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. Stormy Dragon says:

    We often joke about MAGA brainworms, but they may actually be literal:

    Worm that jumps from rats to slugs to human brains has invaded Southeast US

  2. Mikey says:

    Sunday’s Forum

    Did I sleep through Saturday?

  3. Moosebreath says:


    “Did I sleep through Saturday?”

    No, it was rained out.

  4. Kathy says:
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A military judge at Guantánamo Bay has ruled a 9/11 defendant incompetent to stand trial after a military medical panel found that the man’s sustained abuse in CIA custody years earlier had rendered him lastingly psychotic.

    A Guantánamo military commission spokesperson, Ronald Flesvig, confirmed on Friday the ruling by Judge Col Matthew McCall. The ruling means Ramzi bin al-Shibh will not be tried together with his four 9/11 co-defendants, whose case will now proceed without him.

    A Yemeni, al-Shibh is accused of organizing one cell of the 19 hijackers who carried out the 11 September 2001 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
    A military medical panel last month diagnosed al-Shibh as having post-traumatic stress disorder with secondary psychosis, and linked it to his torture and solitary confinement during four years in CIA custody after his 2002 arrest.

    The “war on terror” keeps paying dividends.

  6. Kathy says:

    I’m using the Goodreads reading challenge to track which and how many books I read. For this year, I set a goal of 50 books. I’m at 40 now.

    It helps I found a means for reading two books during the same week. I have one audiobook running while driving or cooking, and one ebook I read on breaks, while waiting in line at the bank, right before bed, etc.

    It helps to pick different subjects. The other week I was listening to a lecture series on human origins, and reading a book on the development of nuclear power.

  7. Bill Jempty says:
  8. Bill Jempty says:
  9. Scott says:

    Trump’s labor record will trail him as he wades into UAW strike

    Former President Donald Trump is going to Detroit to try to make the case that he’s got the backs of striking autoworkers

    I don’t know. Is Trump going to be directly asked whether he supports the UAW’s demands. Like 32 hour workweek, full pensions, restored pay, elimination of tiered labor rates? What is he actually going to say other than extraneous culture war nonsense about EVs, China, etc. Does he think the blue collar auto workers are going to be distracted by his nonsense? Will he brag that he could settle the negotiation in one day?

    What is going to be the perspective of the press in this? I don’t have hope there either.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Drought sparks drinking water concerns as saltwater creeps up Mississippi River

    The New Orleans mayor, LaToya Cantrell, signed an emergency declaration for the city on Friday amid concerns about saltwater from the the Gulf of Mexico that has been creeping up the drought-hit Mississippi River in Louisiana. The declaration came amid concerns the saltwater, which is impacting the river because it is at such low levels, could impact the drinking water of thousands of residents in the next few weeks

    The Louisiana governor, John Bel Edwards, said the state would be requesting an emergency declaration from the federal government in the next couple of days as well to get federal funds and agencies involved.
    The saltwater has already entered the drinking water of communities south of New Orleans – from Empire Bridge to Venice, Louisiana – making the water undrinkable for about 2,000 residents and causing water outages at local schools. As the saltwater moves upriver, it could affect the drinking water for another 20,000 people in Belle Chasse. After that it could reach the drinking water intake for the New Orleans community of Algiers, across the river from the French Quarter.

    To slow the progression of the saltwater, the army corps of engineers constructed an underwater barrier in downriver from New Orleans in July.
    The barrier was intended to slow the upstream movement of the saltwater, but the salt wedge has overtopped the barrier. Similar barriers were constructed in 1988, 2012 and 2022. This is the first time the barrier has needed to be built in back-to-back years. Last year, the barrier wasn’t overtopped, he added.

    But climate change isn’t real.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill Jempty: They are sooooooo grounded.

  12. Bill Jempty says:


    No, it was rained out.

    That reminds me

    Ambassador Trentino: Now, Chicolini, I want a full detailed report of your investigation.
    Chicolini: All right, I tell you. Monday we watch-a Firefly’s house, but he no come out. He wasn’t home. Tuesday we go to the ball game, but he fool us: he no show up. Wednesday he go to the ball game, but we fool him, we no show up. Thursday it was a double-header, nobody show up. Friday it rained all day, there was no ball game, so we stayed home, we listen to it over the radio.

  13. Bill Jempty says:


    I’m using the Goodreads reading challenge to track which and how many books I read. For this year, I set a goal of 50 books. I’m at 40 now.

    I probably complete 20-25 books a year.

    Right now I’m reading on my kindle James McGregor Burns two-volume biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After that I will probably read either Robert Massie’s Castles of Steel, the second* of his two books on WWI Naval build-up and the war or William F. Buckley’s 4th** Blackford Oakes spy novel, Marco Polo if you can.

