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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Covid messes with Texas:

    Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD

    Meantime, we hit another milestone yesterday, September 1: Number of Texans now hospitalized with COVID-19 has matched our previous peak from January. The difference this time: most of these new hospitalizations preventable through vaccination. Deaths climbing too…

    And the state GOP forms an alliance with Covid:

    your friend

    Sep 2
    Apparently in Texas now hospitals legally can’t forbid visitors on the covid ward amd it’s going great (from nursing subreddit) (with screenshot report of one such visit)(definitely, go read it)

    The stupid, it hurts.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ex-prosecutor indicted for allegedly shielding men in Ahmaud Arbery case

    What is reported seems a bit thin. IANAL but I have to think there is more evidence than just that.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Climate crisis likely creating extreme winter weather events, says report

    But scientists have long wrestled with the connection between the uptick in such severe winter weather events as powerful snowfalls and atypical cold snaps across the northern hemisphere, and accelerated Arctic warming, or Arctic amplification, one of the hallmarks of global warming.

    The new report, titled Linking Arctic variability and change with extreme winter weather in the United States, has helped to clarify that connection.

    Its authors argued that this type of Arctic change actually increased the chances of tightly spinning winds above the North Pole, known as the Arctic stratospheric polar vortex, being stretched and thus boosting the chances of extreme weather events in the US and beyond.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    New Zealand cinema’s expletive-laden voicemail gets rave reviews

    An employee of Movie Max Cinemas in the South Island port city of Timaru attempted to record a temporary closure voicemail while the region is in a level-3 lockdown, the country’s second-highest setting.

    But instead of erasing his first few failed attempts, he accidentally uploaded them all, complete with his frustrated outbursts between takes.

    The recording starts off well before it slides downhill: “Hello, and thank you for calling Movie Max Digital Cinemas, Timaru. We are currently closed until … ahh fuck you.”

    He begins again, starting well, before stumbling and saying “Oh for fuck’s sakes”.

    The third attempt ends with an exasperated “Oh fuck me”, before he finally nails it on his fourth try.

    Social media has been delighting in the mistake, with many people posting about its relatability during difficult times, and voicing their support for the employee.

    It sounds like me dealing with a phone menu.

  5. JohnMcC says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I ran across that subreddit screenshot regarding quarantines for covid patients in hospital setting being banned. Have not been able to verify it myself; would be grateful anyone can prove/disprove that story.

    Will also say, I read into the comments of that reddit. A claim is made that the Texas Board of Nrsg is banning nurses there from quitting their Texas hospital job to take a travel-nurse assignment (for $100K/13 weeks). Cannot verify this either.

  6. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I’ll have to agree. Based on what was presented in the piece, it’s very thin. Presumably (hopefully) there is a good deal more that’s still within the confines of the grand jury.

  7. charon says:

    NEW RECORD HIGH #COVID19 cases in Florida children—and surging all while adult cases slowing. Rightwards arrowFor the first time, incidence in age <12 now **exceed adults**! However, FL only reports once/week—no update until Friday—We need daily data

    BREAKING—Pediatric #COVID19 hospitalizations surging in Florida, now ~4x previous levels. New analysis from our team of HHS hospitalization data shows that as pediatric hospitalizations surge, adult hospitalizations are slowing, but remain at record high.

  8. JohnSF says:

    Posted this at the end of yesterdays forum, reposting here as I think it does make a significant point:
    I’m not talking about the “security contractors” = mercenaries like Blackwater or the even nastier Russian Wagner Group.
    I’m talking about aircraft mechanics, IT support, logistic systems specialists, weapon systems integration etc etc etc.
    All the stuff needed to field a military at post-First World War levels of technology.
    Both US and European states use them to support allies/clients, albeit Europeans on nowhere near the scale of the US.

    But check out who supports the Omani and other Gulf militaries some time. You think those Saudi Typhoons and Tornadoes, Hawks and Eurocopters, Saabs and Mirages maintain themselves? Same for UAE etc.

    Combat mercs are whole different thing, and a lot more nasty trouble than they’re worth IMO.

  9. JohnSF says:

    Re money spent on military contractors etc:

    they use that money to provide their citizens with health care.

    It’s often forgotten that from the 1940’s to the 1980’s European states quite often ran defence spending at north of 5% GDP, funded welfare and health systems, and still had high levels of economic growth.

    The big downshift in military spending only came after the end of the Cold War, and in Germany largely, initially, because they were desperate to find the vast sums needed to fix East Germany.

