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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A Texas man who became a national hero after he waited seven hours in line to vote in last year’s presidential primary has been arrested and charged with voting illegally. Hervis Rogers, who is Black, became a symbol of a determination to have one’s voice heard.

    “I wanted to get my vote in, voice my opinion,” he told a local ABC affiliate after his long wait to cast his ballot in the 2020 election. “I wasn’t going to let anything stop me, so I waited it out.”

    But on Wednesday, according to Houston Public Media, he was arrested and charged with two counts of illegal voting. The Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, is reportedly bringing charges that allege Rogers voted while on parole for a 1995 conviction for burglary and intent to commit theft. In Texas, it is illegal for anyone convicted of a felony to vote until they complete their sentence, including probation and parole. Rogers’ parole began in 2004 and was set to expire in June 2020. The Texas primaries were held in March.

    Rogers cannot afford $100,000 bail and is being held in jail, said Thomas Buser-Clancy, an attorney with the Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is helping represent Rogers.

    If I said what I feel, especially when it comes to that smug sumbitch Paxton, JJ would have to ban me for life, so instead I will just say,

    Goddamn Texas, a banana republic if ever there was one.

  2. SKI says:

    Apparently that spa incident may have been completely staged

    There is increasing doubt among law enforcement and staff at the Wi Spa whether there was ever was a transgender person there to begin with. Anonymous sources within the LAPD tell the Blade they have been unable to find any corroborating evidence that there was a transgender person present on that day.

    Similarly, a source at the Spa told the Blade there’s no record of any of its usual transgender clients on its appointments guest list on the day in question. Treatment at the Spa is by appointment only, and most of its transgender clients are well known to the staff.

    Several other factors cast doubt on the veracity of the claims in the video. Cubaangel’s Instagram account is almost exclusively Christian memes, which begs the question why she chose to go to a high-end spa well known for being LGBTQ friendly. During Cubaangel’s video, no transgender person can be seen, and no other witnesses have come forward to confirm the allegations made. It’s also not the first time Wi Spa has been targeted for catering to transgender people.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The much-discussed ‘California exodus’ isn’t real, study finds

    “Sliced and diced by geography, race, income and other demographic factors, our efforts have produced a clearer picture of who perceives California as the Golden state versus a failed state,” said John A Pérez, the University of California regent, in a statement on the research. “The empirical data will be, at once, disappointing to those who want to write California’s obituary, as well as a call to action for policymakers to address the challenges that have caused some to lose faith in the California dream.”

    Discussion of the flight from California has often focused on the state’s high tax rate, its expensive housing and high cost of living, and quality-of-life concerns such as homelessness, particularly in more conservative circles. Elon Musk decamped to Texas in 2020, saying California was taking its status “for granted”.

    But more than 3,000 Californians surveyed said at a nearly 2-to-1 margin that they thought the state was a great place to reside and raise a family. “The majority of Californians still believe in the ‘California dream’,” researchers said.

    They did find that belief in the California dream was varied with demographics, economic status, and political affiliations. According to the researchers, Spanish speakers, Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans and younger California residents were more “optimistic”. On the other hand, middle-class residents, white respondents, older Californians and Republicans were more “pessimistic”.

    Hmmmm, “white respondents, older Californians and Republicans were more “pessimistic”. In other words, people who listen to FOX news.

    These numbers:

    It also doesn’t seem like moneyed Californians are decamping en masse, nor are big investors. “There is no evidence of ‘millionaire flight’ from California,” researchers said, pointing out that “California’s economy attracts as much venture capital as all other states combined”.

    The analysis showed that California’s portion of venture capital money was 48%, down a bit but in keeping with typical year-to-year changes, but the state continued to eclipse its oft-discussed competitors. From 1995 to 2005, New York and Texas each got approximately 6% of all US venture capital funding. New York’s share doubled to 12% by 2020, while Texas’s portion dropped to 3%.

    But Elon Musk moved to Texas because California was taking its status “for granted”. Yeah. Sure. The real reason is they didn’t make special arrangements allowing him to so WeTF he wanted.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @SKI: I am shocked, shocked I tell you!

