Wednesday’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. Bill Jempty says:

    Had something interesting happen this morning.

    Dear Wife did laundry this morning before going for her walk. We’re on the 2nd floor and as she returned to our unit, she saw somebody wearing and a mask trying car doors downstairs. We called the police.

  2. Bill Jempty says:

    Kansas prison inmates have more work to do. From CNN

    Kansas is going back to the drawing board after hundreds of people blasted the state’s new license plate design for next year, with many saying it resembled those of other states and a rival state university from neighboring Missouri.

    “I’ve heard you loud and clear,” Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said in a statement Tuesday. “Elected officials should be responsive to their constituents, which is why we are adjusting the process so Kansans can provide direct input on our state’s next license plate.”

    One major complaint is the colors of the design— wheat-yellow colored background with black and dark blue text— were too similar to the color scheme of the University of Missouri, a rival to the University of Kansas, according to governor spokesperson Brianna Johnson.

    When asked about the plate being draped in colors used by the University of Missouri, Johnson responded in an email, “Technically the colors were navy and yellow with black digits (not Mizzou colors) but on social media, everything looked black.”

    Meanwhile, the governor’s Facebook post announcing the design on November 22 received comments criticizing the design’s lack of originality

    “Please give us Kansans the opportunity to choose from a few designs that are unique & reflect our Kansas pride. Why would any of us want Mizzou’s colors on our plates? This design is very uninspired, IMO. I’d be embarrassed to display this design on my car. It just doesn’t cut the mustard (pun intended!)” one user commented on the post.

    Others have said the design is akin to New York’s plate while some said the two stars on each side of the plate number are too similar to some Texas plates.

  3. Rick DeMent says:

    “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about.”
    Oscar Wild

    “There is only one thing worse than being witty and that is not being witty.”
    – Monty Python

    “There is only on thing worse than the tyranny of the majority and that is tyranny of the minority.”
    Me, right now … change my mind.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: First world problems, but I have to agree with them. That design is pretty sucky.

    The fact that so many are upset about the Mizzou colors makes me laugh.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rick DeMent: I far prefer not being talked about. Some people, trump for instance, love being the center of attention. That hasn’t worked out so well for him lately.

  6. JohnSF says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    “There is only on thing worse than the tyranny of the majority and that is tyranny of the minority.”
    Me, right now … change my mind.

    Latest figures indicate that you are in fact the minority. 🙂

  7. Mimai says:

    @Rick DeMent:
    Nice try Rich DeMentia, but your fashy, ahistorical droppings don’t work around here.

    Hey Ricki Ticki DeMentos, why don’t you take your reactionary, revolutionist, anarchist partisanship and sod off!

    But before you go, answer me this Richie DeMented, at what age did you realize your mother detests you?

    **Did I do it, did I change your mind?**

  8. Michael Cain says:

    @Bill Jempty: Colorado has a huge number of license plate styles. One of the newest, and very popular, is flat black with white numbers and “COLORADO” in smaller upper-case white across the top. Looks very sharp on black cars.

  9. Rick DeMent says:


    I guess someone didn’t get their fruit cup for dessert last night .

  10. Jax says:

    I went all day yesterday thinking it was Wednesday, and I had an appointment in Jackson today (thinking today was Thursday). My space-time continuum feels all stretched and warped now that I’ve realized TODAY is Wednesday, and I DON’T have to go to Jackson today, I have to go tomorrow. 😛

    And the only thing that tipped me off was the day on this open forum. I was like, wait, what? No Thursday open forum?

  11. Mimai says:

    @Rick DeMent:
    “The only thing worse than fruit cup is butterscotch pudding with skin.”
    –Mark Twain

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @Mimai: “The only thing worse than seeing a worm when you bite into an apple is to see half a worm.”
    -Mahatma Gandhi

  13. MarkedMan says:


    And the only thing that tipped me off was the day on this open forum.

    Joyner runs a full service operation here

  14. Neil Hudelson says:


    “America is all about speed…Hot, nasty, bad-ass speed.”
    -Eleanor Roosevelt

  15. CSK says:

    “I loathe Donald Trump with every fiber of my being. Don’t even dream of trying to change my mind.” — CSK

  16. just nutha says:

    @Jax: If I didn’t have a cellphone, I’d never know what day it is most days. ☹️

  17. Slugger says:

    Kansas license plate idea: a pair of ruby slippers on an emerald background.

  18. Tony W says:

    @Slugger: I’m sure Turner Broadcast Group (or whoever owns TWOZ these days) would love to wet their beaks on every plate sold.

