Thanksgiving 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:

    Donald J trump Presidential Library. Other than stating the fact that some people have too much time on their hands, be sure to visit the Hall of Enablers. (the Grift Shop is a little disappointing for the limited merchandise available, I suspect it will get better once they get up and running for real)

  2. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’ve never visited a presidential library before, but I read a detailed description of the Nixon & Reagan Library museums in John Moe’s Conservatize Me, and it makes clear that both are little more than agitprop for the presidents in question. The Nixon museum depicts Nixon as a persecuted fall guy in the Watergate scandal (though in recent years there’s been some effort to clean this up); the Reagan museum is basically iconography with little discussion of policy. It’s not difficult to imagine the sorts of things you’d see at a Trump museum.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: It’s not difficult to imagine the sorts of things you’d see at a Trump museum.

    Wrong. It is impossible to imagine I’d see anything at all in a Trump museum. 😉

    ETA: On the slightly more serious side, I don’t see myself ever going to a presidential museum, not even ones for the presidents I admire. If I was a historian doing in depth research I can see the value, but this hillbilly can see no reason to bear witness to the turd polishing that is the true reason for their existence.

  4. Teve says:

    The Losses We Share

    Meghan Markle writes about her miscarriage.

  5. Kathy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving.

    This has no doubt been one of the worst years in living memory, but we can all be grateful for the result of the presidential election.

  6. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Kylopod:
    If you’re ever in western Massachusetts, you should by all means visit the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum in Northampton. It’s on the second floor of the public library. No kidding.

  7. Jon says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Maybe Jimmy Carter, because knowing him it would be mostly be about the accomplishments of others and how to go out and help people.

    And Happy Thanksgiving to all! Have a safe and filling holiday. Unless you’re not American, in which case enjoy work!

  8. CSK says:

    Not so fast. Sidney Powell claims to have unleashed the Kraken. Finally.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A 32 tweet thread about a survivor of heroic proportions:

    Slava Malamud

    Another personal thread. Previously, I have told the story of my grandfathers, both genuine, extremely badass WWII heroes, whose stories I have only recently uncovered in the Russian Defense Ministry archives. This time, I will talk about my grandma. Who was even more heroic.

    Slava Malamud

    Yelizaveta Pokhis was born in the Russian Empire in 1915, in a tiny Ukrainian village of no historical import and negligible population, to a family of a Jewish farmer, 5th out of 7 children. Her grandpa poked his own eye out to avoid a 25-year conscription into the Czar’s army.

  10. Kylopod says:

    Keith Olbermann floated an intriguing theory about Rudy Giuliani: that he blames Joe Biden for his 2008 presidential loss due to Biden’s line about him, “a noun, a verb, and 9/11”–and that he’s held a grudge against Biden ever since. (I guess it’s sort of like Trump’s grudge against Obama for the 2011 White House dinner, or his even older grudge against the short-fingered-vulgarian guy.) I dunno–Rudy’s been a Trump bootlicker since a while before it was known Biden would be the nominee, and I’d expect him to be doing the same stuff regardless of who the Dem had been. I didn’t interpret his “Lock her up!” speech from 2016 as part of a personal vendetta against Hillary per se. He’s been a pretty consistent asshole against whatever Dem comes along for decades. (Remember “Thank God Bush is president” in 2004?) Still, the theory that he blames Biden for his 2008 loss, however absurd that belief may be, does sound like the sort of thing a raging narcissist like him would come up with. It’s easy to forget that he was the front-runner for the GOP nomination throughout much of 2007, and that while there are more rational explanations for why his candidacy fizzled out, he’s exactly the type to reach for a scapegoat for his personal humiliation. It would add another level to what he’s doing now.

  11. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I can pretty much guarantee that the Trump museum will claim he won the 2020 election in a landslide. 😉

  12. CSK says:

    A library dedicated to a man who’s never read a book in his entire adult life is a pretty funny concept.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The Carter Center is more of a think tank, or maybe an NGO. It focuses on things like funding research into diseases that predominantly affect people too poor to attract big pharma. In fact, it coordinated the fight against guinea worm, my own personal nightmare of a disease.

  14. Kylopod says:


    A library dedicated to a man who’s never read a book in his entire adult life is a pretty funny concept.

    But I wouldn’t be surprised to see a book come out that’s simply a collection of Trump’s tweets while president. It would ironically be the first book he ever authored (though not entirely).

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I thought the Carter Center was separate from his library.

  16. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: Jimmy sad recently that his dream is that the last guinea worm dies before he does 😛

  17. Kathy says:


    Don’t we have Medusa’s head and a Pegasus?

