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 and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mikey says:

    Where’s Bill? Does he live in the part of Florida impacted by Hurricane Sandy?

  2. Kylopod says:

    @Mikey: I think you mean Hurricane Sally. Sandy was the one from 2012 in the Northeast.

    I was once glancing at my news feed back then, and my eyes scanned the headline “To raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims, 4-year-old sells pot.” After doing a massive double-take, I looked at it again and discovered it continued on the next line: “…holders.”

  3. Mikey says:


    I think you mean Hurricane Sally. Sandy was the one from 2012 in the Northeast.

    Argh, and I’m outside the edit window…lol…yes, SALLY not SANDY.

  4. CSK says:

    Yesterday he said he had some personal matters that required his attention. Perhaps that’s true today.

    Grumpy Realist hasn’t been around for a while.

  5. Bill says:
  6. CSK says:
  7. Bill says:


    Where’s Bill? Does he live in the part of Florida impacted by Hurricane Sandy?

    I live in Southeastern Florida.

    There was no Open forum when I checked this morning and then I got so into writing my next ebook, I lost track of time.

    While I write sci-fi, this is my first story set in outer space.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    SALEM — Chris Tofte blew past the blockade, his green Jeep Cherokee aimed for the bowels of the raging Beachie Creek fire.

    It was around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, and he was desperately searching for his wife, son and mother-in-law. The family lived 4½ miles up North Fork Road SE, about 10 minutes from Lyons and 30 minutes from Salem.

    Halfway there, the road flanked by walls of fire and fallen trees, he stopped for a man whose arm was badly burned. The man wanted a ride but didn’t get in when he found out Chris was headed deeper into the wildfire.

    Chris agreed to pick him up on the way down, but the man wondered out loud whether he’d make it.

    Back in the Jeep, struggling to navigate a road once so familiar but now shrouded by smoke-filled darkness, Chris almost ran over what looked like a bikini-clad woman on the road. Once he was closer, he realized she was wearing underwear. Her hair was singed, her mouth looked almost black, and her bare feet were severely burned.

    He impatiently tried to help her into his car, explaining how he needed to find his wife and son, feeling like she was resisting.

    Finally, she spoke. “I am your wife.”

  9. MarkedMan says:

    Ya know, we’ve kinda wandered away from Trump’s cognitive decline, but this one was a doozy. Yesterday during his superspreader event, he seemed unclear on who was President, blaming Biden more than once for not issuing a national mask policy.

    There is something deeply wrong with this man.

  10. CSK says:

    Trump spouts word salad and we sit around scratching our heads, wondering “What the hell did he just say?”

    He’s probably incapable of speaking coherently, but there’s a chance this is deliberate. His admirers can interpret his babble to suit whatever their current fantasy about him is. As for the rest of us, we can claim he blamed Biden, and he can deny it by saying he meant something else. Don’t ask me what.

  11. Tyrell says:

    News – you will see and hear about in some areas (warning: graphic descriptions)
    “Another mutilated cow in Oregon rattles ranchers” “Not one drop of blood” (NPR)
    “Investigators bewildered by death, mutilation of Oregon cows” (Capital Press)
    Experts and veterinarians are puzzled by at least seven cows found dead: mutilated (surgery more like it), not one drop of blood, organs taken, no foot prints, no tire tracks, not the work of some other animal. These animals were not butchered all up. To describe this as surgical precision would be an understatement. Some sort of cauterization type of procedure with no carbon residue. Hearts and some other organs completely removed, These were healthy cows.
    This did not happen on some backwoods “Wrong Turn” area farm, but on a well known and reputable ranch; the owners not given to conspiracies and flights of fancy.
    This is not the first occurrence of this sort of thing. It happened in Colorado and other areas of the west back in the 1970’s. It has also happened in other countries.
    This is not the work of some “satan” cult. It is not the work of animals. It is not from insects or scavengers. The animal parts removed are of no monetary value.
    Experts remained puzzled.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: He’s probably incapable of speaking coherently, but there’s a chance this is deliberate.

    trump does everything deliberately, but that is not to say he does it with forethought and planning.

  13. DrDaveT says:

    (Carried over from yesterday for visibility…)

    Commonweal sounds interesting. On for the “to read” list. Thanks.

    It is by no means to everyone’s taste, and challenges the reader (in a good way!), but those of us who love it really love it. In a world where magic is in everything and some people are both incredibly powerful and incredibly evil, how do you establish civil society (and keep it)?

    The books so far are:
    The March North
    A Succession of Bad Days
    Safely You Deliver
    Under One Banner
    A Mist of Grit and Splinters

  14. Kylopod says:


    He’s probably incapable of speaking coherently, but there’s a chance this is deliberate.

