Thursday’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. Mu Yixiao says:

    Another 2″ of snow out of nowhere (and into the sunny 40s this afternoon).

    Must be Thursday.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: We’re supposed to get 3-4″ of rain starting tonight and ending tomorrow night. Can you say, “Glub glub glub”?

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Two prisoners in Virginia managed to escape their cell by digging a hole through a wall with the aid of a toothbrush but were apprehended within a few hours after being tempted to visit a pancake restaurant.

    In a statement, the Newport News sheriff’s office said two inmates were found to be missing during a routine head count around 7pm on Monday at the Newport News Jail Annex.

    It was discovered that John Garza, 37, and Arley Nemo, 43, had dug a hole through a jail wall using “primitive-made tools” fashioned from a toothbrush and metal objects.

    They then scaled a high prison wall and made good their escape.

    However, the two men were quickly found after being spotted by members of the public at an Ihop, a branch of the popular pancake chain whose name is short for International House of Pancakes.

    Well, that’s better than an Awful Waffle, I guess.

  4. Thomm says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: hey now…waffle house is great. Where else can you get country ham, eggs, a waffle, hash browns topped the way you like them, a sweet tea (extra lemon for me), and a show 24 hours a day for about 15 bucks? At IHOP that would get you an omelette with no drink and maybe no tip.

    If you aren’t feeling breakfast food, a double cheeseburger with chili, bacon and an egg works just as well…gotta hit it with the mayo packet too..doesn’t add flavor but shows your heart who’s boss.

  5. de stijl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Aren’t you up in the Madison area or close to?

    No precipitation here today but it is gray as gray can be. It is so overcast it almost looks like / feels like dusk at 9 in the morning. It is super gray.

    I bought a drum kit. Cheap, basic. For some unexplained reason I have become somewhat obsessed with drumming and want to improve to the point where I don’t actively suck anymore.

    I am retired and live alone so the one thing I have in abundance is time. Why not use it to improve myself? I totally suck at it, so there is no way to go but up.

    There is a Crowded House song called Fall At Your Feet that is appropriate for my skill level. And I love Crowded House and think Neil Finn is a fucking genius songwriter.

    It’s either that or passively watch TV, play a game, or read, but today I am going to drum.

  6. Mu Yixiao says:

    @de stijl:

    Aren’t you up in the Madison area or close to?

    Yep. And we’ve had this bizarre cycle of okay weather (for winter) from Sunday to Wednesday, followed by a snow emergency on Thursday (sometimes following into Friday). It’s been going on for a couple months. Every Thursday it snows.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Thomm: I eat at Awful Waffle from time to time when traveling and find the breakfast staples palatable. It’s not an insult, it’s a term of endearment among Ozark cavers.

  8. Neil Hudelson says:


    Here here! Look, I’ve eaten in some of the finest restaurants in America, and some of the almost-finest restaurants across the world. I’ve enjoyed raw peanuts just dug from the earth and a fresh baked baguette in Guinea, llama in Peru, and caviar in Kyiv.

    My first in-person restaurant meal after finally getting vaxxed? A pecan waffle and large hashbrowns covered, smothered, chunked, peppered, chunked, diced, capped, and countried, served to me by a woman in orthopedic shoes who treated me like a grandson she hadn’t seen in a decade, but who clearly needed to add some meat on his bones.

    Love the Waffle House.

  9. Joe says:

    @Thomm and Neil Hudelson:
    My one trip to the Waffle House-
    Me: can I have some butter?
    Waitress: Here, you go, hon.
    Me (reading the small tub “[name brand] buttery spread“): Do you have real butter?
    Waitress: That is real butter.

  10. Jen says:

    @Joe: One of my college roommates so detested that fake margarine that she would buy pounds of butter for our fridge and would bring pats of it with her to the dining hall to use on the baked potatoes or whatever else was on offer that evening. She’s also the one who would get vegetables from the salad bar (broccoli, carrots, etc.) and then steam them in the microwave in the dining hall so that she’d have fresh, lightly steamed veggies with real butter rather than the overcooked mush that was available in the steam trays.

    Real butter and real maple syrup–definitely worth it.

  11. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Shifting from breakfast…

    You really have to hand it to Trump and his media skills. He has taken over the entire week’s news cycle.

