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. MarkedMan says:

    For those who are still under the impression that Joe Manchin is motivated by some sort of innate conservatism, either his own or that of his constituents, yesterday’s news should put the lie to that. It turns out his price for supporting the overall bill is control over the part most important to his energy industry patrons: he gets to gut the parts dealing with climate change.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Aaron Rupar

    Gov. Tate Reeves of Mississippi on why his state government is willing to impose mandates for other vaccines but not Covid: “The question here is not about what we do in Mississippi, it’s about what this POTUS is trying to impose on the American worker.”

    Jake Tapper notes that Mississippi has the worst Covid death rate of any state, then tells Gov. Tate Reeves, “your way is failing.”
    Reeves doesn’t really take issue with that characterization.

    TAPPER: Governor, if Mississippi were a country, you would have the 2nd worst per capita death toll in the world. And I’m saying, are you going to do anything to try to change that?
    TATE REEVES: Deaths unfortunately are a lagging indicator

    Strange way to say, “No.”

  3. sam says:

    General Shoup was Commandant of the Marine Corps when I was in. Fierce opponent of our adventure in Vietnam. Medal of Honor, Tarawa.

  4. CSK says:

    Last night I dreamed that I went to a Walmart, and just inside the entrance,
    Leonard Nimoy was seated on a platform raised 10 feet
    off the ground playing an electric keyboard.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    Generally I agree with @Michael Reynolds rants on religion, though I believe he paints with too broad a brush and ignores activities on the part of the religious, that even heathen liberals can support, think the Catholic and Jewish social justice movements and Protestant equivalents.

    At the Dispatch, David French has an interesting post up where he states that Evangelical is no longer describes a religious tradition, but is now a political movement. The TL/DR is that the vast majority of those who claim to be Evangelicals hold beliefs and attitudes that are the antithesis of Christ’s teachings.

    Combine the huge, unchurched “Evangelical” mass with a potent neo-fundamentalist movement that is steeped in angry Christian nationalism, and politics and religion can easily become a God-and-country branding exercise. And in that effort, the actual Bible can be an obstacle, not an asset.
    The transformation of white Evangelicalism into a primarily political movement is a cause for deep and profound concern. It’s become a force that is helping fracture our nation and sicken its people, and its extreme elements have become instruments of cruelty and even violence.

    In the end, he attempts to see a silver lining in what he otherwise sees as a dangerous black cloud. Alas, that, I believe is wishful thinking.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    It’s become a force that is helping fracture our nation and sicken its people, and its extreme elements have become instruments of cruelty and even violence.

    Nobody expects the Inquisition!

    Some things never change. Not really.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    Interesting thought from an American perspective.

    Why the US should offer to buy France’s submarines for Vietnam

    The writer’s arguments from an American perspective are reasonable, but from Vietnam’s? The Vietnamese maybe frustrated and fearful of China’s intentions, but would they want to so blatantly poke them?

  8. Mikey says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    At the Dispatch, David French has an interesting post up where he states that Evangelical is no longer describes a religious tradition, but is now a political movement.

    “Now?” What rock has he been living under for the last 30 years?

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: but would they want to so blatantly poke them?

    They’ve done it before. (which isn’t to say they want to here)

  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yeah, I know that Vietnam is a terrier of a nation and that they have bloodied the Chinese several times over the centuries, but China is far more formidable both economically and militarily than they’ve been in those centuries.

    Another way for the Vietnamese to antagonize China would be to allow the US to set bases up there.

  11. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    As I think I’ve mentioned before, an Anglican cleric once said to me, only half joking, that to an Anglican theologian a lot of evangelicals were either heretics, or lunatics, or both.
    And never mind the “prosperity gospel” grifters…

  12. Kathy says:

    Pfizer reports their COVID vaccines is safe and effective for children aged 5 to 11, and emergency use approval might come by late October. Around that time results are expected for trials in children 2 to 5, and six months to 2 years.

