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. Teve says:

    Jax says:
    Friday, March 19, 2021 at 22:48

    @Bill: Ohhhh, hey, isn’t tomorrow the “next” big day when Trump is supposed to be inaugurated again? Are you all prepped up and ready for your super fearless, never trips over anything and can DEFINITELY walk down a ramp, stairs and 700 yards without a golf cart or guide to take power again? And there’s supposed to be some resignations and flights to Gitmo, right? Do you have any idea what time that’s supposed to go down?

    I damn near forgot, I was too busy watching funny cat videos.

    I do recommend YouTube videos of the type ‘this two-year-old and her puppy’ for mental health relief after the previous unpleasantness.

  2. Teve says:
  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    A couple of weeks ago, Prof J had a post on ending forever wars. Another perspective:

    Why Is It So Tough to Leave Afghanistan?
    The foreign policy establishment just can’t admit when it got things wrong.

    The old, we can’t leave and waste all that blood and treasure argument.

  4. Sleeping Dog says:

    Remember the Former Guy’s pride and joy the gold plated Boeing 757 with is name down the side? Well it has foundered on hard times.

    It is curious that it wasn’t moved to the southwest after he was inaugurated, he knew he wouldn’t use it for a minimum 4 years. Perhaps even then, it wasn’t air worthy.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    Once again we have a Trumper spending way too much of his time here. Of course his posts are nonsense. Of course they are easy to mock. He’s a Trumper. But every thread I’ve been following for the past few days has devolved into a shouting match with this clown, which is exactly his aim in coming here. Why are we giving him what he wants and letting him win?

  6. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    That poor, abused 757 will never fly again.

  7. CSK says:

    Billed referred to me as a “retard” on yesterday’s open forum. Is that a badge of honor?

  8. CSK says:

    Whoops; I meant “Bill.” Must have coffee.

  9. Sleeping Dog says:


    That is my thought as well. If the article is accurate and air worthy 757’s are available for $10-15M, then a plane that the engines alone might cost a million or three to get running or replaced. Not to forget about the condition of an airframe that has endured multiple freeze-thaw cycles…

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Not to forget about the condition of an airframe that has endured multiple freeze-thaw cycles…

    I don’t know much about planes (like nothing beyond “they fly”) but I gotta ask why a freeeze/thaw cycle would be damaging to one. Damn near every time they fly they go thru a freeze/thaw cycle. It makes sense that storing a plane in the Arizona desert is better than off a NY taxiway, so maybe it’s the high atmospheric moisture in the F/T cycle?

  11. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    The first generation 757 model was my favorite narrow body. It had a lavatory midships, which allowed for a space to hang around. Later versions moved the lavatories to the front and back.

  12. Sleeping Dog says:


    Commercial planes in regular operation are inspected on an near daily basis and in cold climates are de-iced before takeoff. moisture doesn’t have a chance to settle into the cavities of the wings, bearings etc. Rust can develop on steel components and possible pitting on aluminum. Though is is no longer a commercial aircraft, whatever company that was retained to have it operational would have had a similar routine. It appears that this plane has been sitting and not maintained, so it would need a thorough inspection and repair of any items found deficient, before it could be flown.

  13. CSK says:

    There was an article about this (actually an excerpt from a forthcoming book) in today’s Boston Globe:

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: In other words, it’s the moisture that’s the problem, not the freeze/thaw.

  15. Mimai says:

    Where’s sam? If I might be so bold as to sub for him. Good morning.

  16. OzarkHillbilly says:
  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Hoo boy:

    Canadian professor threatened to fail student caught up in Myanmar coup

    Because of the pandemic, many international students at Canadian universities have returned to their home countries, taking courses and exams online. On 1 February, the military seized control of the government in Myanmar, ousting democratically elected lawmakers and jailing dissidents.

    In an email, the student explained that “total communications blackout” is expected in the country – and asks to take an exam at a later date.

    “Even the internet came down with Covid-19?” the professor said.

    “The internet did not come down with [Covid-19]. There was a military coup where I am living and almost 200 protesters have been shot [as of] now,” the student wrote. “The regime has decided to shut off all communications by tomorrow.”

    The student then asked the instructor if they should be worried about missing the test.

    “Of course you should. The next time you miss something, it’s over,” the professor responded. “By the way, your remarks (both related to this course and to your home country) made me wonder how you understand reality,” he continued. “People don’t get shot for just protesting, but for a lot deeper reasons.”