    By announcing his own fictional indictment day, he fueled the imagination of MAGA minions, media pundits and secured the loyalty of most sitting GOP by having them go on record to say something roughly equivalent to: a former president being accused of a crime is unamerican. And with all that, it means that if the story wasn’t Trump, then it was someone of MAGA/GOP Party (MOP party?) getting the attention.

    Seriously: a slow loud golf clap here.

    It may likely be his last hurrah, considering that there really are a slew of indictments that will drop, but the ability to gin folks up to the point that articles were being written that compared the persecutions of Trump to those of Christ… well, just wow.

    One thing, just to be clear: It’s like acknowledging that Samuel Little was a phenomenally successful serial killer… I don’t support, aspire or condone… it just is.

  12. Beth says:

    @de stijl:

    I’m seriously considering getting one of these:

    My in-laws gave me a couple of bucks for my birthday and I’d like something to screw around with. I told my partner that my goal is to record a basement set that a friend of mine would listen to twice.

    As for the Waffle House, well, I won’t tell the story about the last time I at at the one in Jackson, MS. It is gross.

  13. CSK says:
  14. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Mu Yixiao: Yesterday, the high temperature was about 70, yet last night, NWS issued a Winter Storm Warning in SW Washington NW Oregon for Friday and Saturday. Go figure.

  15. Kathy says:

    Having left work today at 1:20 am, and being back at my desk now at 9:18 am, it seems unfair that it’s still Thursday.

  16. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I thought “Awful Waffle” was the name of a
    supertall-type skyscraper across from Central Park.

  17. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    Gee, you wouldn’t be referring to the Trump International Hotel and Tower, would you?

  18. de stijl says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Whenever I am out of the US after about a week I start getting huge cravings for food you can only find here.

    Just massive craving. Distracting. For odd things. Popeye’s chicken. Biscuits and gravy. Pizza from my local joint. Waffles with way too much melted butter and real, actual maple syrup

    I don’t get homesick when I am abroad, I get foodsick. I desperately crave US eats.

    Sweden makes the absolute worst pizza on the planet. They also make some of the best food on the planet, but your average mom-and-pop shop produce really fucking horrible pizza that make Domino’s look like 3 Michelin stars.

  19. Kathy says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Ultimately the enjoyment derived from food comes down to how it tastes and smells, and to a lesser extent how it feels and looks. Seen this way, gourmet cooking. home cooking, fast food cooking, street cooking, etc., can all be perfectly satisfying according to individual tastes.

  20. Mister Bluster says:

    States Rights
    GOP call to investigate State of NY attorney
    States Rights

    Bullish!t Sandwich

  21. Mu Yixiao says:


    Whenever I travel, I look for the street food and dives. I don’t want fancy food. Give me stuff that construction workers eat after being out drinking all night. 🙂

    Funny story: One of the language centers I taught at in China was located in a open-court mall (no roof on the center, and the “hallway” open to the air), which had a big food court in the middle. I fell in love with liang pi (cold, spicy noodles). I’d have them almost every day for lunch (big bowl for $1).

    One day, I’m sitting in the office, about to dig into my lunch, when my boss comes by, grabs my noodles and says “Give me those!” Then walks away. WTF? Was she that hungry?

    I found her and asked what was up. “You can’t eat these anymore. The students are complaining. They’re asking why you’re eating peasant food, and accusing me of not paying you enough.”

    I laughed, and told her to tell them that I eat them because I love them. They’re absolutely delicious. For a while after, I made a show of eating the noodles (and other cheap food) and proclaiming how delicious they were, just so the students could see. 😀

  22. DK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: @Liberal Capitalist:

    You really have to hand it to Trump and his media skills. He has taken over the entire week’s news cycle.

    Every week Trump dominates the news is a bad week for the Republican Party. So hand it to Trump I will. Thank you Trump.

  23. Kathy says:

    This week I want to make potato and onion soup. This is the dish that got me to make potato sauce (which I also haven’t made in a while). It’s a very simple recipe:

    2 large onions chopped into large pieces.
    2 medium potatoes cut into small cubes (I leave the skin on)
    Minced garlic as needed
    Cracked black pepper to taste
    Beef broth, about 1.5-2 liters
    1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.

    Saute the onions without letting them go too soft. Add pepper and garlic and keep cooking for a minute or two. Add the vinegar and reduce the heat to low. Let it reduce to about half with a cover on.

