Friday’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. Scott says:

    The entire Trump Administration is a superspreader event and a disease vector:

    Statement by Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Rath Hoffman on Lithuanian Defence Minister Visit and Subsequent COVID Diagnoses

    The department was made aware by the Lithuanian Embassy today that Lithuanian Minister of Defence Raimundas Karoblis has tested positive for COVID-19. Minister Karoblis visited the Pentagon on Nov. 13, 2020, where he met with multiple senior leaders, including Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller. On that day he also met with the Secretaries of the Army and Air Force, and Anthony Tata, Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. On Monday, November 16, the minister met with the Secretary of the Navy. All have been tested since their meetings. As a result of the embassy notification, Mr. Tata was tested today and has tested positive for COVID-19 on two successive tests. He will isolate at home for the next 14 days in accordance with Center for Disease Control protocols.

  2. Scott says:

    See the photo at the link. That would have scared me also.

    Florida beachgoers call 911 after stumbling upon bizarre sight: ‘That would scare the hell out of me

    A volunteer for an environmental nonprofit was doing a cleanup on a beach in Perdido Key, Fla., when she thought she saw a dead body.

    The volunteer, named Kathleen, reported the incident to Ocean Hour, the nonprofit where she was a volunteer. Kathleen told the group she believed she was looking at a decapitated body, and someone nearby apparently called 911.

    Fortunately for everyone, it turned out to be a store mannequin covered in barnacles.

  3. CSK says:

    Pfizer is requesting emergency use authorization from the FDA for its vaccine.

  4. Teve says:

    These idiots who are claiming COVID is a hoax while they’re being put on ventilators. What do you do?

  5. Kathy says:

    On positive news for a change, Mexico’s Senate approved a bill to partially legalize marijuana for recreational, medical, and industrial use.

    It now goes to the chamber of deputies (equivalent to the House), where hopefully it will pass as well.

  6. CSK says:

    I know you’re interested in aviation, so I thought I’d mention that I just watched a few videos of the Antonov An-225 landing in Anchorage. Yowza. That is one big baby. Six engines.

  7. Kathy says:


    Oh, it’s something, all right. Notice the number of wheels in the landing gear. It’s ridiculous 🙂

    Only one was ever built. There’s another one half-built, but finishing it has proven elusive.

  8. CSK says:

    I did notice the number of wheels in the rear landing gear. I assume that’s to carry/balance the huge weight of the plane plus cargo. I read a bit about the history. Interesting how it was mothballed for so long.

  9. sam says:

    What’s the Russian for Spruce Goose?

  10. Mu Yixiao says:

    In the spirit of bi-partisanship:

    1/3 of Cincinnati City Council arrested for bribery (2D/1R)

  11. CSK says:

    Yelovyy gus’.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I used to live in Cincy. The arrested city councilman was the son of a financial advisor we used briefly. We didn’t vote for the kid. Figured the acorn falls close to the tree and bis father turned out to be a lying POS.

  13. Kurtz says:


    A financial advisor and a lying POS? Say it ain’t so. First time for everything, I guess.


  14. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: The multiple wheels are largely a function of limiting contact pressure on the runway. At max weight an AN-225 weighs something like 16 times what an American 18 wheeler truck weighs. Also the AN-225 uses what’s become pretty much the usual configuration for cargo planes. The landing gear is in sponsons on the lower sides of the fuselage. A lot of little wheels makes a sponson with less frontal area than one with fewer bigger wheels. It also allows the floor structure to be lighter by distributing the landing gear loads.

  15. CSK says:

    Thanks; that was interesting.

  16. dazedandconfused says:


    Airports have to consider the same things road-builders do when looking at heavy trucks. Spreading the load over several axles increases the chance an airport will allow super-heavy ops.

    I found some pavement info on runways.

    Note that even getting to the 737 range requires a discussion involving 11″ thick concrete. They have to consider much more than total weight. A hard landing can result in several x that force applied to the runway.

  17. Kathy says:


    I think most airports charge landing fees by tonnage for that reason. Heavier planes wear out the runways faster.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    Leaving airplanes and going back to Open Forum, in the past, in discussions of police reform, I’ve commented that we long ago told the police their job was to control the lower orders, and as a society we’ve never told them different. Simon Balto has a piece up at LGM on exactly that.

