Independence Day Forum

Happy 4th!

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:

    Researchers found an estimated 1,210 maternal deaths in 2019, compared with 505 in 1999, according to a study published in Jama.

    The toll was not distributed equally, with some racial and ethnic groups faring worse than others. While Black mothers died at the nation’s highest rates, the greatest increases over time were seen among Native American and Alaska Native women, the researchers said.

    “It’s a call to action to all of us to understand the root causes – to understand that some of it is about healthcare and access to healthcare, but a lot of it is about structural racism and the policies and procedures and things that we have in place that may keep people from being healthy,” said Dr Allison Bryant, one of the study’s authors and a senior medical director for health equity at Mass General Brigham.
    Overall, they found rampant, widening disparities. Southern states had high maternal mortality rates across all race and ethnicity groups, but especially for Black individuals, while midwest and great plains states had the highest rates for Native American and Alaska Native women.

    The study showed high rates of maternal mortality aren’t confined to the south but also extend to regions like the midwest and states such as Wyoming and Montana, which had high rates for multiple racial and ethnic groups in 2019.

    But focusing more resources on minority women would be a violation of the rights of white women, right Justice Roberts?

    Maddox pointed to how, compared with other wealthy nations, the US underinvests in things like social services, primary care and mental health.


  2. Sleeping Dog says:

    Oh, the leopards are eating my face!

    I don’t feel bad for them at all. But I will grant thoughts and prayers.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The 17 June groundbreaking of a future suburban neighborhood in Gastonia, North Carolina, had all the trappings of a campaign rally. Brock Fankhauser, the real estate developer of 1776 Gastonia, waved to onlookers from the open top of a sport-utility vehicle; his wife, Nicole, was by his side, wearing a cowboy hat and matching T-shirt with the development’s namesake year, referring to the American Revolution.

    Video footage of the event shows a crane dangling a giant US flag over the site where 43 lots are for sale. Parcels range from $17,500 to $75,000 for land, and homes cost $410,000 and up in this city 20 miles from Charlotte. A young girl rode a horse down a newly paved street flanked by American flags. She gripped the saddle with one hand; in the other, a giant flag. Her sandy blonde hair flowed in rhythm with the Stars and Stripes.

    There will be even more flags. This development, which the company has described as “where freedom lives”, is for homeowners 55 and older. And not just any homeowners: “patriots” who will be required to fly the US flag on their properties, on a pole provided and maintained by the subdivision. Each 1776 community (Fankhauser plans on more) will also donate a home with no mortgage, free of cost, to a wounded veteran through the nonprofit
    Building Homes for Heroes.

    Ah yes, nothing says freedom like being told you have to fly a flag. These people are a caricature.

  4. Jen says:


    These people are a caricature.

    Yep. That’s about the sum total of it.

    I suppose we can look forward to the newspaper articles about the fights over which American flag. The forced patriotism thing is weird.

  5. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Collaborators get what they deserve

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    via WaterGirl at BJ:

    Jack E. Smith ⚖️

    If you aren’t ROFLYAO after 30 seconds, you are broken.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    Every July 4th I remind myself that while America was founded as a country like any other, with geographic boundaries, it was also founded on ideals. One of them, that everyone is created equal, was so radical at the time that the founders could barely fathom the ramifications that would eventually emerge from that phrase. And so, probably not today amidst the crowds, but sometime this summer on one of my long walks to Fort McHenry I’ll go into the Fort itself and contemplate the improbability and, yes, the glory of the stand taken for both Americas, the geographical one and the one built on those ideals. The fort itself is the right place to contemplate that we outlasted the mightiest nation on earth at the height of its powers and never lost a single battle to its navy. We survived.

    Later on, I’ll take the train to the Smithsonian and stop by to see Old Glory itself, the actual star spangled banner, tattered and burnt in places but despite that it still flew on that morning. In my mind the injuries done to the flag represent the near fatal efforts of the revolutionaries and the generation that followed to safeguard the physical lands that make up the country. But it is left to the subsequent generations, ours included, to voluntarily take up the fight for the other America, the one of ideals. But unlike the Battle of Baltimore which tattered the flag, the battles for our ideals at Gettysburg and Selma and Stonewall reweave and restore that banner in our ceaseless attempt to reach those founding ideals.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    Meta is launching its twitter alternative this week and the ap is at the Ap Stores. As offensive is Meta is, I can see many twitter users finally leaving that platform for Meta as it provides the stability of a larger, mature platform without chaos of Musk’s twitter. Besides, if your a facebook/instagram/whatsap user Meta already has your data.

