthcoming book, Melania and Me, Trump wanted his inaugural parade to be just like a North Korean military parade.

    Probably because he himself is such a weakling, he adores brutal dictators who crush (literally) dissenters. He’d love to send the military in to massacre any protesters.

  50. flat earth luddite says:

    @Michael Cain:
    In the nearly 3 decades I spent herding attorneys (i.e. Della Street), ties were mandatory for most of that time. I’m currently selling off my collection. All from Disney/Warner stores, all cartoon characters, high end pure silk, gifts from my wife and daughter. Pooh, his friends, Bugs, all his competing characters, Marvin, Wile E.
    Told my bosses they could make me wear a tie, but they couldn’t make me wear a serious tie. Had one bow tie for the obnoxious attorneys – early 70’s vintage, sky blue with gold thread paisley pattern.

  51. Mikey says:

    @gVOR08: The FBI was kept in the dark. Rosenstein curtailed Mueller’s investigation and didn’t tell the FBI, because he knew if he did, the FBI would have resumed its CI investigation of the President.

    I mean, really, when you boil it down to the dirt-level nitty-gritty, Rosenstein obstructed justice. I’m not sure how else to see it.

  52. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..that’s your school’s Fall 2020 reopening plan!

    I might have noted that this post was by a friend of mine who is starting her second year as a full time Pre-K teacher in a small town in Southern Illinois. I met her when she was a server at the Buffalo Wild Wings while she was in college and ran into her infrequently after she had to stop schlepping trays (knee surgery in her 20’s yikes!) as she finished college.
    She is a damn fine human being and a great mom.
    I wish her and all of you on the front lines in the classrooms this fall nothing but the best of health and happiness!