  18. CSK says:

    I believe we do.

  19. Kathy says:


    Speaking of deranged monsters, is it just me, or when one sees video of Giuliani up to around 2008 he seems like a completely different person? Namely not a like a crazed lunatic.

  20. CSK says:

    I think you’re right. Maybe being beaten by John McCain for the 2008 presidential nomination did something strange to him, as someone suggested. After 9/11, Giuliani was much admired for his response.

    But recently, he’s begun to bear an eerie resemblance to the Count in Nosferatu.

  21. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: Olbermann argues that Rudy’s always been the same. I don’t exactly buy that–I think it’s obvious age and alcohol have taken a toll–but I think he was always a self-promoting jerk with a fascist streak. He’s certainly a less effective lawyer than back in the day when he was going against the mob, though even there I’ve heard he’s overrated. He built his entire brand on taking credit for achievements he played only minimal role in (which distinguishes him from Trump who takes credit for things he’s got literally nothing to do with, except negatively). It’s telling he invoked My Cousin Vinny the other day. Now I love that movie as much as anyone, and I know it’s popular among lawyers, but it falls into the Hollywood tradition of the inexperienced outsider who comes into town and saves the day against all the doubters. That’s an American cultural myth that influenced the rise of Trump himself, but I also think it’s something Rudy has long taken to heart and what he’s tried to build his career around.

  22. Kylopod says:


    But recently, he’s begun to bear an eerie resemblance to the Count in Nosferatu.

    Indeed. (I collected and matched those two pics from Google Images myself.)

  23. CSK says:

    It’s quite unsettling, isn’t it? Thanks for the side-by-side.

  24. sam says:
  25. Sleeping Dog says:

    Staying home and generally avoiding public gatherings is a good idea and good advice from political leadership. If they would just lead by example. He’s not the only one Newsom was caught eating out after telling Californians to stay home and De Blasio on numerous occasions. That the hypocrites are mostly Dems, makes the attempts to enforce business closures, mask wearing and stay at home orders partisan.

  26. Kathy says:


    but I think he was always a self-promoting jerk with a fascist streak.

    Oh, sure.

    But he was a sane SOB back then.

    He’s certainly a less effective lawyer than back in the day when he was going against the mob,

    I can’t say of my own knowledge, but I’d bet everything I own and can borrow, that he didn’t walk into a courtroom back in those days without any evidence, and with only “my boss really wants this” as legal justification.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:
  28. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    The mayor of Denver Tweeted to his constituents to stay home. Thirty minutes later he was on a plane to Houston to spend Thanksgiving with his daughter. I’m not at all surprised people get enraged by this kind of hypocrisy.

  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    If you or @Michael Reynolds wrote such fecklessness into a character, a reader would have ta assume it was a parody.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Didn’t realize that. Thanks

  31. A Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  32. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Fiction has to be believable. Even science fiction.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: They are however next door neighbors:

    The Carter Center is a 501(c)(3) charity (tax ID# 58-1454716).
    One Copenhill | 453 John Lewis Freedom Parkway | Atlanta, GA 30307

    Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum
    441 John Lewis Freedom Parkway, NE
    Atlanta, Georgia, 30307-1498

    Seriously, I didn’t know, I just had always thought/assumed/once heard that they were separate entities given their respective missions were entirely different.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Seeing as neither James nor Steven have picked up the Thanksgiving baton, Turkeys Away.

  35. de stijl says:


    1922 or 1979?

    I watched the 1979 version just this week (English language version) with Klaus Kinski as Count Orlok by Herzog. I had not seen it in ages, whereas I watched the 1922 version three times a row last year having not seen it in fifteen years or so. I have a fondness for German Expressionism.

    1979 Nosferatu is not amongst Herzog’s best, but really quite good and very stylistically interesting.

    Max Schreck is the best stage name ever, I thought. Then I looked him up and his actual name is Friedrich Gustav Maximilian Schreck.

    The actor who played Count Orlok real name is indeed Max Schreck. Serendipity!

    (Schreck means scare or fright.)

  36. de stijl says:

    I am thankful that 2020 is nearly over.

    I am thankful that my symptoms appear to be lessening dramatically in the last day and a half.

    If I feel this good tomorrow I will take a short walk, for which I will be immensely grateful.

  37. Kathy says:

    If the Trump (COVID) pandemic is a test, then humanity has failed miserably.

    And like all collective test results in a large class, there’s a spread of grades. Some countries are the good students who got As and Bs, a few manged Cs and Ds, but most just failed and dragged the class average down with them.

  38. DrDaveT says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, all. Here’s one of my favorite seasonal tunes to help the day along.