    This is very good news, but I can already picture the shrill, unthinking objections from the antivaxxers. It’s going to get better, but also much uglier.

  13. Jax says:

    @Kathy: It’ll be too late, by then. All the kids will have gotten it already.

    I’m waiting to see what our numbers are in our county. After a certain amount of positives within the school system, they’re supposed to go virtual. I’d at least like to see masks required again if they want to stay open.

  14. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Leonard Nimoy…

    I want to be sure I get this right.
    It was Leonard Nimoy. Not his character Spock.

  15. KM says:


    It’ll be too late, by then. All the kids will have gotten it already.

    And a ton will have died. I’m wondering how this is going to affect the upcoming generation, seeing their peers get brutally sick and die because the adults were screaming nonsense lies about the thing that could save them. One day your best friend doesn’t answer your tweet and their TikTok’s gone dark. You find out a few days later they’re on a vent because their parents refused the vaccine. Maybe your older sibling gets sick because they went to practice and some jock’s father demanded his unvaxxed son try out to be QB. Now your family’s ruined from the medical bills that will plague them for life. Perhaps you hear through the grapevine a favorite teacher has died and while nobody says COVID, you all know what happened.

    This is the new plague generation, growing up in a world where half the adults seem determined to kill them off for no reason and everyday death isn’t something that just happens to the Olds. They see so many try so hard to save them and just as many rage-filled about simple precautions to protect them. Maybe they fall for the anti-vaaxxer BS their parents spew but eventually they’ll run into a peer that’s either lost someone or will be lost themselves in the next year or so. How do you tell Little Suzy that empty seat next to her that held her friend is empty needlessly? When that inevitable death(s) happens in their circle, what is that going to do to their generational mindset?

  16. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Spock would have been playing a lyre, not a keyboard.

  17. Kathy says:


    I remain puzzled at the lack of outrage concerning the mass contagion and death during the pandemic, not only in America but in much of the world. On the contrary, we see tons of protests about mitigation measures, and now vaccines. It feels we’re in Bizarro World now.

  18. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    12,000+ migrants are packed under — and beside — International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, after wading across the Rio Grande.

    We’re shipping them back 300 at a time. To a country so forked that living like this is an improvement.

    IMO, Haiti isn’t the only nation that’s broken.

  19. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Yes, definitely Nimoy rather than Spock. He as wearing a gray suit coat over a black t-shirt. No pointed ears.

  20. KM says:

    Because humanity has internalized that death from disease is “natural”. It has been so for millennia. You’re supposed to get sick and die in a plague; it’s God’s Will that you perish from this pestilence and if you survived you’re #Blessed. For so many, it feels unnatural to walk around with a mask even if logically it makes perfect sense. They feel it impedes them instead of protecting them since it’s normal to get sick. Colds just happen, plagues just happen. It’s why they freak out when talk of holding people responsible for infecting others pops up – how can they be held accountable for something that just happens? Sure they can do something to prevent it but it’s natural so it can’t be their fault!!!

    All sorts of natural things used to be normal. Dying in childbirth, being crippled from diseases at a young age, being completely toothless by age 20, literal rivers of shit running through the streets since plumbing wasn’t a thing. Society figured out how to fix it and move on. Some societies already have norms where you don’t spread your sickness around – masks are a normal sight in many Eastern nations. Those nations also have a more communal mindset were the group good is just as important if not more so than your individual benefit so it makes sense that creating a norm for your neighbor to not infect you makes sense. Western emphasis on me, me, me means that until we internalize that me getting unnecessarily sick because of them is worse than me having to take precautions nothing will change. We’ll continue to see it as natural and normal thing for sickness to spread instead of a deliberate choice we’re making that can be changed.

  21. Jax says:

    The longer the pandemic goes on, the more I realize the enemy really is us.