    How privileged must one be to be this clueless?

  18. Sleeping Dog says:


    That would be fair summation, but remember since moisture expands when frozen, the potential for the resulting ice to cause damage needs to be factored in.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yes. As I said at first, “so maybe it’s the high atmospheric moisture in the F/T cycle?” with excessive condensation etc.

  20. Jax says:
  21. CSK says:

    One of the wonderful things about scientific and medical advances is that they’re never discrete entities. They almost always lead to something else.

  22. Joe says:

    Thanks, CSK. That was a cool read.

  23. Jax says:

    @CSK: I was pretty excited to find that article, I’m sending it on to a vaccine-hesitant friend who was complaining that “The vaccine was made too fast and why isn’t there a vaccine for cancer yet?” She didn’t believe me when I told her the mRNA technology has been around for quite some time, it just needed tailored for COVID. I don’t know that it will change her mind, but anytime I see a crack in their media bubbles, I feel obligated to poke around the crack a little bit with additional facts. 🙂

  24. CSK says:

    I like the cut of Dr. Tureci’s jib.

  25. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK: The headline was a bit misleading, but it’s a cool story nonetheless. I didn’t see anything that explained where this book has been hiding, though — how was it not already known?

  26. CSK says:
  27. Kathy says:


    She must have missed several HPV vaccines.

    I like to remind people that medical science exists in our time, and not in some science fiction movie. We still cannot invent something today and mass produce it the next day. Had the decades of R&D on mRNA not taken place before, there’s no way we could suddenly jump start it to get COVID vaccines.

    That said, other technologies long in development have also yielded COVID vaccines, such as the J&J and AstraZeneca viral vector vaccines. So it’s not all mRNA.

    It does bear pointing out, too, that both these technologies are forms of genetic engineering

  28. DrDaveT says:


    This may help

    Yes and no. This article asserts that McCarthy’s theory is not that Shakespeare got his material from the George North book, but that both Shakespeare and George North got material from Thomas North’s (lost, inferred) plays. It doesn’t say anything about why the George North book and its striking overlap with Shakespeare content hadn’t been remarked on before.

    Thanks for the link(s).

  29. CSK says:

    Literary discoveries are sometimes like that. Back in 2018, a Tufts University senior named Miranda Phaal found an acrostic in Paradise Lost that no one had ever before noticed. (It relates to the fall of Adam and Eve and the fall of Satan.) How many reams of books, articles, and dissertations had been written about Milton prior to that?

  30. Mimai says:

    I just want to say that these (random) discussions are what brought/keep me here. More of this, less of that (I think you know what I’m referring to). As you were.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: in the Guardian article they mentioned that the manuscript has never been found in book form and speculated that’s why it hadn’t been compiled into the Shakespeare searches before.

  32. CSK says:

    In a thread that’s only 32 posts long, we’ve already touched on puppy videos, Afghanistan, 757s, Myanmar, vaccines, Shakespeare, and Milton. OTB may not be unique, but damn close.

    You’re welcome.

  33. Mimai says:

    Ha! The fact that you counted and listed is…..well…..great.

  34. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: Yes. This Open Forum thing seems to be working out pretty well.

  35. CSK says:

    Unlike Einstein (see Sam’s initial post at yesterday’s open forum), I can count.

    And I don’t miss a beat. 😀

  36. Jax says:

    @Mimai: We didn’t used to have Open Forums, we would discuss this stuff inside the blog post comment sections and the threads would get totally derailed from the OP. Our hosts were kind enough to give us space to entertain ourselves if they got busy, especially after Doug went offline last year.

    Speaking of whom, did he bugger off on us again?

  37. Gustopher says:

    Having finally bothered to watch the Biden stumbling on the stairs up to Air Force One video the right is using to claim Biden is feeble, I have to say that I am impressed by just how many times Biden managed to catch his foot on the stairs.

    I counted three stumbles on a single flight of stairs, in high wind. He catches himself, and then does it again on the next stair. But he made it, and was in good cheer, and we’re proud of him!

    I’m betting he has new shoes with pointier toes than he is used to. That’s what makes me trip over stairs repeatedly. And why I always look for box toes.

  38. CSK says:

    I was thinking of new shoes with a pointed toe as well. Also, a sole that may protrude slightly from the toe end of the shoe.