    I think it’s a combination. That’s one of the things that was so enlightening about the Woodward interview: it showed that he definitely has more awareness of what’s going on than he lets out. At the same time, he’s still incredibly limited in how he operates. He and others around him have been attempting to push a narrative that all the problems happening right now are somehow Biden’s fault. It doesn’t make any logical sense, but they’re calculating it will still resonate with some voters as long as it fits certain stereotypical frames: Biden soft on crime & anarchy, Biden making everyone wear a mask, Biden telling you what to do, Biden letting the commies tell him what to do. It’s kind of a Hail Mary strategy, because they think it’s the only way they can ward off the tendency of voters to blame incumbents for whatever happens on their watch.

  15. Scott says:

    @Tyrell: Don’t know what is happening out there but it is a great setup for a fun movie.

  16. Bill says:

    The headline of the day-

    Columbia Marching Band Shuts Itself Down Over ‘Offensive Behavior’

    I played one of these in a school marching band. School band hazing rituals are quite common I hate to say.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Having gone through 2 parents and 2 in-laws cognitive decline, this is pretty familiar. They can get agitated and in the flow of the moment they begin to lose touch with what has actually happened and what is being talked about happening. In the case of the parents it involved things like who was visiting in the future, who was here now and who had visited in the past, or whether they had just gotten a new car or had just confused talk about someone else’s new car with something that had happened to them 20 years before. In this case I suspect that Trump has been talking with people about how Biden wouldn’t have done anything different IF he had been president and momentarily lost that flow and switched over to blaming Biden for non-action as president. I’m pretty sure that if you had asked him who was president in the moment he would have snapped out of it, but only pretty sure.

    My mother-in-law, still hanging in there at 89, is a master of not answering a question while appearing to answer it. “Mom, what do you think of the candidates?”, “Oh, they all just go on and on”, “Who do you think you’ll vote for?”, “Well, not Trump, that’s for sure!” She remembers Trump. I think she’s got Biden down now too, as she watches TV all day long and I think it has sunk in. Trump has been a master of this his whole life. See the interview thirty years ago about the “The Bonfire of the Vanities”

  18. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan: Trump is so allergic to taking responsibility for things that I’m surprised he recognizes that his children are indeed his.

    This is another level of weird though, I’m baffled how his supporters can keep up with this level of nonsense.

  19. MarkedMan says:


    it showed that he definitely has more awareness of what’s going on than he lets out

    I’m no so sure. Trump has had a specific skill his whole life: riffling through a random set of things he had heard, judging what would sound impressive to the person he is talking to, and playing it back. I’ve seen interviews with him for probably 40 years or more. He never, ever seems to actually understand what he is saying, or provide any import to it. Literally five minutes later he can give a completely different answer. What’s unusual about that “The Bonfire of the Vanities” quote I referenced above is that he seems to realize at some point that there was something wrong with his answer, and claimed that there was something wrong with his earpiece. I doubt he actual figured out what the issue was, just picked it up from the body language and tone of the questioners.

  20. Tyrell says:

    @Scott: I remember “The Andromeda Strain”. That was a great movie and book. I am surprised they have not done a remake. It was based on something like that happening.

  21. CSK says:

    It could be an attempt to tie Biden to Obama’s “failures” as president.
    Hasn’t Trump said on several occasions that he listens (ha) to reasoned arguments pro and con and then goes with his gut? No doubt that’s what led him to six bankruptcies and such runaway successes as Trump Vodka, Trump Magazine, Trump Mortgage, Trump Steaks…
    Thanks for pointing out that interview. I just watched it. Sweet Jebus.

  22. Scott says:

    Updating software in flight? The Air Force may be close

    The U.S. Air Force will soon announce that the service can update an aircraft’s software while in flight, the Air Force’s chief software officer said Tuesday.

    Hate to be cynical but the AF can’t even update my office laptop over a weekend without screwing it up.

  23. CSK says:

    That interview should be shown all over. What a pathetic bullshitter the man is.

  24. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kylopod:..4-year-old sells pot.” After doing a massive double-take, I looked at it again and discovered it continued on the next line: “…holders.”

    So the kid is selling roach clips.

  25. Kylopod says:



    it showed that he definitely has more awareness of what’s going on than he lets out

    I’m no so sure.

