Monday’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. Sleeping Dog says:

    If I had read this article online, rather than sitting in my easy chair holding Sunday’s NYTs I would have believed someone hacked the Times website and linked to an Onion article.

    With all the problems with opening schools…

  2. Bill says:
  3. Bill says:
  4. Kathy says:


    I’ve no objection at all to putting Trump’s head on Mt. Rushmore. After all, it’s not like he has any use for his head right now. And it’s not like keeping tissues from rotting is a problem, see any biology lab in the world.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:


    Rather see his head on a spike.

  6. Teve says:
  7. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    How will they know if the kid is visible only from the waist up? Will they send bottom inspectors around to every household to check on how the students are clad?

  8. CSK says:

    There’s a good piece on “The Ravings of Mad King Trump” by Richard North Patterson at

  9. CSK says:

    Richard North Patterson has some wonderful names for Trump: “tangerine soothsayer” and “ersatz Nero.”

  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    I had that same thought as well, considering all the articles about professionals working from home that keep a dress shirt hung on the back of their chair. I’d guess they expect the parents to enforce it.

    Funny thing is, before the plague I would have lunch at a place that was frequented by high school kids over the lunch hour. In the cold weather I’d see at least one young gal wearing pj bottoms as outerwear. Go figure.

  11. sam says:


    Mar Largo is his Domus Aurea.

  12. CSK says:

    in Trump’s case, domus plated-aurea.

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I’d think p.j. bottoms wouldn’t provide much warmth, even the flannel ones. Must be a newish fashion statement.

    When I work at home, I don’t even bother to change out of my nightclothes.

  13. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, at this point when I am joining a meeting virtually I wear either a nice solid polo shirt or a dress shirt, with shorts. When I go into the office or the factory, I dress as I would have beforehand (dress shirt, slacks and shoes) despite the fact that I only see a few people face to face.

  14. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog: pajama pants are comfortable.

    At this point, when I take my daily walk for my sciatica, I wear pajama pants. I have reached the IDGAF point of old-age, and I’m not even 50 yet. (Or maybe it’s N-dimensional chess, dressing like a crazy person so people will stay away during a pandemic… I should start talking to myself, but I fear that if I start I will never stop)

  15. sam says:


    I had a case of sciatica a number of years ago, and the only thing that gave me any relief was black coffee. Well, of course, it was the caffeine (so I started taking caffeine pills). I really didn’t sleep much for six weeks, but the sciatica did finally go away. There are conflicting opinions, but the caffeine did work for me when nothing else would.

  16. ImProPer says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Dress codes amust be strictly enforced. Non-compliant students, can heaven forbid, turn into non-compliant adults! Next thing you know, they might start learning and asking questions! 2020 has a rough year for apple carts.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:
  18. Mister Bluster says:

    Take a razor knife and cut a slit from your heel all the way to the top of your butt cheek.
    Then take a saltshaker and salt down that open wound.
    For good measure take a flaming torch and melt all that salt up and down your leg.
    Sciatica. There you have it…
    Every day for about a week.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Mister Bluster: Had sciatica on and off for years. Never as painful as you describe, but loss of control of the leg and an ache that felt like every muscle in the leg and hip was fighting to move it a different direction. Maybe fifteen years ago I had an orthopedic surgeon tell me I’d never raise my right arm above level again unless he fused a couple vertebrae. I opted for a second opinion and my shoulder recovered nicely with time and therapy. But I’ve always been grateful to the guy for giving me a healthy distrust of doctors, especially orthopedists.

    About three years ago I threw my back out big time. That was mostly a cyst, which went away with time. But the back specialist put me in therapy and eventually I lucked out and fell into the hands of a PhD in physical therapy. After I moved, a D-PT. They put me on stretches and exercise. Saw improvement in the sciatica after a couple months, played tennis after six. Now I have more sensation in the bottom of my feet than I remembered was possible. Haven’t had even a twinge of sciatica in many months.

    I bailed on the gym in April, but the D-PT gave me a home routine. If you have back problems that aren’t the result of trauma, talk to the most thoroughly trained physical therapist you can find.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    @sam: God, I wish it only lasted 6 weeks. I gave my back a twinge mid-December and by late January I was having trouble getting in and out of the bed due to pain, and stairs made me gasp with each step. It has very, very gradually gotten better and at this point I would say that most of the time there isn’t any pain, and sometimes even no discomfort.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: That’s a pretty good description…

    And there are people who believe in Intelligent Design!

