Saturday’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. Kathy says:

    Bad week for aircraft and doors.

    Opening an exit door at an altitude of 200 meters is dangerous. Fortunately everyone, including the man who opened the door, were seated and had seatbelts on, and the plane was about to land. Had it been climbing, things would have been more difficult.

  2. CSK says:


    That happened to me once. The plane had taken off from Heathrow, and we were about a mile up, when one of the rear exit doors opened. The guy seated behind me leaped up and raced forward up the aisle to get help; I recall he was absolutely white-faced.

    Anyway, a flight attendant calmly strolled over and held the door shut (it opened inward) till the cabin pressure had reached a level to keep it closed.

    And we proceeded to Boston.

  3. CSK says:

    I never thought meteorologists would be the target of conspiracy theorists, but apparently they are:

  4. Sleeping Dog says:


    Shooting the messenger has been a thing since the first humans walked out of the Great Rift Valley.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I’m not surprised. They have long been attacking climatologists. Conservatives are waging a war on inconvenient science. Which is basically all science.

  6. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @OzarkHillbilly:

    Damn, I miss the thumbs-up button.

  7. CSK says:

    A fool and his money…

    I’m sure Trump knows about this, signed off on it, and is getting a cut.

  8. James Joyner says:

    @CSK: I’ve installed new plugin that’s highly rated and seems not to be interfering with the edit feature. Alas, while it’s showing up for the posts, it’s not showing up for the comments. I’ll have to play with it more.

  9. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:

    Thank you very much. We all appreciate your hard work on this site, which is probably keeping a lot of us sane.

  10. Kathy says:


    I remember.

    I asked about the slide and whether it deployed. See the second photo at the link, and you’ll notice the slide on the airbus deployed and was torn off. You can see the remnants below the door.

    It’s likely the same thing happened in your flight. If so, it was a good thing there was no need for an emergency evacuation afterwards.

  11. Kathy says:


    His campaign did not reply to a request for comment, not even to deny any association with the scam.

    That in itself is not evidence, but it makes one think there may be a connection.

    The last time I saw someone think that fake money was real, it involved a four year old and a game like monopoly.

  12. CSK says:


    As far as I can recall, the slide never deployed. I was slack-jawed with admiration at how calm, almost nonchalant, the flight attendant was, as if this happened routinely. Ho-hum.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: which is probably keeping a lot of us sane.

    I was a caver. Sanity is not an option.

  14. CSK says:


    If Trump isn’t profiting from it, he’ll try everything to shut it down.

  15. CSK says:


    Sounds like fun to me.

  16. Kathy says:


    Yeah, that too.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: thumbs up

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ala-fucking-bama: Incarcerated people use TikTok videos to expose Alabama’s prison conditions How bad is it?

    The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Alabama in 2020 over dangerous and overcrowding conditions, with a trial set to begin next year. The case was filed under the Trump administration – not known for its support of incarcerated people’s rights – and signed by the then US attorney general, William Barr, after lengthy attempts to negotiate a settlement and pre-empt the unprecedented intervention.

    One stat says it all:

    The Alabama department of corrections has reported a vacancy rate of nearly 64% in security staffing. Several correctional officers in Alabama have been arrested over the past year for corruption, bribery and misconduct.

    At his facility, Jemison said, there are only three correctional officers working at a time supervising about 1,200 prisoners.

    “It’s not safe and it’s dangerous for the officers,” said Jemison. “The shortage of staff, no security, overcrowding, this lack of medical care, lack of mental health care … basically turn the mental health crisis into criminal convictions so the majority in here are people with drug addictions and people with mental health issues that shouldn’t be here.”

    Because they don’t give a shit:

    The state of Alabama closed down most hospitals for the mentally ill in 2013, while prisons and jails saw an influx of prisoners suffering from mental health issues after the cuts and closures.

    Alabama has also been criticized for soaring rates of parole denials and harsh sentences that have fueled mass incarceration rates and prison overcrowding in the state.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: A buddy of mine’s teenaged daughter said it best: “Caving, it’s like fun, only different.”

  20. CSK says:


    I laughed out loud when I read this.

  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Access to mental health services is a giant sucking wound in our society at large, so that it would be a problem in the corrections system isn’t surprising at all. And corrections may well get a disproportionately large share of the available resources–though I’m only speculating (and wildly at that), not asserting a fact.

  22. CSK says:

    I realize this is indelicate, but I’m laughing so hard I’m crying:

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It’s what we kept telling ourselves when ever we found ourselves in some wet, tight, muddy, miserable crawl that kept going and going and going without ever opening up into the wondrous crystal encrusted virgin passage we knew was right around the next bend.

  24. CSK says:


    Thumbs up.

  25. Gustopher says:

    @James Joyner: I was wondering if it was a “thumbs up for me, but not for thee” situation, but technical glitch seems more plausible if less ridiculous and fun.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rex Chapman

    If you’ve already seen a bystander saving a dog’s life with CPR today then just keep on scrolling.

    (also, please LEARN CPR.)