    Look again at the Woodward transcript. People have focused on Trump’s “playing it down” remark, but what’s just as notable is that his description of the virus and the danger it poses is strikingly accurate. He talks about how it’s airborne, how it’s massively contagious, how it’s far deadlier than the flu, and how it’s a danger even to children. In other words, he admits everything he’s spent months publicly denying. And he wasn’t just parroting back what Woodward was feeding to him, he said it largely unprompted. I’m not claiming he’s some evil genius playing googolplex-dimensional chess. But it’s clear he grasps the nature of the public health crisis far more than he has been letting on.

  26. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “I remember “The Andromeda Strain”. That was a great movie and book. I am surprised they have not done a remake.”

    They have done a remake. It was a miniseries in 2008.

  27. Kathy says:


    The way Trump the Fool is campaigning, you-d think Biden’s been president for the last four years, and if we only vote for Trump he’ll make everything better.

    At the same time, he claims credit for whatever went right over the past four years.

    It’s double-think at an eleven dimensional level.

  28. sam says:


    The U.S. Air Force will soon announce that the service can update an aircraft’s software while in flight, the Air Force’s chief software officer said Tuesday.

    I suggest they do what I’ve read somewhere the 8th AF did during WWII. At the beginning of the daylight bombing campaign over occupied Europe, there were an unacceptable number of mechanical malfunctions in the B-17 fleet. These resulted in a number of crashes, aborted missions, aborted takeoffs, etc. They cut down on these mishaps greatly by have the crew chiefs fly the missions.

  29. CSK says:

    And his explanation for that was that he didn’t want to create a panic.

    Underplaying the pandemic so as not to create a panic is one thing, and I’m not arguing it was the right thing to do, but it’s understandable. But I doubt this was a consideration for him at all. He simply didn’t want to deal with the consequences. And he was in such a frenzy not to be blamed for the pandemic that he blurted out a lot of witless promises about it magically vanishing.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: You may be right, but I still suspect my alternate explanation is closer to the truth. Trump doesn’t “understand” or “know” things. He collects a bunch of sound bites, puts them in his mental jukebox, and then selects the one that he feels most likely to please his audience. He wanted Woodward to see him as serious, smart and decisive, so he scanned the jukebox until he came across one that was said to him by someone he saw as serious, smart and decisive, then played that one. If ten minutes later he was with someone he judged would be most impressed by a cavalier dismissal of the dangers he would have selected that from the mental jukebox.

    In my view to talk about what Trump knows is a category error. Trump’s mind simply doesn’t have categories for “true” and “not true”.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    You know, I don’t think anyone would mind if you posted a link to some of your work.

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @CSK: Eh, I’ve been lurking as opposed to commenting. New job as well, which am getting used to and which takes time.

    (Has anyone noticed the total heap of chaos and failure that the U.K. government has been setting itself up for? Wow! I’ve been following the reports over at TurbulentTimes.)

  33. de stijl says:


    Where do you get this stuff?

    Weekly World News died – Ed Anger is no more. He is pig-bitin’ mad in the ether. Miss Dottie no longer provides extremely fucked up relationship advice.

    You astound me constantly. I like that.

  34. de stijl says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Dude, Heilung!

    You gifted me The Hu.

    I give you Heilung.

    Krigsgaldr is the entry song.

  35. KM says:

    @MarkedMan :

    Porque los dos?

    One thing people forget is you can be co-morbid with a mental illness / personality disorder as well as dementia. It’s not one or the other – narcissists, pathological liar and those suffering from BPD get old and senile too. It’s perfectly possible that Trump is deliberately trying to downplay what he understands is a Bad Thing for Him (even if he doesn’t grok the full gist of it), gets lost in the weeds because of his pre-existing mental issues and now age has tossed in a new complication of him finishing on Old Man Yells at Clouds.

    I think Trump is very aware of this being Not Good in the Sherlock sense of the term. Someone reasonable has pointed it out to him and he’s trying to respond in a way that he’s been essentially trained is “appeasing”. He doesn’t really care that it’s Not Good or that he’s acting like an asshat – he wants you to stop bothering him about it so here’s what he thinks you want to hear to go away. It doesn’t have to make sense to him, it just needs to be something he thinks will make sense to *you*. As his followers blame Dems for everything wrong in existence and their imaginations, it makes sense to blame Biden for something like masks when the rest of us are WTF-ing in the corner. Mask policy = bad, COVID = bad, Biden =bad so mask conspiracy+COVID stealing freedom+Biden’s fault = jackpot!

    Aging narcissists and others with personality disorders on that axis are notoriously difficult to deal with. Is it the Alzheimer’s or are they gaslighting you? Is it on purpose or do they really not get what they’re doing? Did they start off playing games and genuinely lose the thread of what’s happening or is it all just more manipulation? How much do they understand and how much is faking it to get what they want? Trump’s a great example of how difficult it is to suss out specific areas of decline because of multiple issues.