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I dream of Donald Trump with every fiber of my being. I would loathe you trying to change my mind.” — CKS

  20. Gromitt Gunn says:

    In light of yesterday’s inflation post.

    “How long can we keep this up?” Food banks are under pressure from Texas’ high level of food insecurity

    “Inflation, stagnant federal funding for food programs and high housing costs mean that demand at food banks still hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels.”

  21. Scott says:

    @Gromitt Gunn: I regularly send money to the San Antonio Food Bank but the need is huge. In the meantime, my “Freedom” Caucus congressman, Chip Roy, keeps pushing to slash SNAP benefits.

    While the number of customers has fallen since the pandemic’s peak, the San Antonio Food Bank is currently serving about 100,000 Texans each week. The food bank’s chief executive, Eric Cooper, said the reason the number of people needing food assistance has not fallen closer to pre-pandemic levels is because stagnant wages have made it hard “to stay afloat in the Texas economy” where housing prices are the biggest “wrecking ball.”

  22. CSK says:


    Oh, cute. Really cute.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    [Spoilers for Loki]

    I just saw a blurb about Loki season 2 and it reminded me I had wanted to take issue with Reynolds about a comment he made, and I’ve given up waiting for the topic to come up again. So, apropos of nothing at all: Yes, they completely changed Loki as a character, but it was an explicit choice and explained within the show itself. When we were at the end of the world there were dozens of Loki variants who were “normal”, i.e. conniving, deceitful, self destructive, etc. There were exactly three that had taken a different path and they were the oddest lot of the bunch. When our Loki shows up he is presented with a choice and he throws in with the odd ducks. From that point on, the show is about that choice.

    I’m not claiming it’s high art or even that you should have liked it, but I felt that, unlike most of the similar “character finds the light” changes in TV shows, this one was explained and earned.

  24. Sleeping Dog says:


    Or a house askew with a funnel cloud in the background.

  25. Grommit Gunn says:

    @Scott: Yes, I will be doubling my normal annual donation to the Brazos Valley Food Bank later this month. And the ones to the local animal shelters. I’m exceptionally fortunate to have an employer whose cost of living increases have been more in line with inflation than most folks.

  26. just nutha says:

    @CSK: Well he does seem to live in your head rent-free at times. ☹️

  27. CSK says:

    Next academic year, Harvard will be offering a course entitled…are you ready for this…”Taylor Swift and Her World.”

    I’m reminded of that scene in Sleeper where Diane Keaton tells Woody Allen that her college major was “poetry and cosmetics.”

  28. Kathy says:


    I liked both seasons of Loki. Caveat, When I saw it I hadn’t seen the earlier Marvel movies where he appears (except Endgame, where he dies very early), so I didn’t know him form any other Marvel villains.

    He does come across at first, in the TV show, as arrogant but irreverent, intent on taking over, conquering, etc. whatever he fancies. Then he finds himself captive in a place he doesn’t understand, where his powers don’t work, and where even the McGuffins of Endgame are powerless desk decorations. Then he sees how he dies, or how his variant dies.

    I buy that would get him to change. Not to mention he does develop real relationships with Mobius and Silvie.

  29. CSK says:

    @Slugger: @Sleeping Dog:

    Perhaps flying monkeys.

  30. Jen says:

    @CSK: Examination of things like celebrity culture, LGBTQ themes, etc. are legitimate course studies–I’m fine with wrapping that all into a T. Swift class. Not to mention looking at her song catalog; she’s a prolific writer. I don’t really see how it’s much different than studying poetry, it’s just more relevant to the students (who, if they are at Harvard, aren’t skating by on easy classes, so heck throw ’em a course that they’ll be interested in).

  31. Jen says:
  32. Mister Bluster says:

    Masturbation is sex with someone I love.
    Allan Stewart Konigsberg

  33. Mister Bluster says:

    Co-founder of Students for Trump charged with assaulting a woman with a firearm
    Ryan Fournier, 27, is accused of grabbing a woman’s arm and “striking her in the forehead with a firearm,” according to a magistrate’s order filed with North Carolina’s Johnston District Court. He faces two misdemeanor charges: assault on a female and assault with a deadly weapon.

    Disclaimer: All Students for Trump are presumed _______ till proven ______.
    (you fill in the blanks)

  34. MarkedMan says:


    I buy that would get him to change.