  39. Mimai says:

    @CSK: Nice callback! (I’ll excuse the vanity)

    @Jax: Thanks for the backstory. I think that might have been around the time I stumbled into this place… a lurker.

    I do want to clarify that I’ve enjoyed the topical posts too. The discussions about partisanship and moral frameworks are but two recent examples.

    The hosts are very generous with their time. And their goodwill.

  40. Mimai says:

    @CSK: @Gustopher:
    I wonder if the stairs were retrofitted to accommodate shoes with lifts. Perhaps they never got around to, er, unretrofitting (?) them.

  41. Gustopher says:

    Washington State requires two comorbidities for getting a covid vaccine in the next group — Phase 1B, Tier 3, Subgroup 7, Team Alpaca, Tranche 11.1 or whatever they are calling it.

    It looks like my history of blood clots might not qualify, but being a smoker does. And my obesity definitely qualifies (BMI 30.2, better have another donut just to be sure)

    How many cigarettes must one smoke before being a smoker? I guess if we are being pedantic it might be just one. Does it have to be cigarettes, or does pot count? What about using a vaporizer that is easier on my lungs than burning the pot?

    Not sure if pedantic counts as a disability. That might move me into Tier 2.

    (Anxiety is covered under the ADA, so it’s definitely a disability, and I have that, but that seems more dishonest than taking up smoking…)

  42. CSK says:

    @Mimai:It’s an interesting question, but how would you retrofit stairs to accommodate lifts?

    Trump’s lifts were very obvious; almost his entire heel was sometimes visible.

  43. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You’ve reminded me of a story my roommate told me. She was working at one of the libraries at MIT (reshelving books) and overheard a discussion between one of the librarians and a student who had been several months overdue in returning a library book. Finally he burst out: “look–I was in Iran. They had a revolution!”
    The librarian was taken aback and said “oh. Okay then!”

  44. flat earth luddite says:

    Unlike you cousins to the north, us Or-e-gun-ians continue our own, unique path. Despite discussions of modeling and who’s on first (still a favorite comdey routine), the state website does not get into any of the morbidities or co-morbidities. I’m a cancer survivor, over 65, multiple c0-morbidities. I qualified because I’m over 65. No questions in the system about any of the morbidities, only whether or not I lived or worked in an assisted living environment, or required at-home nursing. My almost SIL (engaged to my daughter for 8 years now) has multiple health issues and works front line in a grocery, and doesn’t yet qualify. My wife has multiple health issues, and doesn’t qualify because she’s only 62. She’s using me as the guinea pig, and hopes to get her shots in May. So say we all!

    BTW, I’m at the point where it looks like I might live to 70. This leads me to the conclusion that I may have to start drinking and smoking a lot more. To say nothing about more donuts.

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: The lifts are probably why he had trouble with the ramp at West Point. But he’d apparently rather take a lot of speculation about ill health than admit to the lifts.

  46. CSK says:

    Well, it’s all of a piece, isn’t it, along with his refusal to wear a mask (I wonder if he’s the source of the plague at Mar-a-Lago); his insistence on eating crap food; forcing his late doctor to write a letter proclaiming him the healthiest president in U.S. history; and declaring himself a “very stable genius” because he passed a test to detect Alzheimer’s disease. He won’t allow any signs of weakness.

    But we all know that the emperor has no clothes–and never did.

  47. CSK says:

    And speaking of the emperor having no clothes, I present, for your delectation:

    I’m sure he looks far worse now.

  48. flat earth luddite says:

    An even simpler explanation is available. Look at the slope of that stairway. It’s a lot closer to a ship’s ladder. Very steep slope. Not at all what humanoid bipedal types are used to. Like trying to use an escalator that’s not running, wrong pitch, wrong step length. I’m thinking that we may need to rethink this whole biped thing, ’cause it doesn’t work real well a lot of the time.

  49. dazedandconfused says:

    The issue is they make those rollup stairs with a lot of steps on short risers to accommodate old and otherwise infirm folks. Normally they are left bare, aluminum with a lot of holes with raised edges to provide traction and excellent drainage so they aren’t slippery. The problem comes with the laying of thick red carpeting over short, narrow steps for VIPs.

    Feature or bug, I cynically wonder…

  50. CSK says:

    Spectators from outside Japan will not be allowed to attend the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer.