  36. de stijl says:

    I have deep affection for traditional Norse music.


    Check Alfhadrati (The All Father aka Odin).

    Neo-nazis tried to appropriate Asatru. Fuck that. I am an atheist, but no way are nazis gonna steal the faith of my forebears. You will be denied.

    There is a strong movement in Scandinavia to dispel that by actions. Heilung, Wardruna, Eivor Palsdottir.

    The dude from Heilung does really deep chest throat singing. Astonishing!

  37. sam says:

    Beautifully preserved cave bears emerge from Siberian permafrost

    [M]ost cave bear fossils have been found inside caves, and paleontologists think these bears probably lived in the caves full-time, rather than just popping in for a quick four-month nap. Across Europe and Asia, bears and people probably competed for the same real estate for around 300,000 years; it probably wasn’t much of a contest, though. These lumbering Ice Age giants stood 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) high when they reared up on their hind legs, and the largest males weighed up to 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds). That’s about the size of a large polar bear or Kodiak bear today.

  38. de stijl says:

    Ultimate Heilung song is In Maidjan.

    Heilung make The Hu look like wannabes on throat singing and tribal primitivism. (All respect to The Hu).

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @de stijl: FWIW, the NPR piece is a year old.

  40. MarkedMan says:


    It doesn’t have to make sense to him, it just needs to be something he thinks will make sense to *you*.

    I think that’s it exactly. I might take it a step further and say that “making sense to him” is not something he places any value on. He cares about how it sounds and the impression he thinks it will leave, but doesn’t process things as to whether they make sense or not. “Ted Cruz’s father killed John F. Kennedy” has the same conversational value and therefore worth as “Frank Lloyd Wright designed some very powerful buildings” in his mind.

  41. Scott says:

    @de stijl: Totally tangential but did you know that the Hammer of Thor is a VA-approved emblem of belief for headstones in National Cemeteries.

  42. de stijl says:


    I do.

    That is cool AF. I approve. Asatru is no more foolish than the rest. And way more metal and punk.

    I am an atheist and traditional Asatru beliefs are completely bonkers stupid, but that is MY completely bonkers stupid faith tradition so I feel duty bound to defend it.

    Especially against nazis.

    Life repeats itself. We had to defend punk from nazi assholes in 1978. Fuck those jerks. Die already. No one likes you.

  43. de stijl says:

    When I was a kid, but old enough to do manual labor, I got shipped off to NW Wisconsin to help on the grandparents’ dairy farm.

    That was a rush to a kid from South Minneapolis.

    They mostly spoke Swedish at home. the Grands, an aunt, and great grandfather who was a fucking metal af badass who could speak like grade school English at a restaurant maybe.

    The aunt actually did kulning to call the cows in to get fed and milked.

    When I later heard those sounds in music years or decades later. I always remembered her.

    Farfar loved his AWA wrestling – especially the heels. Hated Verne Gagne and loved Nick Bockwinkel and loved the Vikings. Hated the Packers. He taught me to swear in Swedish. Gave me beer spiked with aquavit on Saturday mornings while we watched wrestling.

    I would just pass out after and he would laugh at how pussy I was.

    After he died I just refused to go back. You cannot make me. I refuse. Mom didn’t really care at all as long as I left her alone and fed myself. So that was that.

    I never ever told anyone back home I worked on a farm in the summer. That was my deepest darkest secret and I was so ashamed.

  44. Mister Bluster says:

    Top HHS spokesperson Caputo to take medical leave
    The health department’s top spokesman, Michael Caputo, who falsely accused CDC scientists of “sedition,” is taking a leave of absence — and his aide who tried to muzzle HHS scientists is leaving the department.

  45. CSK says:

    A commenter over at just stated that Kamala Harris has promised that the Biden administration is “prepared to track down anyone who supported and voted for President Trump too.”
    Clearly this is what this woman is hoping will happen, so she and her ilk can get out their guns and ammo and start Civil War Part Two.

  46. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    The article doesn’t make clear if this was Caputo’s idea, although Caputo did say his mental health was failing, and that he needed to take a leave.

    I’m sure this will be permanent.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Don’t ask me what.

    Try this on for size:

    Did Obama warn everyone about the importance of wearing masks during the last big H1N1 outbreak? And Biden didn’t either. Many people are saying that Biden was selected to run with Obama because he had the government experience that Obama was lacking. Biden would know to ask that. Biden would know. Why didn’t he say anything. He would have know how important it was. At least that’s what people are saying. I don’t know. But he didn’t warn us to mask. He didn’t.