  22. EddieInCA says:


    To your point, read this…

    The amount of stupidity, hypocrisy, and flat out bullshit in this piece by John Notle, is stunning in that it’s so illogical. Bottom line is that his argument is “Libs are pushing vaccinations so that Trump supporters will die by refusing to get vaccinated.” In other words, it’s the fault of liberals that Trump supporters are dying from Covid [because they won’t get vaccinated.]

  23. MarkedMan says:

    @KM: There are two things I think are relevant to the question: “Why are so many people doing exactly the wrong thing, resulting in so much death?” The first is a story my father told me about his experience as a kid growing up on a farm in rural Ireland in the 30’s and 40’s. He said that if a barn caught fire it wasn’t enough to lead the animals out. You had to lead them out and take the time to tether them with strong rope. Because a certain amount of them would panic and head back into the burning barn. Makes no sense and he had no idea what was going on in their tiny little brains. It was exactly the wrong thing to do. But, nevertheless, a certain percentage would do it and, if that percentage was enough, would set off a general stampede back in the barn where they all would die.

    The second is Easter Island. We now know that the Rapa Nui once had a thriving culture with large towns made of wooden structures, sophisticated seafaring vessels with which to fish, etc. But they eventually chopped down all the trees on the island in order to make rollers for the giant statures they created. This in turn resulted in a deprecated habitat and all the large game died off or were hunted to extinction. When western sailors came upon them a couple of hundred years ago they were living the most basic existence imaginable. It’s easy to imagine there were any number of people that warned against the stupidity of all this, but it is also easy to imagine there were more people who “knew” that all their problems were because of angry gods – and the gods were angry because, “not enough statues”.

    Nothing has changed in human nature. People are animals, and a certain number of animals will run back into the burning barn, i.e. continue a headlong rush back to what gave them security in the past.

  24. CSK says:

    That says a lot more about the stupidity of the Trumpkins than it does about the libs, doesn’t it?

    This reminds me of a story I heard back wen the FDA was warning people about the carcinogenic properties of carbon tetrachloride. Some idiot drank a bottle of it to prove the FDA was lying.

  25. inhumans99 says:


    Yeah, articles like that are beyond dumb and illogical. Let us suppose that the writer is correct, many liberals are fine with Covid killing off MAGA supporters (I am fed up with them, but I am not a grim reaper wishing death and plague upon my enemies), well…what are the MAGA supporters going to do about it?

    There is a simple way here to “own” the libs who want them to die, get the vaccine shots! That’s it, an easy peasy way to go all Nelson from the Simpsons on us libs and go haha, you thought you were going to kill us but the jokes on you, I got vaccinated you dumb liberal.

  26. Michael Reynolds says:


    Spock would have been playing a lyre, not a keyboard.

    Confirming @Kathy’s nerd cred.

  27. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Actually, Spock played a Vulcan lute.

  28. Kathy says:


    If liberals are this powerful, they’re missing their chance. why not a campaign urging people not to douse themselves with gasoline and lighting themselves on fire?

  29. Kathy says:

    On lighter topics, Netflix debuted the third season of Final Space, just days after it was cancelled.

    It’s funny. In times past, I’d have been upset at having an interesting story cut short, never to learn what will happen. Now, I guess with so much other complete narratives on TV/streaming, it doesn’t seem that bad.

    My attempt at ginger and curry risotto went awry, when I realized I had too little coconut milk on hand. It came out edible, but not good. I expect I’ll retry in a few weeks.

  30. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..why not a campaign urging people not to douse themselves with gasoline and lighting themselves on fire?

    You mean like this?

  31. de stijl says:


    Self immolation is solid prophylactic against Covid.

  32. Mikey says:

    @de stijl: Build a man a fire and he’s warm for a night; set a man on fire and he’s warm for the rest of his life.

  33. DrDaveT says:


    Yes, definitely Nimoy rather than Spock. He as wearing a gray suit coat over a black t-shirt. No pointed ears.

