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. de stijl says:

    RBG dying is intense.

    Above and beyond she is massively cool af. Was, as of yesterday. I miss her.

  2. Bill says:

    This should be obvious

    The headline of the day-

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dead at 87

  3. Bill says:
  4. Bill says:
  5. James Joyner says:

    While it’s an open forum, note that there are already two Ginsburg threads (and I’m about to write another).

  6. de stijl says:

    There is not a lot to talk about else.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Bleach touted as ‘miracle cure’ for Covid being sold on Amazon

    Industrial bleach is being sold on Amazon through its product pages which consumers are buying under the mistaken belief that it is a “miracle cure” for Covid-19, despite health warnings from the US Food and Drug Administration that drinking the fluid can kill.

    The chlorine dioxide solutions are being sold on the Amazon platform under the brand name CD Kit and NatriChlor. Third-party sellers signal the bleach as a “water treatment” and include legal disclaimers that the liquid is “not marketed for internal use”.

    But comments from Amazon customers under the review section of the pages tell a different story. Users discuss how many drops of bleach they are imbibing and explain they are drinking the chemical which they call MMS to “disinfect ourselves”, a phrase that echoes Donald Trump’s controversial remarks in April that injections of disinfectant could cure Covid-19.

    The stupid, it hurts.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: I am not going to talk about or read anything of RBG today. There is just going to be a constant drone of THE SKY IS FALLING!!! every time she comes up and I refuse to go there. I will mourn and honor her as she deserves to be but that is all.

    There is a whole world of other things to discuss.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Billionaire Chuck Feeney achieves goal of giving away his fortune

    Chuck Feeney has achieved his lifetime ambition: giving away his $8bn (£6bn) fortune while he is still around to see the impact it has made.

    For the past 38 years, Feeney, an Irish American who made billions from a duty-free shopping empire, has been making endowments to charities and universities across the world with the goal of “striving for zero … to give it all away”.

    This week Feeney, 89, achieved his goal. The Atlantic Philanthropies, the foundation he set up in secret in 1982 and transferred almost all of his wealth to, has finally run out of money.

    As he signed papers to formally dissolve the foundation, Feeney, who is in poor health, said he was very satisfied with “completing this on my watch”. From his small rented apartment in San Francisco, he had a message for other members of the super-rich, who may have pledged to give away part of their fortunes but only after they have died: “To those wondering about Giving While Living: try it, you’ll like it.”

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From the Atlantic: How We Survive the Winter

    It is now widely accepted among experts that the United States is primed for a surge in cases at a uniquely perilous moment in our national history. “As we approach the fall and winter months, it is important that we get the baseline level of daily infections much lower than they are right now,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told me by email. For the past few weeks, the country has been averaging about 40,000 new infections a day. Fauci said that “we must, over the next few weeks, get that baseline of infections down to 10,000 per day, or even much less if we want to maintain control of this outbreak.”


    This is not inevitable. There’s still time to break out of the patterns of thinking that have brought the U.S. to the point of leading the world in deaths and economic losses. There are basic measures we can take to mitigate and prepare. I’ve been worried about this winter since last winter, so over the past few months I’ve spoken with dozens of experts about what can be done. Here is a distillation of the recurring recommendations. None of them should be revelatory. But that’s precisely the point.

    Accept Reality
    Plan for More Shutdowns
    Live Like You’re Contagious
    Build for the Pandemic
    Hunt the Virus

    All of these measures are contingent on reconceptualizing how this pandemic ends. They depend on common facts and clear information. There will be no fireworks or parades, only a slow march onward. Whether technological advances can help us chip away at the spread and severity of this disease will depend on how we use, distribute, and understand them.

    Throughout the pandemic, America’s most significant barrier to this progress has been Donald Trump……………………………….

    The lack of a scientific basis for a shared reality—and a willingness to accept that reality—continues to be America’s greatest weakness in this pandemic. This is all the more reason to prepare ourselves for the months ahead. Build emotional reserves where you can. Make concrete plans for how to isolate and quarantine; to maintain access to credible information; to get medical care quickly. Consider simple ways to help your communities. The process will serve you well, no matter how bad winter gets. Offer to help friends and family care for children. Ask yourself what you can do, right now, for the people who would be burdened most by new waves of illness. Do you have neighbors who wouldn’t be able to get out at all? Do you have elderly relatives who would be totally alone? “If you can teach them how to use Zoom right now,” Kissler advised, “that might be easier to do while we can still do it in person.”

    Well worth reading the whole.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The US police department that decided to hire social workers

    The Alexandria police chief, Mike Ward, was “sick and tired” of sending his officers to respond to 911 calls that they lacked the skills and time to handle. In this small Kentucky town of 10,000 people 15 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio, two-thirds of the calls police responded to were not criminal – instead, they were mental health crises and arguments resulting from long-brewing interpersonal conflicts.