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    My mom’s sister, Aunt Annabelle and her husband Willis Bird lived in an old famhouse in central Illinois with my three cousins. My brother and sister and I would spend a few weeks with them in the summer in the late ’50s. The only modern convenience in the house was electricity that powered the bare light bulbs, a refrigerator, some fans that blew the hot midwestern air around and a TV that was almost always on. One channel from Champaign that signed off at night after they played the National Anthem.
    Plumbing consisted of a hand pump at the kitchen sink and the out house.
    On Saturday night the tub that hung on the wall all week long was set on the kitchen floor, filled with water that had been heated on the wood stove and it was bath time.
    We did minor chores like feed the chickens and gather eggs. I got to drive the tractor.
    The most fun I remember having was setting glass soda bottles on the fenceposts and shooting at them with a .22 rifle.

  49. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Well, he managed to insert “people are saying” twice into one brief statement. That may be a record for him.

    Oh, by the way, he has a new excuse for not acting “presidential.” He doesn’t have the time, because he’s too busy accomplishing things.

  50. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I feel you.

  51. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Mister Bluster: My father was a seasonal naturalist ranger in Yellowstone throughout the Fifties. We would pile into a ’47 DeSoto with all the things we needed and drove from Denver to West Thumb on Yellowstone Lake. These were summers living in uninsulated cabins with wood stove heating and cooking, bare lightbulbs, cold water only and outhouses. My brother and I lived every day outdoors, among bears, elk, ravens and coyotes. We looked like deStijls’s Heilung tribe without the antlers. No .22’s but hand-made bows and spear.

  52. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Did you ever help with a birthing?

    Grab a slick ankle and pull a new calf forth into world? It’s fairly badass.

    Feeding calves off the bottle is the worst chore ever. Super aggressive dicks. Butt you butt their cousins. Total mayhem.

  53. de stijl says:

    The absolute worst was insemination.

    They had hired a fancy man from Rice Lake or Eau Claire to do the deed.

    He showed up and put on his arm condom and lubed up. My job was to hold the tail out of way. I will never forget the sounds of the cows’ responses to being violated. It was not a placid “Moo” believe me.

    Second worst was dehorning. That smell haunts my dreams.

  54. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..birthing
    The only animals were the chickens and the barn cats. No hogs or cattle.
    The farm was corn and beans.
    The closest I ever came to midwifery was one time when I was driving the Yellow Cab I picked up a couple who needed a quick trip to the hospital. She was in labor. He was in a tizzy.
    It wasn’t that far maybe three miles.
    Got there in time. Never did find out if it was a boy or a girl.

  55. Scott says:

    @de stijl: My 7th grade Biology teacher regaled us once with a story on how he had a summer job in college collecting bull sperm. He didn’t go into real gory details but our fevered adolescent brains has imaginations and thought it pretty funny.

  56. de stijl says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    You listened and saw enough to know Aurora sports antlers.

    Your ears and your attention are your business. I am glad you listened.

    Reynolds introduced me to The Hu. I loved it. Added it to my morning playlist.

    I started trying to emulate the throat singing. I could not. That went on for several months. I would get close. And then I did. It is indescribable. Loosen this bit while tightening this other internal chunk. I am incapable of describing how. It just happens. I am not a vocal coach.

    Then it happened and I could do it. The opening. It is behind the heart.

    I would just mimic The Hu. Mongolian is greek to me.

    It is very one note. You can vary with diaphram and mouth shape a bit.

    Then I found Heilung. What was a weird skill I practiced while making breakfast suddenly became salient.

    I understand these words. Well, some of these words, and know these sounds. It is not a tabula rasa anymore. Not just a blank meaningless vocal trick. I understand a fourth of this and can fill in some of the gaps contextually.

    Heilung dude is super talented! What sounds like a cicada drone is super wicked hard.

  57. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    You gifted me The Hu.

    I’ve seen videos of “Wolf Totem” and “Yuve Yuve Yu”. Wolf Totem is pretty good, but Yuve Yuve Yu is totally freaking awesome.

    My new addiction, though, is watching professional singers, musicians, and vocal coaches react to hearing Dimash Kudaibergen for the first time. And to a lesser extent to Morisette Amon and Marcelito Pomoy. (And to Jinjer, but that’s a different kick.)

  58. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    I have deep affection for traditional Norse music.

    Norse, or Nordic?

    If the latter, try the Daetur album by the Icelandic folk-pop duo Ylja.

    (Also, watch the viral video of Árstíðir singing Heyr himna smiður in a German train station with perfect acoustics…)

  59. de stijl says:


    Kurtz gave me reaction videos four months back or so with RATM examples. Bless him. Changed my life to the better.