    I suppose you could tell that it was Nimoy and not his character Paris from Mission: Impossible because Paris spent very little time looking like Leonard Nimoy…

  34. de stijl says:


    My experience with curries is do your best with what’s on hand.

    Eyeball it. About that much ginger give or take. Experiment.

    Measured component curry is predictable. Let loose! Add weird shit!

  35. DrDaveT says:


    Actually, Spock played a Vulcan lute.

    In the OST episode “Plato’s Stepchildren”* he played a lyre.

    *The one famous for the first interracial kiss on network television.

  36. de stijl says:


    Prevention is cheaper than a cure. Gasoline is a few bucks per gallon. A bic lighter is $1.29.

    Self immolation is the value-based choice if you choose to not get vaccinated. Quicker faster cleaner.

  37. Mikey says:

    The absolute pinnacle of musical Nimoy.

  38. de stijl says:


    I am just glad other people have dreams that are as randomly odd as mine.

    My sleeping brain concocts the oddest shit. I love it.

  39. CSK says:

    Oh, yes. It wasn’t the Nimoy of M:I.
    I remember it well. But Spock is mostly commonly associated with the Vulcan lute.

    Now I can’t get the phrase “damsel with a dulcimer” out of my head.

  40. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    Martin Mull once said his dreams were so odd and wonderful that he’d be willing to buy tickets to see them.

  41. DrDaveT says:


    Martin Mull once said his dreams were so odd and wonderful that he’d be willing to buy tickets to see them.

    I feel like Martin Mull has been prematurely forgotten. The movie Serial is a gem, though I sometimes feel like I’m the only person on earth who ever saw it.

  42. CSK says:

    I know. Mull is very funny. But, as was the case with George Carlin, you had to be sufficiently intelligent and literate to get him.

  43. Mu Yixiao says:


    Carlin would also do a lot of “reflective observation”–making us look at ourselves.

    I had a “Carlin moment” this morning. Our planners–the people who make sure that everything is in place, from incoming parts to labor, so we can get product out the door on schedule–e-mailed to say “We’re out of tape in the cabinet”.

  44. Kathy says:

    I finished Bad Blood, the book about Theranos, and am following the podcast Bad Blood The Final Chapter (additional info which has emerged since the book, and some thoughts on the Holmes fraud trial).

    IMO, we get a rare, close, in-depth view of an actual conspiracy. More important, a view on how a conspiracy falls apart. As I’ve thought, and believe I’ve mentioned here, a conspiracy, even a rather massive one, is possible to carry out for a time, but then some of the people involved in it, even unwitting participants who thought they were doing something else, begin to talk and leak information, and then the whole thing gets exposed for the fraud that it is.

    Short version: three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead.

    I don’t know how many people ever worked at Theranos, nor how many were directly involved in the development of the (non-revolutionary) analysis machines, or the lab that did most of the actual work, but at the very least dozens, possibly hundreds. The con went on for years, supported by non-disclosure agreements and the threat of litigation, along with insufficient oversight by the board.

    Now imagine a much more massive conspiracy, like using explosives to bring down the WTC towers on 9/11, or faking the Moon landings, or all the nonsense with the vaccines, involving many thousands or tens of thousands of people, and not one person has spoken out ro leaked information?

  45. de stijl says:


    I am of the age and type where I watched Fernwood 2 Night as it aired in 1977. I was 14.

    It was bizarre and transformative. It was the predicate for Letterman. Contextualized irony as comedy.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: David French has been writing stuff like this for a long time and I have known people who were saying similar things before David French discovered his “breakthrough” perception (Bill Moyer discussing the Moral Majority and Christian Right comes to mind, but also people of no fame whatsoever). And yes, his “silver lining” is an illusion.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: I hope that I’m reading these statistics incorrectly, but what the chart seems to be saying is that my county (population ~100,000, but essentially just under half the total lives in Longview and Kelso so these are probably mostly local cases of a population of ~46 or 47,000) had 452 new cases last week and a two week rate of infection of ~1064 per 100,ooo. Yikes!!