    Right. And while it got this particular Loki to change his outlook as well as three other Loki variants, the bulk of the variants experienced all this and didn’t change. The Loki archetype is selfish, scheming, evil and very unlikely to change, as shown by the fact that only a tiny percentage of the Loki variants actually did change even when subjected to their world literally ending. That’s what I meant when I said this was an earned character change.

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: This just shows how f’ed up our gun laws are, even irrespective of second amendment crap. This lunatic freaks out at his girlfriend and pulls a gun on her, and then pistol whips her with it. And, somehow, that’s just a misdemeanor. Which means he is unlikely to suffer any serious consequences and can keep owning a gun even if convicted. In a sane society, this gun nut should be locked up for five years, minimum, and then never allowed to touch a gun for the rest of his pathetic life.

  36. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    Sadly, he does, doesn’t he? I suppose it’s a measure of my loathing for him.

  37. CSK says:


    The course description states that the course will emphasize the difference between poetry and songwriting.

  38. Mister Bluster says:

    @MarkedMan:..This just shows how f’ed up our gun laws are…

    You don’t have to convince me.

  39. Kathy says:


    I also found the TVA fascinating.

    It’s not unique. here and there you find some other fantasy stories where a group of people is responsible for incredibly essential, important things, who create a bureaucracy to manage. MIB comes to mind, also The Good Place.

    I’d love a follow on series about the TVA. Just what did Mobious and OB and Ravona and the rest do before Loki messed it all up.

  40. gVOR10 says:

    I always appreciate a clear, concise statement on a subject many seem to find confusing. Here’s Perry Bacon in WAPO,

    I want a political media that prioritizes truth and accuracy over neutrality between the two parties.

    Kevin Drum yesterday had a chart showing that the news broadcasts of the three major networks devoted 54 minutes to covering Hillary’s “deplorables” comment in the first week after she said it. In the first week Trump’s “vermin” comment drew 3 minutes of coverage. They’ve learned nothing from 2016.

    Bacon wants truth and accuracy. I’d be happy if they just didn’t have such a heavy thumb on the scale for Republicans.

  41. dazedandconfused says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    On that quote about being talked about…brought to mind the bio on Yogi Berra
    “It ain’t over”

    A significant portion is devoted to how he really was the mainstay of the invulnerable Yankees. Nobody has ever batted better in World Series. Nobody had anywhere close to his home run/strikeout ratio. He would be among the leaders in home runs and only strike out a dozen times in a year. Unheard of. Has 10 championship rings as a player, four more as a manager or coach. One of the greatest players who ever played, period. Yet, because he became known for funny quotes…all that is ignored.

  42. Kathy says:

    About my comment yesterday on car manufacturers and other multinational companies in Mexico, Many have been there as far as I can recall. as I gather, they assembled cars with domestic and imported parts, but these were for the local market or for export to Latin America, not to the US.

    Aside from that there many others, not involved in cars, Coca Cola, Nestle, Gillette, Colgate, lots that were later incorporated into Unilever, Kraft, McCormick, Danone, Philips, Sony, GE, Oster, and many more. I don’t know if they were foreign owned, joint ventures, licensed trademarks, or what.

    I do know imports were allowed, but tariffs were high. For some products, the tariff could be over 100%. Whether the purpose was protectionism or revenue, is not always clear. This changed in the late 80s to early 90s, when Mexico joined what is now the WTO, and more with NAFTA and other trade agreements.

  43. Matt says:

    @MarkedMan: Concur dude clearly doesn’t have the proper temperament to be a responsible gun owner.

  44. EddieInCA says:

    A British writer penned the best description of Donald Trump I’ve ever read:

    “Why do some British people not like Donald Trump?”

    A few things spring to mind. Trump lacks certain qualities which the British traditionally esteem. For instance, he has no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace – all qualities, funnily enough, with which his predecessor Mr. Obama was generously blessed. So for us, the stark contrast does rather throw Trump’s limitations into embarrassingly sharp relief.

    Plus, we like a laugh. And while Trump may be laughable, he has never once said anything wry, witty or even faintly amusing – not once, ever. I don’t say that rhetorically, I mean it quite literally: not once, not ever. And that fact is particularly disturbing to the British sensibility – for us, to lack humour is almost inhuman. But with Trump, it’s a fact. He doesn’t even seem to understand what a joke is – his idea of a joke is a crass comment, an illiterate insult, a casual act of cruelty.

    Trump is a troll. And like all trolls, he is never funny and he never laughs; he only crows or jeers. And scarily, he doesn’t just talk in crude, witless insults – he actually thinks in them. His mind is a simple bot-like algorithm of petty prejudices and knee-jerk nastiness.