  51. DrDaveT says:


    Team Alpaca

    Damn. I’m in Team Vicunha. I think they’re alphabetical by priority order…

  52. CSK says:

    Better than Team Zebra, anyway.

  53. Mimai says:


    how would you retrofit stairs to accommodate lifts?

    I haven’t the foggiest idea. My initial wonder was snarky, but now that I wonder about it a bit more, it’s not that outrageous of an idea. Strange times we live in.

  54. Sleeping Dog says:


    The thought of clicking that link is disgusting, I can’t imaging my reaction if I viewed it. Stormy D, who absolutely qualifies as a good source, said he is tiny.

  55. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    To quote Ms. Daniels: “A guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart.”

    Sounds appealing.

  56. sam says:

    Of all his plays, the greatest opening:

    Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
    And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
    Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
    Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
    Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
    Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
    And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
    He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
    But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
    Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
    I, that am rudely stamp’d, and want love’s majesty
    To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
    I, that am curtail’d of this fair proportion,
    Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
    Deformed, unfinish’d, sent before my time
    Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
    And that so lamely and unfashionable
    That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
    Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
    Have no delight to pass away the time,
    Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
    And descant on mine own deformity:
    And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
    To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
    I am determined to prove a villain
    And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
    Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
    By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
    To set my brother Clarence and the king
    In deadly hate the one against the other:
    And if King Edward be as true and just
    As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
    This day should Clarence closely be mew’d up,
    About a prophecy, which says that ‘G’
    Of Edward’s heirs the murderer shall be.
    Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
    Clarence comes.

  57. CSK says:

    There isn’t a single line in that that isn’t breathtaking.

  58. Gustopher says:

    @flat earth luddite: Biden has done this countless times. Not so much lately, but countless times. VP gets similar treatment, right?

    I’m going with the shoes.

    Sometime in the past 4 years, he started wearing shoes with pointier toes, and now it’s like walking up those steep, narrow stairs with clown shoes.

    And I remain utterly impressed with his ability to catch his foot on the stair multiple times. That’s dedication to the art of awkwardness.

    He knows his foot fits on the stair, and where the ball of his foot should land and he’s not sure what happened the first time, but he’s going to do it again. And again. And only then will pay close attention. That’s pure muscle memory right there.

    It reminds me of the people allegedly killed by floor mats catching under the brake petal in Toyotas. There was a rash of those incidents reported, almost always a new car or a loaner, and a lot of evidence suggests the drivers were pressing the gas instead of the brake, but it all got caught into a narrative that was true in a very small number of cases.

    You know how to do something without thinking, something changes, and then you do it wrong.

  59. steve says:

    “This leads me to the conclusion that I may have to start drinking and smoking a lot more. To say nothing about more donuts.”

    Smoking sucks. Go with the donuts. If inadequate, more bacon will work and dont forget cheesecake.


  60. Mister Bluster says:

    @steve:..Go with the donuts…and dont forget cheesecake.

    Donut breath and cheesecake breath are ok. Nicotine breath just stinks.
    Locomotive Breath?…only if you can play the flute.

  61. flat earth luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    There’s a candy store in Seaside Oregon that sells rashers of bacon. Covered in dark chocolate. Drizzled with maple syrup.
    Nature’s most perfect food? If not, it’s real close.
    Time for a road trip.

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: If Peacock had more programming like that Twitter link, I’d have to consider checking out some programming on NBC.

    Unfortunately, most NBC programming is still the same unwatchable dreck (with the exception of the first season of “The Good Place”) that I didn’t miss at all while I was living in Korea.

  63. sam says:


    Go with the donuts. If inadequate, more bacon will work

    I may have mentioned this before, but here in Albuquerque there’s a donut shop that sells red chili chocolate bacon donuts. As good at they sound.

  64. Mimai says:

    @sam: New Mexico seems to have an unusually high volume of donut shops. I’m not as familiar with Abq but the eastern part of the state is abundant. What’s that about?

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I have to assume that Orange County, New York is named after William of Orange rather than Valencia, Navel, or Cara Cara Orange?

  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: So essentially, we’re looking at a typical Trump “success story” here? Trump buys an asset, probably at above market value because he’s a MOU type, and turns it into something that will cost more to repair than it will be worth through neglect and hubris. Got it!

  67. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    He managed to destroy the Eastern Airlines Boston-NY-D.C. shuttle a few years after buying it. I’m still annoyed about that.