    Police would show up, but they could rarely offer long-lasting solutions. Often, it was inevitable that they would be called back to the same address for the same problem again and again.

    “We’ve been tasked – sometimes unjustifiably – with solving the problems of our community,” said Ward, who retired last year. “Just call the police, they’ll take care of it. And we can’t do that. It’s unrealistic.”

    In 2016 he decided to try a new approach: he talked the city into hiring a social worker for the police department. “To an officer, they all thought I was batshit crazy,” he said of the police.

    The current police chief, Lucas Cooper, said he was “the most vocal opponent” of the plan at the time, thinking that the department should be using its budget to hire more officers for a force he viewed as stretched thin. But now four years later, Cooper sees the program as indispensable: it frees officers from repeat calls for non-criminal issues and gets residents the help they needed, but couldn’t get.
    He gave the example of a Vietnam war veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and would call 911 in the early hours of the morning after waking from nightmares.

    “He just didn’t have anybody else – so all he knew to do was call 911 and he knew police would come and he would talk to them,” said Cooper.

    Over the course of a year, the man called 911 about 60 times. When cops would show up and speak with him, he would calm down, but sometimes it could take hours, diverting away police resources at a time of day when few officers were on duty.

    “We knew we weren’t solving the problem, we were just putting a Band-Aid on it every time he called,” said Cooper.

    When the department hired on its first social worker in 2016, she was able to work with the man and connect him with medical treatment with Veterans Affairs. His calls to 911 stopped.

    It’s a start.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Frozen poo and narcissists’ eyebrows studies win Ig Nobel prizes

    To test the validity of a story in a work of ethnographic literature, Metin Eren, an anthropologist at Kent State University in Ohio, made a knife from his frozen faeces. He then set about butchering an animal hide, an endeavour that ended in failure.

    “It’s an honour to be recognised,” Eren said, before the ceremony in which he was honoured for his work on Thursday. “I’ve followed the Ig Nobels my entire life. It’s a dream come true. Really.”
    This year’s awards included a physics prize for work that recorded the shapes earthworms adopt when vibrated at high frequency. The peace prize honoured the governments of India and Pakistan for having their diplomats ring each other’s doorbells in the middle of the night and run away before anyone answered.

    The UK can once again hold its head up high. Chris Watkins, a psychologist at the University of Abertay, shared the economics prize. His research found that French kissing was more common between partners in areas of high income inequality. “If kissing, as hypothesised, is an important gesture for keeping a long-term relationship going, our data show that people engage in it more in economically harsher environments,” he said.

    Boris Johnson shared the medical education prize with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and a choice selection of other world leaders for demonstrating during the Covid-19 pandemic that politicians can have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors can.
    The acoustics prize went to a team that enticed a Chinese alligator to bellow at high pitch after inhaling helium. The work informed investigations into the role of bellows in communicating body size in courtship and territorial claims.
    The management prize went to five Chinese assassins who subcontracted the hit to each other but failed to get the job done.

  13. de stijl says:


    There is a lot to discuss as long as it not be the news.

    One of my favorite The Mountain Goats songs is not on any album only live.

    You Were Cool

    I always thought you were cool

    Great rave up at the end.

    I am distracting myself because we are so fucked.

  14. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: positive news for a change.

  15. Mister Bluster says:

    We Dismiss Potential Religious Allies At Our Peril
    Ignoring religious diversity makes polarization much worse.

    @Grewgills:..@Mu Yixiao:
    Yes, the Catholics and many mainline US Protestants have mostly retreated to a god of the gaps philosophy.

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..I will mourn and honor her as she deserves..

    I will cover my mirror and try not to think of my own mortality.

  17. de stijl says:


    Hear you.

    Lodge 49 is the best TV I’ve seen this year. That or Better Call Saul.

    In a sense it the longform version of The Big Lewbowski with a super awesome female co-lead.

    Dud abides – at times poorly but he tries bless his heart. Liz barrels.

    Liz counts out her tips every night. Every dollar lowers the debt.

    Liz also barrels off the side of a boat and swims to shore. Unbound capitalism will kill us. She just bailed.

    As good as Wyatt Russell is, Sonya Cassidy is better. And Russell’s Dud is star-making.

    Two siblings coping with death very differently.

    My favorite bit was the back alley jousting. Liz was so pumped. This show gets back of house restaurant weirdness.

  18. de stijl says:

    I think there is a cheeky Pynchon undercurrent. The Crying Of Lot 49 absurdity in Lodge 49.

    The coincidence of titles is too close.

  19. de stijl says:

    So I was pitched back in my chair listening to 1977 Talking Heads and I sneezed so hard I tipped the chair back on the floor and banged my head.