    I found vocal coach / opera singer reacts on my own dime and am glad you did too.

    I am devouring Eivor Palsdottir. I thought she was Icelandic. She is from Faroe – how cool is that?

    Will check your link.

  60. JohnSF says:

    Latest update on the ongoing fargedy (cross between tragedy and farce) that is the UK government.
    Specifically its bill to break its own Withdrawal Agreement with the EU.

    The ministerial senior law officer for Scotland, the Advocate General, Lord Keen, has resigned.
    In his letter:

    “Over the past week I have found it increasingly difficult to reconcile what I consider to be my obligations as a Law Officer with your policy intentions with respect to the UKIM [United Kingdom Internal Market] Bill. I have endeavoured to identify a respectable argument for the provisions at clauses 42 to 45 of the Bill but it is now clear that this will not meet your policy intentions.
    “In these circumstances I consider that it is my duty to tender my resignation from your Government.
    “Your Government faces challenges on a number of fronts and I fear that the UKIM Bill in its present form will not make these any easier.

    Which I believe translates from lawyerese roughly as “you are an idiot”.

    That’s in addition to the condemnation from five former Prime Ministers, two additional former Conservative Party leaders, three former Conservative Attorneys General, and a couple of former Lord Chancellors.

    And the current A.G. being mugged at the Bar Council AGM.

    It will still pass the Commons though, given the Conservative majority of invertebrates, fanatics and opportunists.

    The proposed compromise with some of the tentative rebels is a mere figleaf for their sensibilities, which fails to alter the basic horrible stratagem of a bill enabling ministers to discard a treaty they negotiated, advocated, signed, campaigned on in a general election, and passed into law.
    The EU is unlikely to be mollified.

    Looks like Speaker Pelosi and Joe Biden are both rather displeased as well.

  61. Tyrell says:

    @de stijl: Brock Lesnar is a farm guy.

  62. de stijl says:


    We are subscribing to the same channels then. I have seen all of these names in my notifications in the last few days.

    My new fave is from Australia. She did a brilliant thing and put her critique as text on the screen instead of pausing and saying it. It sounds like a little thing but being able to hear the full song without pause and getting a pro’s feedback at the same time is genius.

    Julia Nilon.

  63. de stijl says:


    Pan nordic.

    I am 3/4 Swedish by blood, but they are all sisters and brothers. Icelanders are my fave – so spooky cool. I lived there for a good while.

  64. JohnSF says:

    Any chance my last post can released from comment purgatory?
    Prob. one too many links in it.

  65. de stijl says:


    That is one echoey underground station. (Going Underground a la The Jam)

    One thing I did not get until I thought it through is that English “hymn” is derived from the Old Germanic Old Norse root for heaven. Himna.

    Literally a song is or creates heaven. It breaks my heart because that is exactly how I approach the world and some genius people several millennia ago saw it the same.

  66. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: Ever done one of those DNA kits like 23andme?

  67. JohnSF says:

    My views on the UK government summed up neatly by former Conservative MP and minister, and unexpected pottymouth, Anna Soubry:

    “Fuckfest is the technical term”

  68. Paine says:

    Trump just bragged that if you “take the blue states out” our Covid death rate isn’t all that bad. That pig can’t get out of office soon enough…

  69. de stijl says:


    Good point!

    I am relying on my mother’s story and she was not a reliable narrator.

    Supposedly 3/4 Swedish and equal 1/16 English, Irish, French, Dutch.

    Seems valid. On paternal it was Forsell or Roberg. On the maternal there was a Savage / Sauvage line.

  70. de stijl says:

    Wardruna did the music for History Channel’s Viking series.

  71. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl: Honestly I would not have done it myself if not for pressure from my parents. Reading about people doing these tests, I found it kind of mildly interesting at best. My family history is basically Ashkenazi Jewish in all visible directions, so it wasn’t like I was kept awake at night wondering about my ancestry. There were some claims of remote Sephardi ancestry on my mother’s side, but the DNA results did not seem to support this claim. They did, however, find a sliver of Chinese ancestry–and that really threw me. Looking into it a little more, there was actually an article in Nature about Ashkenazim who discovered evidence of Chinese ancestry in their DNA–and the theory is that it came from a few unions in Russia in the 1400s. Talk about arcane.

    I was actually a bit more interested in what it said about my health and other traits such as male-pattern baldness. It couldn’t find signs of Parkinson’s in my DNA, even though my paternal grandfather had it. It said I had less than 50% chance of premature balding, even though not just me but practically every man in my family has it.