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    The landline telephone job that I was working when sciatica afflicted me required me to walk all day long. I was locating buried telephone cable. Swing the wand back and forth to pinpoint the cable and spot the earth with orange paint. We were shorthanded so I was only able to take time off to go to the clinic and get back to work. The doctor gave me muscle relaxers (I think that’s what they were) in any event they worked.
    I had been drinking so much coffee while I was doing that job all day long before the sciatica attack that if caffine was a remedy for me I might not have required the pharmaceuticals.
    I limped and stumbled along all week and my productivity dropped by about 30%.
    When the pain finally subsided it was gone. That was maybe 12 years ago.
    It has never returned.
    For which I am grateful.

  23. KM says:

    RE: Trump’s grandiose dreams

    Kennedy isn’t on Rushmore. FDR is not on Rushmore. Not even the previous conservative God Reagan graces its visage.

    It’s the height of arrogance for a still alive POTUS to think they should get even think of having their face upon the mountain. When people talk about Cult45, this is exactly the kind of BS we mean. This isn’t a political thing since while the idea’s been bounced around the echo chamber for a while for St. Ronnie, no WH has ever actively tried to see if they could do it let alone for the guy currently in the Oval Office. This is straight up cult of personality brainwashing – that His Badly-Applied Bronzedness deserves an extremely rare honor granted to dead Presidents of near universal renown while he still taints DC. Maybe it’s ego-pandering to Trump but things like this have a tendency to take on life of their own. Add in paranoid QAnon idiots and an attempt at asskissing can end badly for a national treasure….

  24. JohnMcC says:

    @MarkedMan: If mammalian life were “designed” not one example of the order would breath through the hole they eat through. “Intelligent” design indeed!

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Only read the fragmental headline for the link, (don’t have any NYT articles left this month) but if I understand the headline, what you were seeing is not all that unusual. The districts I substitute teach in both have pajamas days several times a term and the homeless kids (roughly 10% of the student population 🙁 ) frequently wear fleece everything and carry blankets that they wear like capes.

    Making America Great Again

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill: I had this added late to yesterday’s forum but it got caught in moderation somehow. I’m not sure that I see that Trump can be added because it appears that both areas adjacent to the current sculptures have signfificant faults that would make adding new faces problematical. Here’s the picture.

    I understand that there’s an available sculpture facing on Mount Q/z,m/gfxz,./k on the planet Zoltar. He may want to check there.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Now I wish I had an article available. This sounds amazing. 🙁 A dress code for online meetings? REALLY?????

  28. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    No, not a pj day. This district is attempting to impose a dress code/activity code during remote learning. For instance, no pj’s, no slippers etc. the kid can’t work in bed or in a comfortable chair, they must be at a desk or table. And the parent is expected to enforce this.

    If I were a school official, I’d be happy if the kids were showing up online, participating and completing their assignments.

  29. flat earth luddite says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    This retiree has taken a p/t job @ local branch of a national office supply chain. Since February, there’s been a steady stream on a daily basis, as follows:
    1. The office/home school set-up consists of the kitchen table for most. Dining room table for the more upscale.
    2. The kitchen table sucks for sitting at for 8 hours. Ditto chairs. Triple ditto for sharing with the kids.
    3. Ok, Mr. (pause to look at nametag) Luddite, I need a decent chair. And a cheap/rta desk I can wedge in a corner somewhere.
    4. Hi, Mr. Luddite, I’m back. The kids are driving me nuts. I need a small desk I can wedge in their bedroom/garage/back patio. And noise cancelling headset. With a mic.
    5. (Next day) Oh, Mr. Luddite, I need a monitor. No, two. And a decent keyboard. Got any webcams? No? How do I make my cell phone work as a webcam?
    6. Oh hi, Flat. Yep, we’re back, the kid needs a better computer than the school has assigned. Whatcha got in stock? Amazon’s got a 6 week wait.
    7. Hi, Flat, I brought you a coffee. Good to see you again. The kid needs everything on this list. I need a couple of reams of paper, and do you have any webcams in yet? How about hand sanitizer?
    This is repeated 10-15 times a day every 4 hour shift I work (usually closing, 4-9 pm), since MARCH. FYI, we finally got webcams in last week. Just like Amazonia, we’ve been sold out of them since March. I know Brand A’s been out, because they come here after waiting weeks for an out of stock item.
    And btw, PJ pants have been a fashion statement since before I started chemo in 2011.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    Right wing populists like Josh Hawley claim they want to help blue collar workers…perhaps someone can explain how that can happen without labor unions…I realize that the right wing often traffics in magical thinking, but really…