    Elon Musk Really Broke Twitter This Time

    His supporters are confused and, perhaps, starting to feel the cracks of cognitive dissonance. “Surely someone who can figure out how to build spaceships can figure out how to distinguish scrapers from legit users,” Graham—the same one who supported Musk in November—tweeted on Saturday. What reasonable answer could there be for an advertising company to drastically limit the time that potentially hundreds of millions of users can spend on its website? (Maybe this one: On Saturday, outside developers appeared to discover an unfixed bug in Twitter’s web app that was flooding the network’s own servers with self-requests, to the point that the platform couldn’t function—a problem likely compounded by Twitter’s skeleton crew of engineers. When I reached out for clarification, the company auto-responded with an email containing a poop emoji.)

  9. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Don’t really understand oldsters who want to be in 55 and older communities. My in-laws tried it in Florida and didn’t care for it (or the people) so they moved to NC and a real community. My wife and I have thought about where to go when we were free to go after retirement and decided to stay in place. One, near children and grandchildren but also participating in a neighborhood where young families are moving in and running around. Love it when the neighborhood kids can feel free to throw the football around our front yard.

    A young girl rode a horse down a newly paved street flanked by American flags.

    Neither the young girl nor the horse will be welcome (nor cars parked on the street). The customers are people who love American but can’t stand Americans.

  10. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    “Surely someone who can figure out how to build spaceships can figure out how to distinguish scrapers from legit users,”

    Yes, they can. From what I can recollect, it’s actually pretty straightforward. Also, how are these new? Scrapers have been around practically since Twitter was introduced. Everyone from social platforms to news organizations have managed to, well, manage them.

    It’s therefore FAR more likely that something else is going on–either the self-requests mentioned, or not paying the bills having ramifications, etc.

  11. Kathy says:

    “Surely someone who can figure out how to build spaceships can figure out how to distinguish scrapers from legit users,”

    I forget what this fallacy is called, but it is a fallacy.

    Unless you think accelerating Twitter to 11 km/s and lofting it past 100 kilometers high would help. Me, I don”t see how. But surely someone who can figure out how to build spaceships can figure out how that would help.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I rather suspect that if this dumbass carpenter can figure it out, I’m pretty sure musk can too because the solution is super simple: Hire people who know what they f they are doing. Of course, to do that musk has to override his enormous ego and I think that is a feat way beyond his capabilities.

  13. Stormy Dragon says:


    Also, Elmo can’t figure out how to build spaceships. He can just figure out how to buy up people who do and take credit for their work.

    He’s not an engineer. He’s a finance bro that likes to pretend he’s an engineer.

  14. CSK says:


    Sadly, Twitter won’t permit me access.

  15. Kathy says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I wonder. There are so many issues in the Starship launch design, that it must have been the Cisgender God Emperor’s own idea.

    The thing is he’s been successful with SpaceX and Tesla, two very different industries. So, he knows he has to get people who know what they’re doing, and he knows how to get them. Why hasn’t he done that at Twitter?

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hong Kong’s brash bid to catch overseas activists chafes against its claim to be open for business

    When principles clash with greed, some countries want to have it both ways but in the end, greed wins.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: That is truly sad because it is quite hilarious. I’m trying to figure out where it originated but of course, am having no luck.

    I don’t understand how it is that I am so far immune to musk’s depredations at twitter, but I know it can’t last. Sooner or later he’ll get around to me.

    I WON’T SURVIVE! IT’S CLASSIFIED — Trump Vs Jack Smith & his 37 Indictments — A Founders Sing Parody

  18. CSK says:


    Ha! I found a way in. Good one.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:


    There is speculation that Musk is really trying to drive twitter to bankruptcy so that he can renegotiate the terms of the loans. The risk for him would be that the court would appoint a special master to run the company, effectively freezing Musk out and/or the value of twitter is so low that it is just turned over to the creditors with Musk out and the loss of his investment.