    Next add the broth, stir, add the potatoes, stir. Keep cooking on low or medium heat until the potatoes are well done.

    After the latest round of samples, I got a kilo bag of chopped walnuts. I could powder a portion with peanuts in the food processor, for use in oatmeal later. But I got to thinking about a simple apple desert.

    Nothing definite, but I’m considering placing sliced golden apples with cinnamon and chopped walnuts inside a puff pastry wrap, itself brushed with egg wash and sprinkled with cinnamon and maybe more nuts, then bake the thing.

  24. de stijl says:


    Go for it. Why not?


    I am a big believer in blowing found money on an extravagance, an indulgence. I don’t need this but I want it. I’m going to snorkel off the coast of Belize or buy an absolutely unnecessary drum kit. Something stupid and fun.

    The question isn’t why, it’s why not?

  25. steve says:

    Kathy- We cook for our church every few weeks, sort of a fellowship event after services. Usually about 50-60 people. Last week we made potato-leek soup since it was close to St Pat day and we made it before and had requests. We put a bit of onion in but mostly leeks and potatoes. I think the gentle flavor of leeks goes nicely with the potatoes. (Doing a month of experimental cooking trying to perfect my pernil and trying to figure outlaw to correctly use stuff like sofrito, sazon and adobo. Also experimenting more with medieval cooking.)


  26. CSK says:


    Medieval? Would you like the recipe for “roste pekok”?

  27. Kathy says:


    Mine started as imitation onion soup, which I thought would go well with potatoes. Then I thought “creamy onion and potato soup,” so I put some in a blender with cottage cheese, and that begat potato sauce.

    We had potato and leek soup at home growing up. It was nice, but 1) I like my recipe and 2) leeks are huge and sold whole.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: Real butter and real maple syrup–definitely worth it.

    I feel the same about butter but maple surple is wasted on me. My palate just doesn’t appreciate it enough to make the price worthwhile. We always have a bottle for my wife but I am fine with the cheap crap.

    Except for cooking. In any endeavor involving heat, it’s maple surple all the way.

  29. steve says:

    CSK- Yes. Have you used it? I know where to get the bird.

    I was brought up on pole syrup and its hard to give that up. Still prefer Mrs Butterworth to real maple. The wife is ashamed of me over this.


  30. Mu Yixiao says:


    Still prefer Mrs Butterworth to real maple. The wife is ashamed of me over this.

    As well she should be.

  31. Mu Yixiao says:

    Growing up, the family would head “up nort” every year to visit friends of the family. On the way home, driving through the north woods, Dad would be on the lookout for smoke columns. Once spotted, he’d pull off onto the appropriate wooded trail. He’d stop a ways away, and tell us to stay in the car–couldn’t be sure if they were making maple syrup or moonshine. He’d grab a couple 1-gallon glass bottles, and his wallet, and walk towards the smoke. He’d come back with a couple gallons of syrup, or empty bottles and a disappointed look (in which case, he’d start looking again).

    100% pure maple syrup, straight from the still.

    At home it would get poured into mason jars and stored in the basement. Sometimes it would crystalize after several months, and you’d have maple rock candy.

  32. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I don’t think so. The one to which I’m referring is called 425 Park Avenue (I think??), was built in 2016 (again, I think?), and was one of a collection of such buildings featured in a recent Atlantic article about supertall buildings (which no Trump-built building is–given that he stopped building altogether in the 90s before supertall technology was developed).

  33. grumpy realist says:

    @Mu Yixiao: We used to make maple syrup every early spring from the sugar maple trees that surrounded our house. I don’t remember our tapping more than four of them at a time, which would produce a gallon of maple syrup over the season. When the sap was really running, it would take only 30 minutes for one of the sap buckets to fill up.

  34. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Mrs. Butterworth was genetically engineered to be delicious. The weird secretions of that lady* were part of the golden age of fake food when it didn’t have to resemble what it purported to replace.

    Don’t think of it as fake maple syrup, think of it as it’s own thing, like Pecan syrup, but with more fructose and a flavor that comes from New Jersey.

    *: I may be factually incorrect about the exact manufacturing process of Mrs. Butterworths’ syrup, but I doubt the reality is any less horrifying.

  35. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    I think the original World Trade Center Towers were built in 1973, and they’re over 1300 feet apiece. That was before Trump started throwing up his monstrosities.