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    In California’s interior, there’s no escape from the desperate heat: ‘Why are we even here?’

    Global heating is driving stronger, longer heatwaves in the region, said Jose Pablo Ortiz Partida, a climate scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit advocacy group.

    Researchers have been warning of such extreme heatwaves for decades, he said, but the barrage of heat surges that California and the western US have been alarming, he said. Temperature records are being broken earlier than expected or predicted.

    “We are breaking temperature records this summer. And are going to keep breaking temperature records, as long as we keep burning fossil fuels,” said Ortiz, who lives in the Valley. “It’s infuriating, it’s tiring and it’s emotionally draining to see.”

    The vicious cycle of the climate crisis has merged with a vicious cycle of inequity in the region. Racial disparities in access to shade and air conditioning are increasingly becoming dangerous, even deadly.

    Here, changing weather patterns have wrought not only periods of extreme heat, but also an extended drought – two phenomena that feed into each other. The heat has caused water reserves to evaporate too quickly, drying out the reservoirs that feed the region’s $50b agricultural industry. With scarcely any moisture left in the ground, the desiccated landscape heats up like a hot plate, amplifying the scorching ambient temperatures.
    In Cantua Creek, and throughout the valley, the over-pumping of groundwater has led to a concentrating of nitrates from pesticides, fertilizer and dairy waste runoff from farms and naturally occurring arsenic. Mendoza and her neighbors aren’t able to drink the water from their taps, so trucks lug jugs of potable water to them each day. “We don’t want anything big, you know,” Mendoza said. “Just somewhere to stay cool. And clean water.”

    “On days like this,” she added, “I just want to be able to shower in tranquility”.

    The future does not look so bright for the Central Valley.

  6. CSK says:

    I just learned over at that Mike Pence may have been a Deep State plant since 2008.

  7. Monala says:


    It begins… a teacher is being fired for assigning a Ta-Nehisi Coates essay and discussing white privilege in a “contemporary issues class.”

    Replying to @JoyAnnReid

    “These charges of dismissal about Mr. Hawn refusing to provide his students with access to varying points of view, which is required under Tennessee law.”

    So when discussing WWII you must also teach the benefits of Hitler and the Holocaust?

    Replying to @NolaLegalmvp and @JoyAnnReid

    This right here is the flaw in their thinking. When they teach about 911, are they required to talk about the good Bin Laden did? Nope. They really only object when they’re the bad guy.

  8. charon says:

    Murdoch Disinformation Channel and COVID:

    The Murdoch family are now mass murderers to rival the Sacklers. That is not actually hyperbole. It’s empirical. You can check the rising body counts from those regions that have bought into this …

  9. charon says:


    But Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch has described the network as the “loyal opposition” to the Biden administration, and that includes the fight to vaccinate the public against the pandemic.

    And now huge swaths of Republicans say they are not and will not be vaccinated. It’s a culture war issue rather than a health one because that’s the lens through which Fox presents the world to its viewers.

  10. CSK says:

    Well, this is entertaining: a seven-point plan to restore Donald Trump to the presidency….in just a few days!

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    Would you like to invest in a company that makes gnome underwear? You’ll be rich!

  12. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Certainly. Just give me time to complete my purchase of that big bridge down in Brooklyn…

  13. Bob@Youngstown says:

    The story of Hervis Rodgers prompted me to consider the role played by the government in voter registrations.
    There are any number of ways that a person can request to become a registered voter in a voting district, I’m focused on what happens after the registration request gets to the appropriate county. I’m assuming that the county checks to see if that person is eligible to vote and assigns a precinct, subsequently preparing a list of eligible voters. It is from that list (precinct-eligible voters) that the voter rolls are prepared and provided to the precinct workers.

    Presumably, Mr. Rodgers was on that list of eligible voters, otherwise he would not have been given a ballot. The point is the County Board of Voter Registrations gave Mr. Rodgers sanction to vote, having found him eligible.

    Paxton should be looking at the county for their failure to check on Mr. Rodgers’ eligibility.

  14. Kathy says:
  15. Kathy says:


    Well, they put the “somehow” right at the top rather than in the middle.

    Does that qualify as innovative?