  72. Gustopher says:


    Look again at the Woodward transcript. People have focused on Trump’s “playing it down” remark, but what’s just as notable is that his description of the virus and the danger it poses is strikingly accurate. He talks about […]. And he wasn’t just parroting back what Woodward was feeding to him, he said it largely unprompted. I’m not claiming he’s some evil genius playing googolplex-dimensional chess. But it’s clear he grasps the nature of the public health crisis far more than he has been letting on.

    It’s clear that he grasped the nature of the health crisis then far more than he has been letting on since.

    Trump believes his own lies.

    He may have genuinely been trying to downplay the crisis until we had more data, but then he heard the smartest person he has ever known (himself) say it was no big deal. Repeated on TV. And his buddies at Fox backing that up.

    What he believes now? Who can guess. Does he remember thinking it was serious, or does he hear those tapes and wonder what alternate reality those came from? Or does he think “Yeah, they were telling me it was serious at the time, but I knew better. Look how it turned out?” before clicking on Fox and seeing once again that it was all a hoax?

  73. de stijl says:

    Speaking of Faroe Island.

    Hamferd recording during a solar eclipse. Daydir vardar.

    Seriously, check out Hamferd. So beautiful!

  74. de stijl says:

    Never forget Sigur Ros. Jonsi rocks so hard.

    Hoppipolla. (Jumping in puddles [with no boots on]). You might get a nose bleed med blodnasir.

    I like the live set at Heima.

  75. de stijl says:

    Med blodnasir and… With a bloody nose are the same thing given a thousand years and 700 miles. It is astonishing.

    Med becomes mit in German and with in English. Iceland is cool with the old school med.

    So much of Icelandic is so old. If you are Norwegian or Swedish or Danish you will get along fine ish, but the differences are enormous and fascinating.

    Well, it is an island. Islands evolve differently.

  76. Mikey says:

    @DrDaveT: I saw The Hu in DC last year. Fantastic show!

    Jinjer is great, too. Tatiana’s vocals are something else, and the band’s musicianship is top notch.

  77. Mikey says:
  78. de stijl says:


    Bald men can be super hot. I have a big ass man crush on Jason Statham.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I had thought / assumed Ashkenazi referred to Central European and Russian jews. Is this not true?


    Yeah. Holy Roman Empire pushed it east outside of their borders where they could. Proto-Germany. That had echoes didn’t it? Othered outlanders are convenient scapegoats.

    In January I am so fish belly white. My color offends the eye. Almost greenish white.

    I don’t identify with any faith but Asatru was what most of my forebears were brought up with back when before the cross dudes showed up.. It’s so stupid, but it is my peoples’ stupidity.

    As metaphor and story it is brilliant as long as we all agree none of it actually happened. It was too North for Hellenism or Roman counterparts so it remained relatively unpolluted paganism.

    Paganism is a loaded word isn’t it?

    The concept of an All Father appeals to many of us.

    Germans were the buffer tribes. We did not care until we raided Yorkish churches and monastaries. York is the wrong word. We gave that name Jorvik to that region.

  79. MarkedMan says:

    @Paine: It’s not just Trump. Do you think any of the Party leadership will condemn him? It’s what I said before, people who self identify as Republicans see the world as us vs. them, and them doesn’t matter.

  80. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I had thought / assumed Ashkenazi referred to Central European and Russian jews. Is this not true?

    Basically. Common Ashkenazi countries include Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Germany. My mother is the daughter of Holocaust survivors from Poland, and my dad is descended from Ukrainian Jews who came to the US in the early 20th century. Jews from France are also considered Ashkenazi, which may not seem to fit, but it has to do with the fact that Ashkenazim are the descendants of Jews who lived along the Rhine in Western Europe before migrating eastward during the Late Middle Ages. It’s reflected in the Yiddish language, which is primarily a variant of Middle High German, but it’s also got a lot of Slavic and even a few Romance Language words in it–and Hebrew, naturally.

    Most of these traditional patterns broke down in modern times, so “Ashkenazi” is more about where your ancestors were from than where you happen to live currently. For example, Latin America is traditionally thought of as where you’d find Sephardi Jews, yet today a lot of the Jews in countries like Argentina or Mexico are Ashkenazim whose family migrated there sometime in the 20th century. It’s still a very distinct group when it comes to DNA identification, and a common experience from people who take the test is discovering Jewish ancestry they never knew they had.

  81. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    Julia Nilon.