  20. Beth says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Screw them. Auntie Caitlyn the most. She can choke.

  21. MarkedMan says:


    So, he knows he has to get people who know what they’re doing, and he knows how to get them.

    I suspect he has burned way too many bridges with the tech community and it may be impossible to get good people to work there any more. Honestly, why would anyone with options choose Twitter as an employer?

  22. DK says:

    @Kathy: Because at Twitter, Musk is heavily involved in making decisions a smarter and less egomaniacal man would know he shouldn’t be involved in. It appears he realized as much by stepping down as CEO and hiring a real executive — Linda Yaccarino. But he seems unable to give up full control to her team, for now.

    Tesla’s has been kept profitable at times solely because other companies had to buy carbon credits from Tesla, to offset their carbon footprint as required by law. In that sense, Musk was visionary is understanding more than others how to use the law to his advantage. But the outsized acclaim he gets for pushing EV growth probably belongs more to climate activists who pushed the government to create the carbon credits scheme, punishing companies that aren’t moving quickly enough to reduce emissions. Teslas are spurring innovation, buy they also have major growing pains around safety and build issues. I personally wouldn’t call Tesla an unmitigated success…yet.

    At Space X, my understanding is that Musk is almost totally hands-off now. Not a coincidence that it is the currently the most stable of the three.

    tl;dr: the Musk ventures that Musk meddles most in have the most muddled outcomes.

  23. MarkedMan says:

    A pop poll: 1) How many of you are currently not seeing Tweets? 2) Of those, how many will do anything about it?

    I’m locked out of seeing Tweets because although I have an account, I don’t log in and haven’t for years. My wife never had an account. For both of us the minor annoyance of our “Somewhat More Political” iPhone family and friends text group being overrun with “This is hysterical!” [dead link] is well worth not having Twitter in our lives.

  24. CSK says:


    I love the way Trump’s face was manipulated.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @DK: Yeah, whatever reputation Yaccarino had is being quickly eroded. My perception is she is being perceived as a fool for allowing herself to become Musk’s sock puppet.

  26. gVOR10 says:

    @DK: You make an excellent point. Tesla and Space X receive huge government purchases and subsidies. Twitter does not. Musk doesn’t seem to do well with actual laissez-faire. He is the very model of a modern libertarian. (Apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan.)

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I still can. I have an account but have never logged in. I go to various unsavories tweet streams* and read their tweets that way. I don’t know why I am special but I know musk will soon enough get around to me and whatever magic bullet I possess that allows me to do what I do.

    *you know, stonekettle, david simon, marcy wheeler, ron filpkowski, etc etc

  28. Beth says:


    1. Not seeing anything.
    2. Nothing.

  29. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: I cancelled my account back in Jan 2022, even before Musk bought it. No I have no access to tweets. However, if I click on an image and open in a new tab, I can access that. Apparently, the domain is not blocked. PBS stands for Photo Blobstore.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    My guess is that Elon is making a gamble that fewer but more “hooked” users will be a net positive. He’ll need fewer resources (servers, office space, programmers) to maintain them but get more dollars out of each one. On the other hand, I can’t think of a single large platform that has ever successfully pulled this off.

    When “Knives Out: Glass Onion” featured an obvious parody of Musk as one of the main characters, I thought it was over the top and detracted from the movie. Now I think the writers were tapped into a Silicon Valley “source of truth” that understood who Musk really was.

    It’s interesting to contrast Musk with Jobs. The co-founder of Apple wasn’t an engineer or a master marketer, he wasn’t a master finance man or an industrial designer. But the people he brought into the fold and empowered are legends in their own domains. Wozniak, Cook, Ives and a dozen others are famous on their own, and when Jobs (due to health) left the company he had built them to the point that Apple didn’t miss a beat. The technical press, investors, and even the greater Apple community, knew who all these people were through countless interviews given to all kinds of publications. Heck, the much parodied annual Apple announcement events led off with Jobs, but the head of each product line each had their turn on center stage, year after year, as did Johnny Ives (responsible for much of Apple’s industrial design). Even some of the technical people who were normally far far in the background get their day in the sun. Jobs demanded incredible amounts from them and had the reputation of being judgmental and harsh, but in the end he would walk off the stage and let the spotlight (literally) shine on them and give them a chance to show the world what their teams had developed.