  16. Stormy Dragon says:


    Goddamn Texas, a banana republic if ever there was one.

    “If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent out Texas and live in Hell” — General Philip Henry Sheridan

  17. CSK says:


  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    Anti-woke Democrats.

    A growing number of Democrats are ringing the alarm that their party sounds — and acts — too judgmental, too sensitive, too “woke” to large swaths of America.

    Why it matters: These Democrats warn that by jamming politically correct terms or new norms down the throats of voters, they risk exacerbating the cultural wars — and inadvertently helping Trumpian candidates.

    Top Democrats confide that they’re very aware of the danger. Already, we’ve seen a widespread pullback in the “defund the police” rhetoric.

  19. Kathy says:


    The very first point seems to begin with “release the Kraken”

  20. CSK says:

    You mean the mention of Achilles’ heel?

  21. CSK says:

    According to OANN, Mark Zuckerberg coordinated with Team Obama to install Biden as president.

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    First World Problems in the Age of Covid*
    Due to the lack of employees today is the third day that my usual haunt the local Panera has shut down inside dining. This is not new. Indoor dining hours have been cut back to a 3 pm close when it is open. This is the first time that they have been shut down completely inside this many days in a row. Two weeks ago one of the managers told me that they were ready to stay open till 10pm. That lasted one shift. The doors are open for Rapid Pick Up, Grub Hub till 3pm.
    I can sit at an outside table and use the internet (no electric for laptop charger) but since the doors are not open to use the rest room I don’t pick up coffee and I barely sip my water bottle till it starts raining or my battery runs down or I gotta’ go to Casey’s and take a leak. The battery usually lasts longer than the bladder. The sign on the door says that the Drive thru will be available till 9pm tonight. The other day when I visited the Drive Thru for my Coffee Club fix at 5:15pm (all the mud you can drink for $10.05/month tax included) the Drive Thru had just shut down at 5pm. The place was totally shuttered. No Panera for me! This is getting ugly.
    So here I am at the new Starbucks in town. This Starbucks is nice. Many of the tables have electric outlets for chargers. I think I even saw an outlet or two on the patio the first time I was here. I could stand to spend some time here but the small Pike Place Roast coffee is $2.51/cup. (They dumped the Dark Roast just before I got here.) I will be finding out soon what the refill policy is.
    One of my other options when Panera is closed is the Dunkin’ (formerly Dunkin’ Donuts). They put out a sign in their parking lot when their inside seating is open. I also get a free donut and the senior discount with my AARP card. (damnit! I forgot to ask about the senior discount here at ‘bucks when I ordered my coffee. Not the first time I’ve been somewhere, even a place that I know offers the discount, and I forget to mention it. I was at the Taco Bell recently and the cashier said “And I see you get the Senior Discount.” “You got that right.” I said. Of course the next time I rang the Bell it was a different cashier who didn’t mention it and I didn’t think of it till I was looking at my receipt.)
    My other option is MickeyD’s. Senior Coffee 88cents. Free refills and a good Wifi connection. There are two McDonald’s left in town. Once there were four. For some reason one of them eliminated all the electric outlets available for public use. Fortunately the one closest to my digs still offers working electric outlets.

    *I am quoting my pseudonym.

  23. Teve says:

    @Mister Bluster: my misophonia prevents me from sitting in a McDonald’s. because you can’t sit there for 5 seconds without a screeching alarm going off, usually multiple ones at the same time.

  24. Mister Bluster says:

    From what little I have read this appears to be an unpleasant malady to say the least. I hope you are able to manage it effectively.
    Mc Donalds is not my first choice in my quest for free internet connections. Even at 88cents/cup it is a good $15 a month more than the Panera Coffee Club. However since my hearing is declining in my old age annoying sounds don’t bother me much. In fact screaming and screeching little kids are one of the few things I can hear well. It is music to my failing ears.

  25. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Anti-woke Democrats.

    Ah yes, long time Democrat Peggy Noonan.

  26. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    From what little I have read this appears to be an unpleasant malady to say the least. I hope you are able to manage it effectively.