    I sneeze violent usually, but that was top floor intense.

    Bam! Down ya go.

  20. CSK says:

    What an amazing man, and what an astonishing story. Can you imagine Donald Trump doing this?

    Thanks for the link.

    I’ve often listened to rich people moan about how guilty their inherited wealth made them feel. The solution to that problem seems to me to be exasperatingly simple: Give the damn money away if it makes you feel so bad. Keep enough to live on yourself, and donate the rest to various causes. The alleviation of hunger. The eradication of disease. Other types of medical research. Education. Conservation.

  21. CSK says:

    And thanks for this link, as well. Good story. My only reservation would be the social workers getting into a situation that suddenly turns violent. Yes, they carry panic buttons, but maybe the back-up should be a little closer at hand.

  22. de stijl says:

    People were mean to you
    But I always thought you were cool
    People should have told you were awesome
    Instead of taking advantage of you

    I hope the people who did you wrong have trouble sleeping at night.

  23. CSK says:

    Well, Trump is back to misusing and abusing the word “proudly” again, as in his tweet this morning about the American people “proudly” electing him and the GOP in 2016.

    This hearkens back to when he remarked that “the American people are proudly saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.”

    I’ve said “Merry Christmas” a lot, but I’ve never said it “proudly.” Why would it be an occasion of pride for anyone?

  24. de stijl says:


    The ig nobel prizes are misnamed. Trump says it should be ignoble.

    His case, I agree man. Ignoble fits.

    God damned doofus can’t spell Nobel. Friggin idiot is our President. I hate us.

  25. Teve says:

    Trump in Bemidji, being totally not racist

    “You have good genes, you know that, right? You have good genes. A lot of it is about the genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe? The racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.”

  26. Teve says:

    “Going to an indoor Trump rally without masks may seem like a terrible idea, but a few lucky attendees will win the chance to meet Herman Cain!”

    —Jon Lovett

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ Creators Reach Settlement On Long-Running Court Battle Over Rights And Income
    This is Spinal Tap co-creators Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Michael McKean and Christopher Guest were singing Gimme Some Money on Friday. That’s after settling a long-running dispute over money derived from the film and merchandising related to the cult classic mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap.
    Shearer started the legal ball rolling in 2016, claiming that he and his co-creators had received just $81 in merchandising income and $98 in music sales income from their work on Spinal Tap. The so-called “Hollywood accounting” practices were blamed, plus Vivendi’s screwing up trademark rights. The suit asked for damages and requested reversion of rights to the project.

    Mick Shrimpton: As long as there’s, you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock and roll.

  28. de stijl says:


    This is the model quite a few cities and countries are doing in Europe.

    This is the model that serious minded Defund The Police proponents are advocating. Using social workers and de-escalators for domestic call and adjuncts for speeding tickets and minor traffic violations.

    “Defund the police” is really bad messaging.

    Overall, the budget is the same or slightly increased, but police portion is reduced as the social workers and adjuncts portion goes up.

    The pie is the same size if not a smidge bigger, but the slices are re-allocated.

    People in need of mental health services get attention. Street people. Guy going 42 on a 35 mph street.

    Hyper aggressive bully boys looking for the opportunity to beat someone are not the best call for a lot of police / public interactions that get 911 calls.

    Remember the “Beer Summit” early in the Obama years? Henry Gates got arrested for trying get into his house that he owned.

    This should have been a five minute call ending with “Sorry you lost your keys, sir.” somehow got escalated into an arrest. By a sergeant who should know better. An older guy who walks with a cane who owns the house.

    That is terrible policing. Smdh. Come on! Love his series on PBS, btw – Laura Linney had some hard core grands and great grands.

    Minor stuff gets escalated into “assault on an officer” and results in 8 minutes and 48 seconds of a guy kneeling on another man’s neck until he asphyxiates. A guy got murdered because he passed out in his car.

  29. Gustopher says:

    I have been quietly enjoying the many references to Ruth Badger Ginsburg on Twitter today. The Notorious RBG, foiled of spellcheckers.

  30. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Somebody kicked their lawyering up to eleven.

    Most lawyers only go up to ten.

  31. de stijl says:


    It amused me when she had to go to her staff to understand the Notorious RBG reference.


    I abandoned Twitter, but I imagine #Notorious and variants are trending today.

  32. de stijl says:

    I am looking forward to the Nandi Bushell vs. Dave Grohl drum off competition.

    Nandi will win because she is such a badass.

  33. de stijl says:

    I have been playing Nandi Bushell all day.

    You every now again just remind yourself she is just 11 years old.

    She is just such a freak.

    Crikey, she is such a boss!

    Tomorrow can take care of itself.