    On the other hand, I can see why the health department has tried to bury access to the data and isn’t doing daily reports anymore.

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: The really scary thing to me is that Walt Kelley figured this out in 197o and we’ve been in denial ever since

  49. flat earth luddite says:

    The U.S. Supreme Court will start the month of December with arguments in one of the new term’s most controversial cases—Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban asking the justices to overrule their landmark abortion rights precedents, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

    My cup officially runneth over… with disgusted-ness and appalled-ness. While I’ll concede problems with the original decision (maybe), Your Supreme-nesses, we’ve been living under your guidance and rulings that this was solid, immutable law since I was in high school. NOW you’re going to say, well, maybe not? Great celebration of the 50th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Again, insults to spineless weasels flood my mind.

  50. Mikey says:

    Is this really as shocking as the headline would suggest? I say no. People weren’t staying home for an extra $300, they were staying home because working could kill them. Since thanks to the anti-vaxxers it still can, well…

    Employers Are Baffled as U.S. Benefits End and Jobs Go Begging

    Emergency unemployment benefits in the U.S. expired two weeks ago, but employers who expected an increase in job applications are still largely waiting for them to roll in.

    Federal programs that had offered an extra $300 per week for jobless Americans, provided extended benefits for the long-term unemployed and gave special aid for the self-employed expired Sept. 6. Economists and companies expected a wave of interest from workers as the financial lifeline was pulled away, hoping it would provide the incentive to get back into the workplace.

    That hasn’t happened, according to employers across industries.

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I can understand that. One of the great disappointments of my life is that I almost never am able to see how a dream story comes out. It’s so unfair. 🙁

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: And did you go buy some? And if not, why not?

  53. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Same here. I always wake up before the resolution.

  54. flat earth luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Nope, no problem here. Nothing to see, folks, move along, move along.

  55. OzarkHillbilly says:


    Ron Filipkowski

    FL Congressman Mike Waltz proving yet again that there is no limit to how far Republicans are willing to go to secure that coveted Trump endorsement. It worked – got it today!

    You have to see it to believe it.

  56. Mu Yixiao says:


    A little bit ago you talked about the crew shortage in Hollywood (using that term broadly).

    Would you be willing to talk to me a bit about the state of the industry so I can write an op-ed encouraging the local school district to get serious about it’s performing arts curriculum? We have a (admittedly 20-year-old) broadcast and editing studio that, according to the District Administrator, “nobody knows how to use”.

  57. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Lately my brain is being really inventive and spinning out act 2 of spy movie (I’m the good guy) in a damned close approximation of my work environment from 30 years ago in dream Minneapolis St. Paul New York Reykjavik meets Inception where the streets make zero sense.

    My sleep brain is actually a half-decent storyteller in plot and pace. Better than most TV. It tells a damn decent narrative then gets lost in me trying to get home or somewhere but I get constantly thrwarted.

  58. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    Actually I use curry powder. Some spices commonly used for mixing one’s own curry are hard to come by here.

  59. de stijl says:


    I use store bought curry powder all the time too. Curry paste as well.

    I am by no means a purist.

  60. Jen says:

    @Mikey: Exactly. And childcare (or, precisely, the lack thereof) has been a problem for many and is about to get much worse.

  61. CSK says:

    Dear God, that’s nauseating.

  62. Mu Yixiao says:


    Gah! Forgot to include contact info.


  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @flat earth luddite: Yeah. I was afraid of that. 🙁

  64. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: Last time I was in a dream spy/detective movie (not clear which one I really was), I woke up just as I was getting shot.

  65. de stijl says:


    I add weird crap all the time just to mess around. I’ll make a big batch and then add stuff to the portion I’m heating up for right now.