    There is never any under-layer of irony, complexity, nuance or depth. It’s all surface. Some Americans might see this as refreshingly upfront. Well, we don’t. We see it as having no inner world, no soul. And in Britain we traditionally side with David, not Goliath. All our heroes are plucky underdogs: Robin Hood, Dick Whittington, Oliver Twist. Trump is neither plucky, nor an underdog. He is the exact opposite of that. He’s not even a spoiled rich-boy, or a greedy fat-cat. He’s more a fat white slug. A Jabba the Hutt of privilege.

    And worse, he is that most unforgivable of all things to the British: a bully. That is, except when he is among bullies; then he suddenly transforms into a snivelling sidekick instead. There are unspoken rules to this stuff – the Queensberry rules of basic decency – and he breaks them all. He punches downwards – which a gentleman should, would, could never do – and every blow he aims is below the belt. He particularly likes to kick the vulnerable or voiceless – and he kicks them when they are down.

    So the fact that a significant minority – perhaps a third – of Americans look at what he does, listen to what he says, and then think ‘Yeah, he seems like my kind of guy’ is a matter of some confusion and no little distress to British people, given that:

    • Americans are supposed to be nicer than us, and mostly are.

    • You don’t need a particularly keen eye for detail to spot a few flaws in the man.

    This last point is what especially confuses and dismays British people, and many other people too; his faults seem pretty bloody hard to miss. After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on ad infinitum. God knows there have always been stupid people in the world, and plenty of nasty people too. But rarely has stupidity been so nasty, or nastiness so stupid. He makes Nixon look trustworthy and George W look smart. In fact, if Frankenstein decided to make a monster assembled entirely from human flaws – he would make a Trump.

    And a remorseful Doctor Frankenstein would clutch out big clumpfuls of hair and scream in anguish: ‘My God… what… have… I… created?’ If being a twat was a TV show, Trump would be the boxed set.”

    -Nate White

  45. Rick DeMent says:



    “Nobody goes there anymore… it’s too crowded.”
    -Yogi Barra

  46. Kathy says:


    The one time I recall Adolph said something funny, was when he got the biggest laugh ever at the UN general assembly. He didn’t do it on purpose.

    It does take someone who doesn’t understand humor, or who has no sense of humor at all, to think “inject bleach to kill the trump virus,” could possibly pass as a joke. Or any number of other times when Adolph claimed to have been “kidding.”

  47. Mikey says:

    Henry Kissinger has died, age 100.

  48. Kathy says:

    It would seem Xlon is unraveling.

    XpaceX isn’t publicly traded, but it has taken in a lot of investment capital. I wonder how much of it Xuxk owns, for that matter also how much of Texla. If he becomes toxic enough, fanboy base or not, he might be forced out

  49. Jax says:


    He is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shit.

    That’s classic.

  50. Moosebreath says:


    “Henry Kissinger has died, age 100.”

    The good die young.

  51. gVOR10 says:

    @Mikey: Any comment of mine would violate claimed norms of the site.

  52. Mister Bluster says:


    First they should hit him on his forehead with a silver hammer to be sure he’s dead then let the Vietnamese bury him in one of their air raid tunnels so they know where he is.

  53. Kathy says:


    He certainly took a long time reaching that inevitable conclusion.

  54. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    I’d also add in the discussion of business practices in the entertainment industry, abuse of minors by same, what Ms Swift has learned and price she paid for same, how she has avoided pitfalls that many others have succumbed to., etc.

    ETA. This doesn’t seem off when you remember that Mr Dylan was gifted with a Nobel Prize in literature. But then again, I am but an ignorant Luddite, with a taste for parody and low dives.

  55. Franklin says:

    Wow, I just stumbled into one of the best daily forums in awhile. Not just the quotes, but the British take on Trump. Thank you, all! Have a great Thursday (that’s Friday to you, Jax).

  56. Stormy Dragon says:


    We should only speak good of the dead.

    Henry Kissinger is dead.


  57. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Cause several hundred thousand innocents death as your opening gambit… Dude was hardcore.

    People today are envious of his reach and influence. Hamas, IDF are less effective. Dudes wish they had that impact.

    Goodbye, and good riddance. Vengeance driven foreign policy always bites us on the rebound.

    It’s not even vengeance for vengeance sake, it’s just for a temporary political boost.

    I hope Kissinger roasts in hell for eternity.

  58. Gustopher says:

    @Mikey: I hope he passed peacelessly.

  59. wr says:

    @EddieInCA: Is that Jonathan Pie?