    Gareth ️#FBPE #FBIW
    Sometimes Twitter isn’t awful. Thank you mate, first round is on me.

  27. dazedandconfused says:


    Some of us will never grow up.

  28. CSK says:


    Oh. My. God.

  29. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @dazedandconfused: Wish I’d thought of that.

  30. CSK says:


    Made my day. Thanks.

  31. CSK says:


    According to CNN, the guy who opened the door felt suffocated and “wanted to get off the plane quickly.”

    I’ll say.

  32. de stijl says:


    99.9% of flights I am perfectly fine. I prefer an aisle seat, but I am fine even in the middle.

    One Friday evening I was on my way home and noticed that every single seat on the plane was filled. Not one empty seat on the plane. For some reason that freaked me out.

    I got claustrophobic which had never happened to me before. Iirc, it was a short flight, maybe 2 hours or so, so I was able to last it out barely.

    I practiced deep breathing and tried my best to meditate, but my brain just really, really wanted to get up and run up and down the aisle and do power poses and jumping jacks. It was mental torture. Irrational fixation on free space and movement I couldn’t shake. I wanted to scream. It was damn spooky! I have never been so happy to be in a relatively open airport terminal before.

    I imagine that that is what it is like for some people every time they fly. Man, that would suck! I guess they get inured to it.

  33. CSK says:

    @de stijl:

    Sorry to hear you went through that, but it speaks well of you that you were able to control yourself.

  34. dazedandconfused says:

    @de stijl:

    I’ve always felt this should be standard for airliners. Seems it would’ve taken your mind off the interior. Would it have helped?

  35. de stijl says:


    Judging by the amount of crappy beer in that guy’s tiny shopping cart, I expected worse.

  36. de stijl says:


    It was a close deal. I came very near to losing it bad. I seriously thought about flagging down an attendant and telling them I was really close to having a claustrophobic freak out.

    So many bodies smashed into such a tiny space and the kicker was not even one empty seat.

    It never happened before or after. Thankfully. That was intensely unpleasant.

    Oddly, I am a veteran of several thousand bus rides where every seat is full and I had to stand and grip the rail and it never, ever bugged me beyond just mere annoyance. On a bus you can always get off at the next stop. A bus has more headspace – you can fully stand erect.

  37. Kathy says:


    Interjet, may it rest in peace, had a nose camera on about half its fleet. Alas, it only had overhead screens rather than individual seat back ones.

    The takeoff view wasn’t much. Landing, though, was amazing. Most times one can’t see the runway before landing, as it’s not to the side of the plane but in front of it (maybe it’s visible from the nose section of the 747 lower deck, which angles forward a little). I found it awesome to see the runway earlier on.

  38. Mister Bluster says:

    The local newspaper, the Southern Illinoisan, in an AP story, is reporting that
    GOP controlled Texas House votes to impeach Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton.
    This rag is usually very late to report breaking stories.
    Reuters is reporting same.

  39. dazedandconfused says:


    I was thinking the key to checking claustrophobia is getting attention focused on something other than one’s confines, mind over matter, what your mind doesn’t think about doesn’t matter….but also just how cool it is in other areas of flight. Nothing like the front view when busting out on top of a cloud deck on a moonlit night. Magically skimming over the clouds is where you get the sense of speed. The view from the side is nothing compared to it.

    The wonderful St. Exupery captured it as well as anyone ever has in Night Flight:

    And now a wonder seized him. Dazzled by that brightness, he had to keep his eyes closed for some seconds. He had never dreamt the night-clouds could dazzle thus. But the full moon and all the constellations were changing them to light.

    In a flash, the very instant he had risen clear, the pilot found a peace that passed his understanding. Not a ripple tilted the plane, but like a ship that has crossed the bar, it moved within a tranquil anchorage. In an unknown secret corner of the sky it floated, as in a harbour of the Happy Isles. Below him still the storm was fashioning another world, thridded with squalls and cloudbursts and lightnings, but turning to the stars a face of crystal snow.

    Now all grew luminous, his hands, his clothes, the wings, and Fabien thought that he was in a limbo of strange magic; for the light did not come down from the stars but welled up from below, from all that snowy whiteness.

    Only from over the nose does one get this feeling. Only while looking ahead.

  40. JohnSF says:

    I’d give that a thumbs up, but…

  41. CSK says:



    Everybody on this thread:

    The MAGAs are foaming at the mouth at the persecution of Ken Paxton. Best A>G. in the United States.

  42. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Good news from Texas not having to do with NASA. That’s well out of the ordinary.

    I couldn’t fin a breakdown of the vote by party. Wikipedia says the Texas House* is made up of 64 Democrats and 85 Republicans. Assuming all the former voted for impeachment (big assumption in state matters), then for a 121 to 23 vote, it means 57 Republicans voted to impeach. That’s 67% of Republicans, and that’s huge in these hyperpartisan times.

    If my assumption is wrong, then even more Republicans voted to impeach.

    *Not that house. The one who voted impeachment today is not little and definitely not the best