    Peanut butter, pineapple, chocolate (like a S Asian mole)

    I’m a huge fan of raw minced white onion on top and cilantro. That’s me.

    Do whatever you feel like. Use store bought powder or paste with zero self judgement. Absolutely no worries.

    Doll it up as you like – your choice. No judgement.

    (Peanut butter worked really well for me. Major umami. Ymmv.)

  66. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    And did you go buy some? And if not, why not?

    I’m just the delivery boy. However… The last time they asked for tape, I had the buyer get 4 packs instead of the 2 they requested. I gave them 2 and kept 2 in a locked cabinet.

    I’m really tempted to conspire with the buyer the next time she takes a vacation. When the planners say “Oh, we’re out of tape”, I reply: “Gee. The buyer is on vacation for a week. If you’d let us know you were getting low, we could have planned ahead.”

  67. de stijl says:


    Wisest thing any one has said since March 2020.

  68. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    As maddening as it is, it’s not nearly as upsetting to me as the number of homeless students you have in your 5,000 student district. Between 10-15%,IIRC?

    Like I said earlier, Haiti is not the only broken country.

  69. de stijl says:

    In ESL classes we expect non native speakers to figure out laugh cough thought through.

    They must think we are all stupid. It’s insane.

  70. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Don’t even start on daughter and laughter.

    I have some exposure to Icelandic so dotir is well known.

    How the hell did English spell dotir as daughter? The gh usually indicates a hearty back fricative back in the day.

    I get night, sight, light. Lost fricative + vowel shift and nicht becomes nite.

    “Daughter” confounds me. The predecessor is clearly dotir. No fricative.

    I have a hunch somebody inserted the gh as a mistake in spelling that somehow became a norm.

    I can see no reason why dotir somehow became to be spelled as daughter in English. The gh is seemingly entirely superfluous. It should be dauter per any rational ruleset.

  71. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    I can see no reason why dotir somehow became to be spelled as daughter in English.

    They have a common ancestor. English spelling was phonetic, but got locked in just before the last major sound changes. That’s why it’s so fvcked.

    daughter (n.)
    Middle English doughter, from Old English dohtor “female child considered with reference to her parents,” from Proto-Germanic *dokhter, earlier *dhutēr (source also of Old Saxon dohtar, Old Norse dóttir, Old Frisian and Dutch dochter, German Tochter, Gothic dauhtar), from PIE *dhugheter (source also of Sanskrit duhitar-, Avestan dugeda-, Armenian dustr, Old Church Slavonic dušti, Lithuanian duktė, Greek thygater). The common Indo-European word, lost in Celtic and Latin (Latin filia “daughter” is fem. of filius “son”).

    The modern spelling evolved 16c. in southern England. In late Old English also “woman viewed in some analogous relationship” (to her native country, church, culture, etc.). From c. 1200 of anything regarded as feminine, considered with respect to its source

  72. EddieInCA says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Sent you an email.

  73. de stijl says:


    The gh in the daughter spelling is just weird.

    It’s incredibly stupid but we still spell night because it used to sound like German nicht. We lost the back chhh fricative but retained the spelling. Entirely predictable. Rational if stupid: nite is perfectly cromulent spelling. A remnant where gh indicated something. Understandable.

    As far as I know dotir never had a a fricative a la dauchhter in the near predecessor Old Norse, German, or English. Dotir is not a perfect analog but it is pretty close. The tee is fronted more now and i in ir shifted a bit.

    No present day language has a weird bump that would indicate dotir used to be dochhtir. Especially in the relevant time.

    The English spelling is unique. It indicates a lost fricative where there was none. The gh in daughter is bullshit.

  74. JohnSF says:

    Pretty sure there are some Scots dialects where the “gh” in daughter is pronounced pretty closely to the “ch” in loch.

  75. wr says:

    @de stijl: “No present day language has a weird bump that would indicate dotir used to be dochhtir.”

    Daughter in Dutch is dachter.