  82. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sam: paleontologists think these bears probably lived in the caves full-time,

    Only extremely idiotic paleontologists who have never talked to a cave biologist would think that. There is absolutely no way a bear of that size could exist on the diets available in the subterranean. The calories just plain and simply do not exist in that environment. And seeing as extremely idiotic paleontologists who have never talked to cave biologists are even rarer than complete cave bear skeletons, I suspect this writer screwed the pooch and none of his editors caught it.

    signed- an ex caver who has come across a few bear skeletons and innumerable bear beds during his years underground

  83. wr says:

    @de stijl: “Speaking of Faroe Island.”

    Haven’t actually been to Faroe, but have gazed at it across the sound from the shores of Gotland. Beautiful country.

  84. JohnSF says:

    “Scandinavian names…”
    I think that must have been Faro; if your talking about Swedish Gotland.
    Because Faroe is some 600 miles from the closest bit of Sweden.

    Actually closest land to Faroe is the Shetland Islands, which are part of Scotland.
    Though the inhabitants are sometimes a bit doubtful of how Scottish.

    Shetland (and Orkney) are still markedly “Scandinavian” in some respects.
    See the festival of uphellyaa in Lerwick in particular.

    This area of Scotland was at one time the seat of the “lost” Scandinavian language of Norn.

    England was also deeply influenced by Scandinavia; a lot of northern and eastern place names etc are Norse or Danish in origin.

    Historical digression: the last Scandinavian semi-Viking to challenge for the rule of England was the renowned Harald Hardrada in the other invasion of 1066, the one King Harold Godwinson defeated at Stamford Bridge.
    One of my favourite historical anecdotes that should be true; Harold of England negotiating with the enemy:

    “What will I offer Hardrada? He wants English land. As he is a tall man he may have seven feet of it.”

    Which is what he got.
    But some historians think that it was because the English army was weakened and delayed by this battle that William was able to gain the victory at Hastings.

  85. Kylopod says:


    England was also deeply influenced by Scandinavia; a lot of northern and eastern place names etc are Norse or Danish in origin.

    It’s way more than place names; the entire English language was profoundly influenced by Old Norse. Some very basic words, such as they and get, are of Norse origin. There’s a minority opinion among linguists that English underwent a process of semi-creolization due to the Norse invaders, accounting for English’s radically simplified grammar compared with other Indo-European languages–the almost complete disappearance of its complex system of conjugations and declensions.

  86. JohnSF says:

    That’s interesting! I’ve occasional been interested in language geekery myself ( a spin off of my dominant history nerd nature). I knew about the Scandi influence on English; but hadn’t heard (or considered) Norse-creolization theory. Very likely, when you think about it.

    The favoured explanation I heard many years back was a semi-creolization related to the Norman Conquest. And just maybe possibly an even earlier “Welsh”/Anglo-Saxon simplified “pidgin”.

    My preferred explanation though is that that the English just got fed up with conjugating them verbs. 🙂

  87. Kylopod says:

    @JohnSF: Keep in mind that I (and Kathy here as well) have read a lot of John McWhorter, who’s an advocate of the theory. He has his biases as a creole specialist, and I haven’t really heard the “other side” of the argument. But the idea that it happened because of the Norman Conquest doesn’t make sense to me at all. The Norman influence on English was highly superficial: a lot Norman French words were imported into English, but it didn’t affect the underlying structure of English at all. It came from the nobility speaking French, and then having words filter down to the Anglo-Saxon peasants. That isn’t the way creolization works. Creolization happens when a group of people are forced into a situation where they have to learn another language quickly, to the point that they only get end up getting the basics. It’s plausible something like that was happening with the Norse invaders. With the Normans, not so much.

  88. JohnSF says:

    Interesting; and I suppose it would fit with the wide view that the main dialectical ancestor of later standard English was East Midlands Anglian.

    But OTOH how would it account for the spread of the Norse-creolized variant as the dominant from into the region largely unaffected by Norse i.e. Wessex, West Mercia and the north-Northumbrian ancestor of Scots?
    (actually another linguistic question: why was Scots so relatively similar to “English English” and so little affected by north Welsh/Gaelic/Pictish?)

    If I were to bet, I’d guess that the “creole” version arose among the Normans (and other francophone settlers) then became a more socially “prestigous” mode of speech among the general population.

    May have to schedule some reading time on this subject.

  89. JohnSF says:

    Another thought:
    The possible differential effect of invaders/settlers relations with earlier previous inhabitants, specifically women.
    As the Anglo-Saxon migrants appear to have had a lot of family groups, the mother to child language transmission would have been primarily in the Old Englishes.

    But if Norse and Norman had more single males, as might be likely, then both likely to “recruit” English females. So both cases to see more English than Norse or Norman influence on young children; but also childrens (and mothers and fathers) needing to communicate. So simplified forms of English likely to predominate over multiple generations?