    My usual preferences for reading- History/Biographies/Current events or espionage novels. Mostly the former. I have biographies or memoirs on British Generals/Field Marshalls Slim, Browning, Alexander, Horrocks, and Auchinleck. Madeline Albright’s Madame Secretary, Omar Bradley’s A General’s Life, Milton Friedman’s Free to Choose, Gay Talese’s The Kingdom and the Power, James Clavell’s King Rat, John LeCarre’s The Little Drummer Girl, and 7 more Buckley spy novels to name a few ebooks I have yet to get to.

    *- I finished Dreadnought, the first book, a few months ago.
    **- I started these books last summer.

  14. SC_Birdflyte says:

    And in other news, one of Trump’s latest rants is aimed at General Milley. Agent Orange blamed Milley for the Afghan withdrawal (I thought it was Biden’s fault) and suggested that his actions to restrain Trump’s wildness during the transition period should get the death penalty.

  15. Bill Jempty says:

    If anyone wonders, I have totally stopped reading books in the subgenre I write in. Mostly because the ebooks available are either ‘crappy smut’* or repetitive pablum**. There are a few good authors out there but I haven’t the inclination to read them.

    *- A description used by a good but late author.
    **- My description for books that repeat the same themes over and over again but aren’t necessarily erotica.

  16. gVOR10 says:

    @Scott: A lot of UAW members voted for Trump. A driver of the strike is fear of loss of UAW jobs with the changeover to EVs. So I expect Trump will blame Biden for the whole need to have a strike. And UAW members are as prone to his culture war crap as the rest of the electorate.

  17. Kathy says:

    @Bill Jempty:

    I probably complete 20-25 books a year.

    Unlike me, you probably have a life.

    If I’d started with audiobooks sooner, like the late 2000s to early 2010s, when I sometimes drove to nearby and not-so-nearby towns for work, I’d have added a lot to the pile.

  18. de stijl says:

    Woke up this morning and there was a cat in a tree directly outside my bedroom window. The tree is about six feet from my window. About 6:30. The cat was trying to be all tricksy and stealthy. It was setting up a squirrel ambush. Black and white, looked like a sleek, miniature Holstein cow. No collar, but didn’t look like a feral. My guess is a housecat that decided to go on a walkabout predator excursion.

    I tapped on the window. It looked around trying to figure out what that noise was and where it was coming from. I opened the window and said “If you get stuck up that tree I ain’t going to call the fire department. Go the [bleep] home!”

    Makes perfect sense. Squirrels scamper up and down that tree bole several dozen times a day. I have no idea why. Lil dinguses really love that particular tree a lot for some reason I cannot fathom.

    I watched the cat for a few minutes before getting bored and going to the kitchen to make coffee.

  19. Stormy Dragon says:

    Hmmmm, does the volume of activity on OTB today make anyone else suspect that Dr. Joyner is trapped inside due to Tropical Storm Ophelia? =3

  20. reid says:

    @Bill Jempty: That was what I immediately thought of, too! I grew up on the Marx Bros.

  21. DrDaveT says:

    I am officially chuffed — I just successfully solved a Guardian cryptic Prize Puzzle for the first time ever. Thank you, Picaroon, for not leaning on names and slang that only a native of the British Isles would ever have heard.

  22. Kathy says:

    It seems an alternative to SpaceX may be merging.

    Warning: the video is almost an hour long and rather technical.

  23. Bill Jempty says:

    @reid: I play Strat-O-Matic baseball. Back around 30 years ago there was a small fan magazine for the game called Strat-O-Matic review.

    One issue of the magazine had a cartoon. Wife turns off the lights and tells her husband- ‘Game called on account of darkness. Time to go to bed.’
    Husband reply- It wasn’t my fault the game went extra innings.

  24. JohnSF says:

    One of the most enthrallingly hard-fought Rugby matches ever!
    South Africa 8-13 Ireland
    Not a particularly high-scoring match, or one of open running play.
    But one for the lover of sheer commitment and determination.
    The irresistible force (Ireland) meets the immovable object (South Africa).
    A game for the ages.
    I call upon ye heathen, submit to the siren call of Rugby Union, and know redemption! 😉

  25. DrDaveT says:


    submit to the siren call of Rugby Union

    I find rugby to be utterly incomprehensible — much worse than cricket.

    I understand the scoring; what I don’t understand are the rules controlling beginning and end of play. It appears to be utterly arbitrary whether the person with the ball is required to stop, or under what circumstances a team yields control of the ball. In American football, defining the instant when the ball-carrier is legally “down” is centrally important. In rugby, it really looks like a series of gentlemen’s agreements…

  26. JohnSF says:

    The person with the ball is never required to stop; they have to be stopped.
    Once brought down, they must release the ball. It may then be taken by either side.
    Which is where the fun begins!