  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Interesting. Wildly speculative, but I can see how connecting the dots to make this a workable theory will work. And given the way that intellectual property was treated during the era, it’s a very plausible theory. I recall from my music history studies Handel responding to the accusation that he had stolen the theme of another composer replied by asserting that he hadn’t stolen it, he’d improved it by turning it into music.

  69. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Quite likely, though I’d need to look it up to confirm.

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Of course, what ever he touches, dies or in this case becomes fodder for the breaker’s dock.

  70. Michael Cain says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: More recently, Led Zeppelin. Who were famous for either not giving credit, or for filing off serial numbers. But won the Stairway to Heaven suit, where the judges ruled that even if an eight-bar finger-picked chord progression could be copyrighted — and it couldn’t — you couldn’t claim royalties for the seven-and-a-half minutes that followed.

  71. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: @CSK: I can’t bring myself to give a flying fork about Biden’s gait. To be fair, I didn’t give a rat’s heinie about Trump and the “steep ramp from the platform” either. I’ve had drop toe or foot drop from the time I was young and I can literally trip on the seam joining to pieces of wall-to-wall carpet–and have. I can also trip on light cords, cracks in the sidewalk (dislocated a shoulder during that fall), magazines, the binding strip that covers the carpet edge between the kitchen tile and the carpet in the next room, and the tail end of the strap that is sticking out on a backpack situated under the student’s desk. And I’ve been able to do all of these things since before I was 5 years old. What ever gait issues Trump or Biden have are their own business and MEAN NOTHING.

  72. dazedandconfused says:

    I don’t believe a charge of plagiarism has been leveled, it’s was just that a program designed to detect plagiarism detected something.

  73. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: On smoking, it seems to depend on 1) what you smoke (and maybe how often) and 2) who’s asking the question. While I was married, I fell into the bad habit of occasionally smoking a cigar or a pipe because the scent of cigar/pipe smoke pleased my wife when we were sitting on our porch. (The smell of day-old smoke or tobacco ash indoors never pleased either of us, so I never smoked indoors.) I’m not a heavy smoker at all–a three ounce tin of tobacco is about a year’s supply (with good humidification), and 10 cigars will last me about 2 months. I have always told my doctors about my smoking since I started.

    The response from my doctor in Spokane (where my ex-wife and I lived when I started) was that my smoking “shouldn’t cause a problem as long as it was occasional.” In Longview, my doctor thought I should quit because tobacco is dangerous. Post-divorce Vancouver’s doctor believed that tobacco was dangerous, but that pipes and cigars mostly have second-hand danger because the smoker doesn’t inhale (much). My Korean doctors never cared about my smoking habits at all; don’t know why. While I was with Kaiser, the policy was that any tobacco was too much, and I got repeated pleadings that I should use their smoking cessation program. My current doctors–personal physician, pulmonologist, and cardiologist–all agree that cigars and pipes don’t constitute “smoking” in the same way as cigarettes do and all agree that I’m a non-smoker. The hepatologist doesn’t care as long as I don’t drink alcohol while I smoke.

    Hope that helped.

  74. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I was always surprised that they allowed spectators from outside Japan the previous times, TBH.

  75. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Cain: “…you couldn’t claim royalties for the seven-and-a-half minutes that followed.”

    Good point.

  76. Jax says:

    Sigh….another big Q day, still no second inauguration for the former President. What’s the word on Lucianne, CSK? How disappointed are they?

  77. CSK says:

    I just checked. They seem to be ignoring it. Actually, the Qanoners at have always kept pretty quiet about their affiliation. It might be too embarrassing an association even for them.

    Qanon itself appears to be busy promoting anti-vaccine marches.

  78. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @sam: “Now is the winter of our discontent” is one of those opening lines literate people (even those who haven’t read the entire work) recognize at once; as with “Call me Ishmael.” The late Pat Conroy used “I wear the ring” (opening line to The Lords of Discipline) as an admission ticket to his funeral.

  79. CSK says:

    You may hate me for this, but I always felt Conroy was one of those writers who never felt compelled to say in ten words what he could say in a hundred. Or a thousand.

    Despite that, I’ve read his novels and enjoyed them. They certainly will keep one busy for a while.

  80. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: That’s true. I’m prejudiced toward him because I’m friends with one of his brothers.

  81. CSK says:

    I’ve never read anything about Conroy’s siblings. I assume they liked his work. Is that correct?