    And also because of the desire for lower taxes: in UK in the early 1970’s the demands of defence and welfare required running taxes at basic income tax 35%, higher rate income tax 75%, investment income tax up to 90%, goods purchase tax 25%, etc..
    And other European countries had similar burdens.
    The burden were borne, but few people enjoy paying taxes.

    And it raises the question: what trade-offs re. taxes and defence spend might Americans consider to enable better health and welfare systems?

    Though of course, if you could make US healthcare more efficient, the savings in insurance and bill could well offset the tax, never mind the arguments of equality: but will that be politically sellable in the US?

  10. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    From the (significantly less than) sublime to the (truly) ridiculous: NOW, I have seen everything.An endowed head coaching position? And I thought the plea deal for Q-Shaman was going to be the weirdest thing today (not that I doubt that he’s “disturbed”–just didn’t think he’d go that way).

  11. Kathy says:


    My take is that for Republicans, concern for human life ends at birth.

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: “And it raises the question: what trade-offs re. taxes and defence spend might Americans consider to enable better health and welfare systems?”

    Health and welfare systems? The United States? Really? We’re living the Calvinist dream here–God reigns, and it shows in who has and who hasn’t. Just look around and you’ll see it. Health and welfare systems are for Godless Europeans.

  13. Scott says:

    Well, this is interesting.

    Bumble, Match Launch Funds To Cover Abortion Costs In Texas

    CEO Shar Dubey, whose Match Group Inc. operates, the largest dating site in the country, told employees Thursday in an internal memo that she has set up a fund for workers affected by the new legislation.

    The Dallas-based company’s fund will help cover costs for workers and their dependents who need to travel out-of-state in order to have an abortion, Dubey said in the memo first reported by Bloomberg.

    Austin-based Bumble, the second-most downloaded dating apps in the U.S., announced Wednesday it would launch a fund to support people trying to access abortion services in Texas.

    Bumble said that the company will lend its support in fighting Texas’ new abortion legislation, which it called “regressive” in a statement.

    Are these companies (or the people who work for them) subject to the private civil suits? Even if the abortions are performed out of state, can the suits be filed against Texas residents in state anyway. Since there is no penalty for the ones doing the filing, why not?

  14. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Are these companies (or the people who work for them) subject to the private civil suits?


  15. Mu Yixiao says:


    I’m betting that the two companies are doing this partly so that they will be sued. This gives them standing to challenge the law–which, I’m betting, will face some serious scrutiny in the courts when it’s actually “live” rather than just “on the books”.

  16. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Clever legal technique, that used by the TX legislature, to insulate the state in their desire to destroy abortion rights.
    Democratic legislatures should be thinking how to use that same technique to undermine firearms rights.
    Stay tuned

  17. JohnSF says:

    In highly significant international agricultural news, the first JohnSF sweetcorn cob of the year was harvested and ettted today.
    And very nice it was too.
    Slow to ripen this year; been a cool, cloudy late summer.

  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    I have an idea for Texas.

    There are evidently no penalties for filing frivolous snitch lawsuits under the new abortion law. So why don’t all the Democrats in Texas sue all the Republicans they can name, alleging abortion activity? It would paralyze the courts and make it impossible to carry out genuine prosecutions.

    @HarvardLaw92? Other lawyers?

  19. Kathy says:

    “Worth” is out today on Netflix, at least in Mexico. It’s about Kenneth Feinberg, I assume in his tenure as Special master of the 9/11 victim compensation fund.

    Micheal Lewis did an episode about him in the first season of his podcast Against the Rules.

  20. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Interesting thing is, a lot of Scots are Calvinists (Church of Scotland, plus the “Frees”) not to mention the Netherlands and parts of Switzerland. (Geneva being Calvinisms home town)
    Never hear of any complaints about the godlessness of public health from them.
    Christianity seems to have taken some peculiar turns in America.

  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I haven’t dug through the specifics about penalties, but I’ll assume they’re as you’ve advertised. In that instance, sure. Have a field day / light them up 🙂

  22. Mu Yixiao says:

    The World Health Organization is monitoring a new variant of COVID-19, dubbed the “mu” variant.

    I’m innocent! I didn’t do it! I’ve got an alibi!

  23. Mu Yixiao says:
  24. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I haven’t looked at the specifics of the law itself or TX procedure, but I’m sure they have something similar to IL Sup Ct Rule 137 that basically says you have to have a good faith basis for your suit and your not bringing it solely to harass the defendant.