  39. de stijl says:


    Sort of reminds me of Kati Ran.

  40. gVOR08 says:


    Sidney Powell claims to have unleashed the Kraken.

    Per Dr. T’s post, I think she released the Crakin.

  41. JohnSF says:

    “Kraken, up!”

  42. Kathy says:

    Do you suppose Pessimus Jr will be at Thanksgiving dinner at the White House, as he’s tested positive for COVID?

    Will there even be a WH dinner? I can imagine Minimus Sr. is more in the mood to fume with hamberders by himself.

    Lastly, I don’t suppose he’s grateful he lost the election, but I wonder whether he’s relieved.

    Assuming, that is, he can see any upside to being branded a One-Term Loser.

  43. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl:

    If I feel this good tomorrow I will take a short walk, for which I will be immensely grateful.

    It’s great to hear that you are feeling less worse! Please be very careful if you go for a walk, this is a nasty illness and pushing yourself too much uses energy you need to fight it. If you need to go out because you’ll go crazy otherwise, do it, but make it very short.

    Also, remember that you are likely a big ball of contagion. Sure, you’ll wear a mask, and it’s outside, and you’ll stay away from people, and covid is anywhere, so if it goes well, not a big deal, but… My brother’s first few forays into the world while recovering ended with him calling up his wife and having her pick him up from a block or two away, as his energy suddenly ended. She had already had covid, right before he did, and they live in the same house, so he wasn’t putting any additional risk on her.

    So, be careful. But it’s great to hear that you’re feeling better. Get some fresh air, and feel the sun on your face.

  44. Gustopher says:
  45. de stijl says:


    There is a Fountains Of Wayne semi-Thanksgiving song. It feels that vibe to me.

    Valley Winter Song.

    RIP, Adam.

  46. Kathy says:

    Cases in Mexico reached a spike of over 10,000. given the few tests given, this means the real number ought to be higher, ditto past cases and active cases. Plus, we had a number of cases right here at our corporate offices.

    Given all that, I’m glad I’m sticking with the KN95 masks (and hope they are KN95 in fact and not just stamped as such), but there’s little else I can do to reduce my risk. About the only thing is to reduce grocery shopping from one a week to once every two weeks, and to eliminate all visits to Starbucks. past that and work, I don’t get out of the house at all.

    Please take care all of you. Keep your masks on.

  47. de stijl says:


    I will be super careful both for my health and for others.

    Today was stupendous! Almost no body aches. No too hot / too cold cycling.

    I have been awake since 7 am this morning. This is really big.

    I have been sleeping like an infant. Awake four hours then nap-time. Being awake for ten hours in a row is alien.

    In the last three weeks I have been outside twice to push the trash bin to the curb. Well, and back, so four times. Five minutes tops all put together.

    I crave an hour of not looking at my stupid walls and seeing the sky and smelling decaying leaves and the fractal November tree limbs.

    Promise to go easy. I will mask. I will cross the street when someone is on the sidewalk walking towards me.

  48. de stijl says:


    Nick Lowe!

    Gonna be listening to him and early Costello (and The Attractions) for a bit now.

    Everybody slagged Get Happy! back when. I love it. High Fidelity, Riot Act, I Stand Accused give me shivers and good flashbacks.

  49. Kathy says:

    It looks like lots of other people, namely people involved in studying, evaluating, and certifying vaccines, have questions about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, in particular the half-dose/full-dose regimen. Also it was tested only on patients under 55, and it seemed to lack racial diversity as well.

    So they’re doing a second trial just for that regimen.

    This means the efficacy is rated at 62% for now.

    That’s still a whole lot better than nothing, and the price is still accessible to most countries. Combine that with adequate precautions and near-universal uptake, and it will make a huge dent in transmission, even if you then need to wait for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

  50. de stijl says:


    I have a Stiff Records pin back button somewhere in my junk drawer. I should fish that out and sport it proudly.

    Stiff had a kick-ass logo.

    The Sex Pistols did not like EMI. Wrote a song about it in fact.

  51. de stijl says:

    There is a really cool clip of Darryl Hall and Nick Lowe doing an acoustic version of Cruel To Be Kind where they spend the first minute and a half spitballing the arrangement.

    Then they kick it off and just nail it. Pros. It’s quite amazing what pros can do with minimal practice.

    Lowe looks like Peter Capaldi now. Lowe for next Doctor! Whittaker is killing it, but if she wants to step back, Lowe would step up hard.

  52. de stijl says:

    There is such a thing as a club called the Austin Ukulele Society. Teens to golden agers strumming away. It is mostly newbies and amateurs – they flash the chords up on a screen.

    They all sing in unison. No harmony.