  31. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: My PT also has a doctorate, and he was pretty great first at fixing my shoulder (too many years of bad posture, plus RSI from banjo), then shifting to my lowers back after I threw that out, and then when I could walk without pain again back to a program for the shoulder and the back.

    I stopped going when Covid began appearing — he also works in retirement homes, so seems like a really bad risk — but I’m back to 90%, which is better than I was expecting.

    I have to prioritize doing my exercises though, or I slide back. And I half expect to have to do different exercises in two years to fix doing these ones for too long.

    I should see if they have video appointments — probably not as effective, but correcting form, etc. Well, first I should clean my house so I’m less ashamed, then I should check for video appointments.

  32. JohnMcC says:

    @Gustopher: The PhD is ‘entry to practice’ for actual Physical Therapists now-a-days. And if it were generally known how effective their prescribed therapies are, orthopedists would suffer a severe loss of business. Of course, there is a basic American belief (hope?) that a ‘magic bullet’ is what solves all problems and orthopedists know that; ‘just let me bolt a little piece of steel onto the living bone of your vertebrae and you’ll never have any more problems’. Real P.T. is a long term daily regimen. Very few of our peers want anything like that.

  33. Gustopher says:

    This all reminds me of my advice to young professionals in the software industry — just go to a physical therapist right now.

    No one ever thinks I’m serious.

  34. sam says:
  35. Grewgills says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    End of year last school year, I had 85-90% attendance and close to that for our (admittedly light) assignments. Forcing a dress code would have probably cut that considerably. Many of the kids were still in bed for the first meeting of the day and were still in pj pants. I did require they at least wear a shirt in addition to the pj pants. The girls were all appropriately dressed for all of our meetings.

  36. gVOR08 says:

    @sam: Very nice interlude. Years ago I heard a public radio announcer use the line that if God wanted to speak to man, he’d use the music of Bach, but if God wanted to listen to music, it would be Boccherini. (You know, it’s hard to type to a fandango rhythm.)

  37. Teve says:


    “The closest thing is in 1917, they say, the great pandemic certainly was a terrible thing, where they lost anywhere from 50 to 100 million people. Probably ended the second World War — all the soldiers were sick.”

    That can’t be real.

  38. An Interested Party says:

    That can’t be real.

    Remember, a lot of people who revere this bozo think that the current pandemic is a fabricated liberal plot to destroy him…many also probably believe that Noah put dinosaurs on the ark…

  39. Sleeping Dog says:


    The girls were all appropriately dressed for all of our meetings.

    Modesty and dressing for the other girls.

  40. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    If I were a school official, I’d be happy if the kids were showing up online, participating and completing their assignments.

    Me too, but as the guest teacher, I’m grateful that students are showing up and participating to begin with–leaving online out of the equation altogether.

    Completing the assignment is beyond my pay scale, so the students are free to pursue their own destinies on that.

  41. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Adult male shot outside white house by secret service. Trump temporarily scuttled out of press conference by secret service. Individual transported to hospital with life threatening wound.

    Likely not news from now, but 50 years from now when people review OTB to understand those that were not trumpists (likely doing their doctorate), they will know it occurred.

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Grewgills: I suspect that I would have simply noted any dress codes the school was hoping for and then go on to remind my students that it might be unwise to wear anything that they didn’t want all their classmates to post screen shots of online. But…

  43. Grewgills says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    The shirtless boys and their friends would have turned that into a whole extra thing. Simply saying, “Xxxx, please put a shirt on.” worked well enough.

  44. Jax says:

    Anybody around here watch Umbrella Academy? It’s a nice distraction from the current apocalypse. 😉

  45. wr says:

    @Jax: If you liked The Umbrella Academy, you should definitely check out Amazon’s The Boys.