    This history poses a fundamental challenge for anyone advocating police reform, because it forces the question of what such advocates hope to reform police into. If the reformers’ vision is one of restoration—of bringing police back into alignment with a mission from which they’ve strayed—they misunderstand the foundational premise of US policing. Indeed, if one of the primary problems with policing in 2020 is that those who bear its greatest burdens are Black, Latinx, Native, immigrant, and poor communities, a fair argument can be made that, in fact, the system operates more or less as designed. American police have always targeted specific groups for surveillance, control, and punishment, even as those targeted have varied and shifted over time. (The CPD’s early focus on European immigrants, for instance, gave way to a heavily discriminatory focus on African Americans when Black Southerners began moving there en masse in the early and mid-20th century.) What would reform look like if the institution itself is the problem?

    My local police have as a motto “To provide a Safe Community” which bothers me as it kind of hearkens back to keeping “those people” in line. We need to find ways, as a society, to tell the police that “To Protect and to Serve” means everybody. I read that police shootings are down of late, so maybe BLM protests are doing some good.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @dazedandconfused: And back on airplanes, I had nothing to do with it, but the company I retired from made, amongst other things, helicopter landing pads. Their structural specs were based on a helicopter of a specified size crashing at a specified downward velocity.

  20. CSK says:

    Rick Scott has tested positive for coronavirus.

  21. dazedandconfused says:


    Some landings are better than others…

  22. just nutha says:

    @Teve: Find a better use for the ventilator in question?

  23. Kathy says:


    I was hoping for a big fireball…

    I’ve had two scary landings. One was in Toluca on Interjet, around 2011. Toluca is a city near Mexico city, capital of the State of Mexico, which sits even at a higher altitude. Fog and low cloud ceilings are common.

    On this landing the plane entered a cloud during descent, and stayed within clouds for an awful long time. When we finally broke through, the ground seemed to be way too close to the plane. I know it wasn’t, but we landed very shortly after. Radar or no radar, pilots have to have the runway in view before committing to land. I’m sure this was a violation of that rule.

    The other was in 2010 in Vegas on Mexicana (may it rest in peace). There had been a lot of turbulence throughout the flight, so I was a bit on edge. I know turbulence is usually not dangerous, but it is unnerving all the same, especially when it persists until shortly before landing.

    Close to touch down, I swear I saw the turf parallel to the runway at a slight angle. Upon touching down, I felt the plane jerk to one side, then run straight on the runway while slowing down.

    That was a crosswind landing, which requires to drift laterally on approach to the runway. It’s not routine at all, but it’s common and pilots train for such things. Look up “crosswind landing” in YouTube for examples. they look far more terrifying than they really are.

  24. Loviatar says:

    Just do your DAMM job Administrator Murphy

    Day after day,@GSAMurphy , a loyal R, weighs her options but declines to say what fact or development she is waiting for. She has told agencies this first step in the transfer of power may be weeks away.

    I’m sure James Joyner is shocked, shocked to realize Administrator Murphy is a loyal Republican.

  25. Sleeping Dog says:


    An allegory of his reelection campaign.

  26. Sleeping Dog says:

    Ezra Klein is leaving Vox for the NY Times

    The other day I followed a link to Matthew Yglesias new blog and after reading that piece, saw a link to another of his articles on what’s wrong with journalism. Among other things he mentioned that the Times and WaPo are hiring the best independent journalists, effectively strip mining alternative media.

  27. Matt says:

    @Kathy: Back in the late 90s I experienced my most “interesting” landing when I flew into Madrid. The ride down was bumpy but the real fun came at the last moment when we landed on one wing gear then bounced to the opposite wing gear back to the staring wing gear. There was a bit of a cycle before it finally settled down and once the plane started braking the cabin erupted in applause. The whole thing was surreal and my spanish was too poor to understand fully what was going on. I’m just glad I haven’t had any more landings where the passengers erupt in applause after confirming our safety…

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: Indeed, if one of the primary problems with policing in 2020 is that those who bear its greatest burdens are Black, Latinx, Native, immigrant, and poor communities, a fair argument can be made that, in fact, the system operates more or less as designed.

    And then certain people denigrate the “defund the police” slogan as being “totally naive” and out of touch with reality and say “No no, we need police.”. So, who is naive and who has faced reality?

  29. Monala says:

    Ben Carson today:

    Thank you everyone for your support and prayers as Candy and I battled COVID-19. I was extremely sick and initially took Oleander 4X with dramatic improvement. However, I have several co-morbidities and after a brief period when I only experienced minor discomfort, the symptoms accelerated and I became desperately ill. President Trump was following my condition and cleared me for the monoclonal antibody therapy that he had previously received, which I am convinced saved my life.

    President Trump, the fabulous White House medical team, and the phenomenal doctors at Walter Reed have been paying very close attention to my health and I do believe I am out of the woods at this point. I am hopeful that we can stop playing politics with medicine and instead combine our efforts and goodwill for the good of all people. While I am blessed to have the best medical care in the world (and I am convinced it saved my life), we must prioritize getting comparable treatments and care to everyone as soon as possible.