    Quick, name a single person who gets that type of attention at any of Musk’s businesses, whose initials aren’t EM.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: BTW, Are you the same Scott who was commenting in the James’ reposted July 4th, 2006 thread?

  32. Scott says:

    @MarkedMan: Nope, totally different person. Apparently, he even had his own short lived blog:

  33. Kathy says:


    Purchases and subsidies are not the same thing. traditionally, the US government does not make the products it needs for its various functions*, and this is also the case in other countries. Instead it buys them from private contractors. So, the Defense Department does not make even bullets, much less aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines. NASA doesn’t make rocket or even rocket engines.

    A subsidy, in theory, is money given by the government to private business as an incentive for a commercial activity deemed to be desirable or valuable, but that is not economically viable.

    Now, the definition above is simplified and idealized. Subsidies, either direct or indirect (ie tax breaks) can also be used to lure a business to locate somewhere, or not to relocate elsewhere, or to help against foreign competition, or several other reasons.

    The thing is purchases and subsidies can get mixed up, too. NASA might pay SpaceX a reasonable fee for lofting a satellite or probe, for instance, and also give it a subsidy to develop Starship. Not to mention subsidies can be disguised as purchases, too. For example, NASA might award SpaceX a contract to build a Lunar lander, but give it an advance of several hundreds of millions years before any lander is available.

    I do get it that we seem to be looking at a world operating under this principle: For the rich, subsidies and government contracts. For everyone else, laissez-faire.

    *Nukes being one exception.

  34. Michael Cain says:


    The thing is he’s been successful with SpaceX and Tesla, two very different industries. So, he knows he has to get people who know what they’re doing, and he knows how to get them. Why hasn’t he done that at Twitter?

    He got into Tesla and SpaceX while they were very small, and a similarly small number of people could effect large changes (see, eg, Gwynn Shotwell at SpaceX). Twitter was a large established company when he bought it, with a full-blown product, workforce, and practices.

  35. Michael Cain says:


    Quick, name a single person who gets that type of attention at any of Musk’s businesses, whose initials aren’t EM.

    Within the launch industry, Gwynn Shotwell.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Only linked to tweets here. Stopped being able to see them a few days back and now have stopped trying to.

  37. MarkedMan says:
  38. JohnSF says:

    Happy Independence Day, rebels!

  39. CSK says:


    It has always astonished me that a ragtag bunch of farmers could defeat the world’s greatest fighting force.

  40. JohnSF says:

    Oh, we blame the French.

  41. CSK says:


    Of course you do. Who else?

  42. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Cracker and I were noting that things are unusually quiet here in our necks of the woods today. Very few fireworks (tempting fate here), and none of my neighbors have brought out the incendiaries or their SKS’s.

    A large part may be the very dry conditions, and lots of fire warnings. Here in Puddletown it’s 93F, 18% humidity, and an east wind funneling dry hot air into the valley at 3:30 pm*. Gonna be a few more days before we get something of a break. Reminds me what I disliked about haying season.

    *FYI, at 15 minutes ago (7:30 am local), Seoul reported 74F, 88% humidity, and an expected high of only 85.

  43. Kathy says:


    The Spaniards.

  44. Mister Bluster says:

    @JohnSF:..Happy Independence Day, rebels!

    May King George III spin in his grave!

  45. CSK says:


    Oh, I know. But the British have always considered the French as enemies.

  46. Kathy says:


    Spain gets ignored a lot by everyone. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, it was the preeminent power in the Western hemisphere, and had interests in Asia as well. Then there was that entanglement with Charles V/Charles I Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain. That was big enough to name a candy bar company after him in Mexico centuries later.

    Oh, and the Spanish Armada, too.

  47. CSK says:


    I know that, too. Spain was a mighty force.

  48. JohnSF says:


    Who else?

    The Dutch.
    A sneaky bunch, if you ask me. 🙂
    Fourth Anglo-Dutch War 1780–1784

    In the War of 1812 Spain switched sides, so there’s that.