    Worst part is the awareness that even though listening to the person in the next cubicle chewing is like having a needle stabbed into your ear repeatedly, saying something about it would make you look like a nut, so you just have to sit there and endure the torture.

  27. becca says:

    @Michael Reynolds: While I think this is worrisome, Mike Allen and co are very excitable boys when it comes to the fate of the Dems. Allen has always struck me as a concern troll on anything that smells liberal to him. Still…

  28. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I also total don’t get the whole ASMR thing, because again, ASMR videos are like torture for me.

  29. Mister Bluster says:

    @Stormy Dragon:..ASMR

    I am so out of touch that I had to look that up. I’m not all that eager to discover how this particular stimulus will manifest itself here at Starbucks.
    Maybe I’ll check it out later.

  30. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Picture a YouTube video that’s 15 minutes of someone whispering into a microphone while gently rubbing a balloon with their fingertips. Apparently a lot of people really enjoy it, but again, for me it’s like water torture.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    The reference was to Eric Adams, the Black ex-cop who just won the NYC primary.

    Before you reflexively dismiss, take a look at who voted for which candidate. POC did not vote for the progressive candidates, richer white people did. Progressives are the privilege faction in the Democratic Party – more educated, wealthier and safer.

    Progressives are scaring away Hispanic voters in disturbing numbers. The whole victory-through-demographics idea is rather threadbare if we’re alienating the very demos we’re relying on to save us. White elites have appropriated BLM without regard for the opinions of Black people, and annoyed the fuck out of Hispanics by insisting they change their language to conform to woke English speakers. Despite caging children Trump gained 10 points among Hispanic voters.

    The blue wave we all saw coming was killed by ‘defund’ and ‘socialism.’ If we lose Congress in 18 months it’s the end of any progress, quite possibly the beginning of end of the United States.

    Look at the facts. You know, like we supposedly do and Republicans don’t? Stop playing faction, look at what we are doing – or failing to do – for the actual people we are meant to be helping.

  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    BTW, while you’re thinking up your next facile, silly, dismissive response, consider this: had Bernie won the nom, there is not the slightest doubt that Trump would have won. This country was saved by Congressman Jim Clyburn throwing Black support behind Biden.

  33. Gustopher says:



    Misophonia: the sounds of miso soup being made. Often extended to the sounds of any soy product.

    Synonyms: the soy symphony, the tofu tabernacle.

    Antonyms: the silence of the lambs.

  34. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: The sounds of typing out me right to sleep. That tiny bit of focus in waiting for the distinctive sound of the space bar, the pauses between clauses… it’s the perfect activity to settle the mind.

    Unfortunately, I quickly get used to any recording of it, and remember the rhythms and that keeps me awake. I need fresh typing content.

  35. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I think some people end up using it the same way people focus on their breath in meditation, but that’s just a guess.

    I don’t think it would work with someone whispering meaningful words though.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    Paxton should be looking at the county for their failure to check on Mr. Rodgers’ eligibility.

    Why? Looking at the county failure doesn’t put a nCLAAAANNNNNGGG back in jail on a parole violation, does it?

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Gonna have to save that quote. Thanx.

  38. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I wish I could say that I’m surprised. Depressingly, I can’t. On a related note, I was wrong to give the “offended” woman the benefit of the doubt in the earlier discussion; you were correct about the situation. Mea culpa.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A little something to warm the cockles of your heart: $5 million fundraising attempt for Giuliani legal defense gets less than $10,000

  40. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Michael Reynolds:

    Before you reflexively dismiss, take a look at who voted for which candidate. POC did not vote for the progressive candidates, richer white people did. Progressives are the privilege faction in the Democratic Party – more educated, wealthier and safer.

    Okay, so how come “anti-work Democrat” Eric Adams barely won his primary, but self-described socialist Jumanne Williams got more than 70% of the vote in his?

  41. Teve says:
  42. Teve says:


    Apps like Parler and Gettr offered their conservative users an attractive mirage: a free-speech paradise where they could say the things they couldn’t say elsewhere. It never seemed to occur to anyone that such a move would only select for the worst social media customers on earth, quickly turning the founders’ dreams to ash.