  36. just nutha says:

    @de stijl: You should consider visiting South Korea; it has huge numbers of Murkin restaurants. Even Yong-in–a small farming community of only 750,000 people dropped into the middle of a rice farming area (once upon a time) has a Popeye’s chicken shop.

  37. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I’m on a chromebook today, so I couldn’t figure out how to do a cut and paste, but the article is from the JAN/FEB 2023 issue and it titled “How tall is too tall?” WTC was tall, but not in the same way the new-tech buildings are in that the new supertalls are freestanding towers whereas the WTC towers (of which Wiki tells me there were 6 0r 7 total) were raised up from a substantially large base building).

  38. CSK says:

    @just nutha:
    Ah, thanks. I can’t cut and paste on a Chromebook either.

  39. just nutha says:

    @steve: Cooking only for me now, I don’t use leeks at all anymore, but wasn’t a fan even back in the day. I found it hard to wash the sand out of the plants without negatively affecting the already pretty light flavor of leeks. How do you cope with the sand issue?

  40. CSK says:


    The original recipe is rather violent. “Tayke a pecok. Brekke his nekke. Flay him…”

    You can, however, Google up several more modern cooking techniques.

  41. DrDaveT says:

    @just nutha:

    How do you cope with the sand issue?

    1. Buy leeks that still have the roots on them.
    2. Trim off the part of the greens you don’t plan to eat.
    3. Split the leeks lengthwise from the green down, leaving just enough at the root end to keep it in one piece. (Optionally, just split the whole thing lengthwise.)
    4. Immerse in a tub of cold water (or a clean sink), shaking and brushing the leeks under water to loosen the sand and dirt, which should sink to the bottom of the tub.
    5. Dry the leeks off and cook away

    My personal recent favorite is a puree of sauteed leeks and steamed parsnips, with lots of butter and a bit of cream, salt, pepper, thyme.

  42. just nutha says:

    @CSK: I just sprinkle the bird inside and out with seasoning salt (I prefer a brand with MSG, but purists may disagree) and roast til done.

  43. CSK says:

    That puree sounds great. A friend of mine made one once of 1/2 mashed potatoes, 1/4 mashed parsnips, and 1/4 mashed celery root. It was great.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mu Yixiao: FTR, many is the morn I walked across a construction site parking lot banging on the windows of guys who couldn’t make it home the night before. Also ftr, many is the time I told my foreman I wasn’t working with this or that half drunk asshole.

  45. MarkedMan says:

    While sitting here on the stoop drinking a beer on the first warm evening in B’more, I found myself wondering about the mechanics of the Stormy Daniel thing. Not about whether it was illegal or or least illegal enough, but about just how frickin’ strangely it went down and how much it shows about what it is like to fall under the sway and, inevitably, control of someone like Trump. Think about it. Trump told Cohen to pay off Stormy but to use Cohen’s own money, promising to repay him. Cohen didn’t have the money so he took out a home equity loan to pay her. Then Trump stiffed Cohen for a long time, and when he finally paid him, it was for the exact amount, not a penny more. Let’s set aside the repercussions on Trump due to the absolute half-ass way he tried to separate himself from the deal, and the sheer idiocy of thinking it would still be effective after he wrote a check for that exact amount to the go-between. At the moment I’m more fascinated by the power dynamics between the two of them. Cohen mortgaged his frickin’ house. Trump paid him exactly the amount Cohen paid Stormy and not a penny more, and only after stiffing him. And Cohen accepted this! Cohen remained his lackey!

  46. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..“Tayke a pecok. Brekke his nekke. Flay him…”

    Murder in the Kitchen
    Alan Watts
    Life seems to be a system that eats itself to death, and in which victory equals defeat.

  47. Michael Cain says:


    I sympathize. When I worked for the state legislature, at certain times of the session, I’d be in the office until the wee hours getting my parts of budget bills written, then have to arrive the “next” morning in time to set up for a 7:30 am committee meeting.

    OTOH, we got comp time outside of the session. The first year I was there I was awarded 25 days of comp time, plus reaching the point where I got 15 days of vacation. 40 days off, starting in mid-May, that needed to be consumed by mid-October, because that’s when the schedule started getting hot again.

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    When I opened “Murder in the Kitchen” on my laptop I saw the entire essay. Now on my phone I see a limited preview at the link. The internet continues to confound me.