    That being said, I’m sure there are ways around it.

  25. Joe says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I had a similar thought to Beth and suspect there would be more serious ramifications for actual attorneys filing these strike suits than non-attorneys. There may also be court filing fees to initiate the cases that would make filing “non-free” (even if a successful plaintiff could include these fees in the recovery).

  26. Kathy says:

    In a witch hunt, the accusation is taken as proof. Is this the case with the unconstitutional Texas law? Or does the plaintiff have to prove the claim as well?

  27. JohnMcC says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Headline in the afternoon edition of the Times: TikTok users and Coders Flood Texas Abortion Site with Fake Tips.

  28. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnSF: “Christianity seems to have taken some peculiar turns in America.”

    As a friend would say: ‘OH HONEY! You ain’t NEVAH LIED!’

  29. Stormy Dragon says:


    As the saying goes “the process is the punishment”. The plaintiff doesn’t have to have any connection to the alleged act, and the defendant can’t challenge jurisdiction or recover costs even if successful. So you can have some rando on the other side of the state and force you to hire a lawyer and drive back and forth for months to deal with it. So even if you ultimately prevail, you’ve incurred a huge penalty in time and money anyways.

  30. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I understand that. It’s a big part that makes this law patently unconstitutional.

    But if the plaintiff has to prove the claim, then that’s going to be very difficult. How do you prove not when someone found out she’s pregnant, but when the actual conception took place?

    Point being there’s no way for a plaintiff to win the bounty if they don’t have reasonable proof.

  31. Scott says:

    @Mu Yixiao: About 4-5 months ago, a peacock showed up in our neighborhood (probably migrated up one of the greenbelts from downtown San Antonio where there are a couple of flocks.

    It has become quite thepopular neighborhood pet. Much more accepted than the raccoons, skunks, armadillos, and coyotes that are usually around.

  32. JDM says:

    @Michael Reynolds: My thoughts exactly. I would especially include their teenage daughters.

    Also, we need some folks to “leak” the healthcare records of all the Republican women and teenagers who have had abortions. You can’t have it both ways, honey.

  33. Mikey says:

    My wife and I went to a theater to see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, our first time in a theater in a year and a half. The theater was mostly empty and we had plenty of space around us. Probably helped that we went to an early afternoon showing.

    The movie was fantastic, IMO one of the best of the Marvel universe. Definitely recommended.

  34. Mu Yixiao says:


    Going back to our conversation from a few days ago regarding sleep:

    The nights here have started dropping into the mid 50s. I’m now using the window fan instead of the AC.

    Now, I’ll wake up an hour or so after I fall asleep to go to the bathroom. Then I’ll sleep for a glorious 5-6 hours in a cold room with a soft sheet, fluffy blanket, and heavy afghan on me. Then I wake up around 03:00 because my bladder can’t be ignored.

    At this point I could (and should) get up and start my day. But… damn that bed is comfy with the cold air and the warm blankets.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Christianity seems to have taken some peculiar turns in America.

    Indeed! I think the turns emerge from some notion of certain racial or ethnic groups being destined by God to serve others or having been cursed by God with inferiorities compared to other groups. I’ve lost track of how such ideas evolved though.

  36. sam says:


    Christianity seems to have taken some peculiar turns in America.

    Nobody has described this better than Flannery O’Connor. See, Wise Blood.

  37. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Since I live here in Texas, I wanted to find out whether or not the premise (the State had declared it illegal for hospitals to deny visitations) was accurate.

    Assuming that the original poster was being accurate about the goings on in that hospital, I’ve dug around a bit and I can’t find any evidence that it is the State that is mandating it.

    Abbott / Paxton / Patrick / Cruz have done so many truly awful things in their political careers, I just want to make sure that I’m staying outraged at all the shit they’re actually doing, not awful stuff that might not be their fault. Heh.

  38. sam says:


    “Clever legal technique, that used by the TX legislature, to insulate the state in their desire to destroy abortion rights.”

    I wonder about that, since successful antiabortion litigants will have their legal fees paid for by the state and receive a $10,000 reward. This seems to establish a nexus between the litigation and the state. Perhaps one of the lawyers here could weigh in.

  39. HarvardLaw92 says:


    The fees and damage awards aren’t paid by the state. They’re assessed against the sued party if that party loses.

  40. Teve says:

    @sam: and it’s no less than $10k. A judge could fine you any amount over that.

  41. sam says:

    Ah, thanks for the clarifications.