    In a sane world, next-generation conservative founders would accept as a given that they would have to police their apps for racism, dangerous misinformation, and other harms. In return, they could use their editorial discretion to promote their favorite culture warriors, rig the trending topics as they wished, and possibly even attract enough advertisers to make the whole thing financially viable.

    To be sure, active content moderation is a necessary but not sufficient, condition for running a viable platform. Even if Parler and Gettr had scrubbed themselves entirely of coup talk and Sonic porn, enthusiasm for them may have waned for any number of reasons.

    But when you consider why these apps failed as quickly as they did, lax content moderation is surely among the biggest reasons. Most people will only spend so long in a virtual space in which they are surrounded by the worst of humanity. If Parler or Gettr will be remembered at all, it will be because they created networks for conservatives that not even conservatives could stand to be in.

    Facebook moderation is absolutely terrible because they want to spend as little money as possible on it. If the choice is between being good for humanity, and making an extra $3.50, Zuckerberg always chooses the $3.50. Have you noticed Zuck has the same haircut as Roman Emperor Tiberius Julius Caesar? Caesar was an overlord conqueror, not a humanitarian.

    But you simply have to have moderation or you become 4chan, and even 4chan had to stop being 4chan in the end.

  43. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Gettr had the problem of being the follower too, so it wasn’t even novel. They didn’t have an audience to try to trigger.

    If a racist hates black people alone in a forest, does anyone care?

  44. Teve says:

    Some have observed over the years, ‘people don’t believe things because of the facts, they believe things because that’s what their tribe believes.’

    I had a conversation just this morning with a rare coworker who is an intellectual*, and we were talking about just this thing, and he said “you know, for most of human history—99%— it has been extremely important, a life or death matter, to be able to separate Us from Them. And we got too good at it and now we’re doing this vaccine-resistant shit.”

    *We sell ‘spensive mattresses. How many well-read philosopher-types do you know who sell mattresses? (Answer: smart ones. I saw him make $300 in commissions today on one mattress sale)

  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Sonic the Hedgehog furry porn? Do I even want to know?

  47. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Probably not. It’s why Trump and his minions will never get a full blown social media channel….they’re all a LOT icky, and without moderation, they come face to face with themselves.

    They’re still gonna try to take over the country, though. 😐

  48. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Sonic the Hedgehog furry porn? Do I even want to know?

    What part of that is unclear?

  49. EddieInCA says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I’m just this side of a socialist.

    I’m Latino. Who know what pisses me off? LatinX. WTF? Why? Just why?

    I have had a contentious relationship with Police my whole life. You know what pisses me off? Progressives using phrases like “Defund the police” without even considering, for a second, how many people will be turned off by that phrase. Its the worst branding, maybe ever. Yeah, yeah, I know doesn’t mean actually de-funding them, but that’s irrelevant. Words mean things to most people.

    I work in entertainment. You know what pisses me off? Television writers using phrases like “I’m glad she’s allowed to find own truth” or ‘I want you to share your truth.” WTF? There is truth. And there is not truth. There is no “your truth”.

    I’m a progressive, proudly so, but damn, too many progressives don’t even think for a moment how their rhetoric and actions could be perceived by people who think differently. Those people also vote. I have a whole lot of Latino family members who are Republicans. They don’t like Trump or Trumpers, but people like Bernie Sanders, and Ayanna Presley scare the crap out of them. My family members in Miami all voted for Obama, and Clinton, but many voted for Trump in 2020, because “socialism”. These weren’t Republicans. They still consider themselves Democrats, but Socialism scares them because they have lived under socialist dictators.

  50. wr says:

    @Teve: ” How many well-read philosopher-types do you know who sell mattresses? ”

    Given that many universities have decided they must be “run like a business,” which means replacing tenure-track, full-time careers with adjunct gigs that may pay 3K per semester and eliminating horrible programs like philosophy which don’t help anyone make money as an engineer, I suspect there may be a lot of people selling mattresses who have PhDs in philosophy. Also art, literature, music, dance, sociology, history and classics, since none of things apparently have any value in 21st century America.

  51. Teve says:

    @wr: I have a STEM degree. I sell mattresses.