  49. Mister Bluster says:

    Now my comment is in moderation!


  50. Michael Cain says:

    @just nutha:

    Cooking only for me now…

    Short term or long term? I put my wife of 42 years in memory care this month. In addition to all of the emotional pain entailed, I notice in passing that I have no idea how to cook for one.

  51. gVOR08 says:

    Via Paul Campos at LGM NYT printed something today that needs to be pointed to and laughed at. It’s the best demonstration of Murc’s Law, the fallacy that only Democrats have agency in modern American politics, I’ve ever seen.

    I had trouble remembering who was who in OTB comments, so I made a list. We’ve had a lot of commenters who have dropped out, or perhaps changed handles. Anybody remember Pinky? Pinky’s constant plaint was that conservative opinions deserved respect because they existed. The author, Jon A. Shields, described as a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College (Claremont Institute), has written 1300 words arguing that conservatism can be brought back to it’s pre-Trump Burkian splendor if only liberal college professors would assign conservative books and mentor conservative study groups.

    When conservative undergraduates look around for mentors these days, who do they find? Not conservative professors, at least not very often. Our ranks have been slowly vanishing since the 1980s. Instead, those students find organizers from the MAGA-verse who teach them how to own the libs. That’s who is instructing the next generation of Republican leaders, modeling how to act and think like good conservatives. It’s a squalid education, one that deepens their alienation from the university and guarantees that the next generation of elected officials will make Ron DeSantis’s war against higher education look tame.

    It’s good that this guy can see that it’s Republican grifters behind things like the recent Judge Duncan at Stanford flap. But my initial reaction is y’all screwed up your party and your philosophy without help from liberals, why do you expect us to fix it for you? But Campos had a more measured response,

    (1) The overwhelming majority of college students spend essentially no time learning anything about the intellectual history of Western politics over the last 250 years .. (That’s true. I never saw Hume even mentioned in my thermodynamics courses.)

    (3) The idea that professors who do teach courses that touch on European intellectual history don’t teach Burke, Hume, et. al. because they’re so liberal is just . . . I mean what can you even say about this? I teach a course which among other things does a deep dive into the intellectual roots of 20th century European fascism — a subject which has taken on a sudden relevance to the study of contemporary American law and politics — but that’s not because I actually have some sort of sympathy for fascist thought.
    (4) The idea that I’m supposed to make sure my conservative students turn into good as opposed to bad conservatives should be as obviously nutty as the idea that I’m supposed to make sure that my Christian students turn into the right as opposed to the wrong kind of Christians, or that my leftist students turn into the right kind of leftists etc. etc.

    This Shields piece may be the single dumbest thing I’ve ever read in FTFNYT.

  52. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    We used to have it worse under the previous department boss, even though then we had fewer and smaller proposals to assemble. the way the boss runs things does matter.

  53. Mister Bluster says:

    I don’t usually whine more than once about comments that I have posted getting snagged as I figure that the algorithm must have a good reason and let’s face it, machines are getting smarter every day.
    Can my comment that I made just after my 18:53 post be set free?

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Cain: I was married for a short time in my 40s, but being single is probably the only “people skill” I possess to any great degree. Before my divorce, I’d lived a life that was intended to be a normal-ish social milieu and I owned a home and entertained even though I was single. Post graduate school, I mostly lived the life of a gypsy scholar going from school to school teaching one section at a time even while married. Post divorce, I’ve lived in sleeping rooms and studios–including 10 years in Korea, where people mostly DON’T entertain at home (I ate exactly two dinners with friends/associates/acquaintances in the homes of the hosts in 8 years in Korea, lots of parties at restaurants and bars, tho). TL/DR: Yeah, long term. Don’t even have matching dishes anymore (or enough for 4 place settings, either).

  55. Jax says:

    @Michael Cain: I’m terribly sorry to hear about your wife. I don’t even know what to say, really….I hope you are comfortable with the memory care facility that she is in. Does she remember you or your kids?

  56. Just nutha says:

    @Michael Cain: And comparing my response to Jax‘s probably reinforces my comment about my people skills more than I would like.

    Both of my parents were in memory care before it was over. Stay close to your wife to the degree possible and encourage your kids to visit when they can. My dad did a lot better when I was visiting from Korea. Your kids visiting may have a similar effect for their mom (and you).