    Extra bare bones community club.

    It is fucking awesome. Many people say America has gone astray. I disagree.

    Between this and punkin chunkin and Dave Grohl graciously conceding to Nandi, 2020 is totally okay. Not the year we wanted. Many of our neighbors got sick and too many died. We could have mitigated that somewhat, but we failed to. We had a brutal election and post-election. 2021 has to be better. It must.

    A bunch of folks doing a Ukulele crowd version of Cruel To Be Kind warmed my heart considerably. Made me feel proud.

    We are resilient.

  53. de stijl says:

    (What’s so funny ’bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding.

    Elvis Costello


    Smart folks know that is a killer song.

    Where are the strong?
    And who are the trusted?

    For a year or so I assumed that was an EC original. Then a whip smart young woman taught me different. Opened my eyes.

  54. Gustopher says:

    @de stijl: When I was a young man, I loved Elvis Costello. I’ve seen him live probably a dozen times, and both the best and worst concerts I have been to were his.

    An older Gustopher is less enchanted by a sneer and cynicism. Get Happy!! remains in my semi-usual albums, and I go through periods where I will listen to one of the novelty albums a lot (The Juliet Letters or Painted From Memory). The others pop up from time to time, but the times I need to hear Trust are few and far between. When I Was Cruel has been popping up about twice as often as the rest, but still pretty rare.

    Nick Lowe’s many versions of “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” hit me in a way that Elvis’s just don’t anymore. The earnestness in his reading is pure in a way that Elvis Costello cannot go near.

    Ok, one other EC album I love. The bonus disc from the Rhino reissue of Goodbye Cruel World. It’s just not on Spotify. So I have to play files or a disc like some kind of animal. It’s most of the album, demo versions and live versions, and a few weird songs. It’s wonderful. And depressing. And so earnest.

    As far as Nick Lowe goes… I want to like him more than I do. He’s good. Very good, in fact. Untouched Takeaways is great. But… I don’t know.

  55. Gustopher says:

    About 25 years ago, I had gotten dumped, and realized that I had left my copy of Bob Dylan’s album John Wesley Harding at her place and it was gone for good. So, I smoked a little pot, and walked down to the record store, dug through the Bob Dylan section and accidentally bought a misfiled copy of John Wesley Harding’s album Dynablob.

    If there is anyone I have seen more times than Elvis Costello, it is John Wesley Harding. First time I saw him perform, he didn’t play anything I recognized and I wasn’t sure it was him. Another time was an all request show of songs from his unreleased album that he made people guess the names of through an elaborate game of charades.

    He has touching songs, silly songs, terrible songs, and an album of traditional folk songs that had been previously played by Nic Jones.

    Here he is trying to be successful, and not really succeeding.

    Postscript to the story — I got back together with the woman, and managed to snag my cd back before we broke up again. So it all worked out in the end. Until we got together again… she was great and awful.

    A decade later she was passing through where I was living, looked me up, we met for brunch and she introduced me to a kid she claimed was mine. Actually she just borrowed the kid from some friends she was staying with. See, great, and awful.

  56. de stijl says:

    I’ve listened to 1:16 of Goth Girl and I like and want more. Am a sucker for witty wordplay (e.g., EC).

    I have seen Costello live three times. One where they did the spin the song wheel. I never went home unsatisfied.

    Speaking of which, the best and worst shows I saw live were early The Replacements. Again with the witty wordplay. The Mats too drunk to play or remember the words or to stand upright was kinda funny but really frustrating. Bobby was an idiot savant. When sober (well, semi-sober) they fucking killed it. When drunk it was chaos incarnate.

    I saw em 20 times or so in the Sorry Ma, Hootenanny era.

    A guy you might like is Lloyd Cole. The “hits” like Rattlesnakes, Heartbroken, Perfect Skin, My Bag, etc. are really interesting, but everybody forgets how perfect a pop song Jennifer She Said is. Biggish in the UK, a tiny blip in America.

    In the late 70s I got purity called all the time by peers for being a pop-head, poser, fake punk. Fuck that noise. I like what I like. Be you, I’m quite busy being me, thanks. I don’t police your personal playlist, so don’t police mine.

    The only song we played that evoked true joy and passion in the audience was a cover of Surrender. Cheap Trick kicks ass.

    When Green Day started covering Surrender in live shows I plotzed. I had a short smugness brain overload. Ha! I was right all along.

  57. de stijl says:


    I have a lifelong love for the Almost Blue album in toto.

    Trust came out when I was deep into my first true love romantic relationship so I think of it fondly because we shared that, but if you look at the song list future me says nah I’ll pass. A few okay songs.