    So he took the MyPillow guy’s unproven remedy made from an extremely toxic plant, got better at first, then got much worse. Then he got to take the monoclonal antibodies most ordinary Covid patients can’t get.

  30. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I think the issue is that most [white] people think they need police, and the idea of being without them is scary. That, plus police are regularly portrayed as heroes in TV and movies. So “defunding the police” sounds scary, like it’s opening us up for violent anarchy.

    But most [white] people don’t interact with police, apart from occasional, usually benign traffic stops. People who do regularly interact with them, including many white folks, often find that they are unhelpful or worse, much worse. They often accuse, threaten, and disbelieve victims, if they are responsive at all.

    That’s why I like the alternative saying, “Re-imagine public safety,” because it helps people understand that public safety is the goal, but we need different ways to get there. However, those different ways will need to be clearly detailed and funded.

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Monala: No offense, but “Re-imagine public safety,” sounds so anodyne, so safe. so… I’m sorry, “white”, I want to puke. Mind you, I can see myself saying it 15 years ago.

    So I ask again, if “defund the police” is unacceptable, (and ftr, I know we need police)(and if you knew the shit I’d seen and been thru, you’d know I do), and “reforming the police” has been a repeated failure, time after nauseated time again…

    What is the solution? Because Balto encapsulated the problem perfectly.

  32. CSK says:

    Don Junior has tested positive for Covid-19.

  33. Kathy says:


    It seems like Hubris is a major risk factor for COVID-19.

  34. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I would have went with either De-scope or Re-scope the Police….

  35. CSK says:

    The Trumps are beginning to remind me of the Kennedys in this respect: the belief that nothing bad can happen to them, despite all evidence to the contrary.

  36. Monala says:


    No offense, but “Re-imagine public safety,” sounds so anodyne, so safe. so… I’m sorry, “white”, I want to puke.

    Ok, I laughed at that! You have a point…

  37. DrDaveT says:


    What is the solution?

    Demilitarize the police?

    The citizens are not the enemy?

    Hold police accountable?

    It’s still a crime when police do it?

    If you need to shoot first, maybe you shouldn’t be a cop?

    That last one is the key — if you can undo the judicial top-cover that forgives cops any crime if they were frightened, the problem solves itself after a few murderous cops go to jail for it. My economist colleagues insist that you get whatever behavior you incentivize, and they’re usually right.

  38. Northerner says:


    That sounds about right. The rate of black and indigenous people being killed by police is about 3 times higher than the rate of whites. But the rate of poor people of all races being killed by police is at least an order of magnitude higher than the rate of rich people being killed by police.

    About 7% of Americans are millionaires. That suggests, if they were being killed at the average rate by police, that 70 of the roughly 1000 killed every year would be millionaires. I couldn’t find the statistic, but I’d be very surprised if even 7 millionaires were killed by police every year on average (ie one tenth of their percentage of the population).

    The police have always been there primarily to keep the poor in their place.

  39. gVOR08 says:

    @Northerner: I linked to an LGM post. The writer has a follow up post linking to a Rolling Stone piece on the Chicago PD that is just horrifying.

    In 2012 Camden NJ decided their police department was so far past reform that they shut it down. They didn’t defund, they started a new, clean sheet, department.

  40. dazedandconfused says:


    I am impressed by the effort that went into creating that fight-sim tape. Even had cop cars and helicopters.

    Yes. Max demonstrated crosswind is in every airplane operating handbook. However sometimes you still have to land in more than that so you have to be ready. Just can’t legally take off for a destination reporting more than that. Winds aren’t are bit un-predictable.

    Before I went in the service I tried to become a pilot. In two years I was a flight instructor, single and mult-engine land. I dropped out because my eyesight dropped to 20-40 uncorrected, and all the airlines were insisting on 20-20 uncorrected at the time. Should have stuck with it because when the glut of ex-mil guys petered out they loosened up on that. It was just the way they preformed ap-stack triage, there is no federal regulation stipulating 20-20. And in fact if you got on and later needed corrective lenses you weren’t let go. By that time they had a heck of a lot invested in your training, after all.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “Rebuild The Police.”There’s a quiet, “from the ground up” that goes along with it, which can be mentioned with receptive audiences.

    It has a bit of the “not meaning what it clearly means” that so many Republican programs do, like “entitlement reform”… And that clearly lets the mushy middle not object. It sounds like you want to make the police stronger, and sort of we do, but we also want to reign them in and only have them do the jobs we need armed jackbooted thugs for, letting social workers do the others.