Sunday Open Forum

Bottomless commenting.

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:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Just another day ending in “y”.

  3. Teve says:

    From Quora:

    How do countries that have a single payer system handle people with preexisting conditions and special needs specifically?

    Jon Shore
    Jon Shore, lives in Latvia, Italy (2010-present)
    Answered Feb 24, 2019 ·

    I am an American and have lived in 4 EU countries over the past 19 years. All of them have single payer systems. Most people in countries with single payer systems do not even know what a ‘pre-existing condition’ is or why it would matter. They are shocked when I explain it to them. The only person who needs to know your medical history is your doctor. If you or someone in your family has a special need then they get the special treatment necessary. It is really that simple.

    As an American expat, even after all these years I still have a subconscious fear of telling a doctor about a pre-existing condition because it might raise my health insurance premium or cause me to lose my coverage. I have to remind myself that I live in a civilized country now and that my right to high quality healthcare is guaranteed no matter what.

    I grew up and lived most of my life in the US system where having a pre-existing condition can be a death sentence if you cannot get health insurance. I spent most of my life being afraid of going to a doctor because I might be diagnosed with an illness that could prevent me from getting health insurance or cause the insurance company to charge me an incredible amount of money for coverage. My last health insurance premium in the US was $1200 per month with a 20% per year co-pay and it was going up 20% per quarter. And they did not know that I had a pre-existing heart condition. If they had known that I would not have gotten coverage. If I had a heart related condition and they discovered that I had a pre-existing condition they would not have paid my medical bills. There were many times that I would pay cash for medical care so that there was no insurance claim which might have raised my premiums even more.

    What the hell kind of health care system is that?

    Just because the health insurance industry, pharmaceutical industry and corporate healthcare system want to keep their profits exorbitantly high they spend huge amounts of money on lobbying and propaganda to keep the system exactly how it is now. They buy politicians and bureaucrats to make sure their system remains in place. They hire PR firms to create ubiquitous propaganda to manipulate public opinion. No matter how many people suffer and die they will do anything to retain their hold over our country’s healthcare system.

    Who the hell really wants a health care system like that?

    Very soon Americans are going to have an opportunity to have a real single payer system for everyone in America. You are going to hear those same bought and paid for politicians and PR firms spreading fears of ‘socialism, socialized medicine, Venezuela, death panels’ etc. They are going to be very loud and the media is going to collude with them because they are being paid a great deal of money to do so. You are going to hear these terms over and over again. They are going to try to make you terrified of change.

    Remember, they do not care about you or your family no matter how many sweet ads you see with healthy families being thankful for their wonderful health insurance company. They only care about their profits and shareholder value.

    Anyone who votes for politicians who support the US healthcare system status quo deserve what they get.

  4. Teve says:


    it can never be overstated how much most voters are totally living in a different reality than those of us who constantly think about and talk about politics


    it’s a probably a bigger divide than left vs. right

  5. Bill says:
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I was smoking a ham yesterday and while checking on it I saw Percy chasing a ball into the woods. I thought “Where the fuck did that ball come from?” at which point I realized, “That is not a ball.”

    Yep, an armadillo, totally ignoring Percy, and me, right up until Percy touched it with his nose and then it was hell bent for leather down into the holler. I half expected it to ball up and just roll the rest of the way down.

    I was afraid once it reached the bottom it would take off for parts unknown with Percy hard on it’s heels and surprise surprise, Percy came when I called him off it. When it got to the bottom Percyless it turned around and looked up at me with great longing.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Oil and gas production may be responsible for a far larger share of the soaring levels of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, in the earth’s atmosphere than previously thought, new research has found.

    The findings, published in the journal Nature, add urgency to efforts to rein in methane emissions from the fossil fuel industry, which routinely leaks or intentionally releases the gas into air.

    “We’ve identified a gigantic discrepancy that shows the industry needs to, at the very least, improve their monitoring,” said Benjamin Hmiel, a researcher at the University of Rochester and the study’s lead author. “If these emissions are truly coming from oil, gas extraction, production use, the industry isn’t even reporting or seeing that right now.”
    The extent to which fossil fuel emissions, as opposed to natural sources, are responsible for the rising methane levels has long been a matter of scientific debate. Methane seeps from the ocean bed, for instance, and also spews from land formations called mud volcanoes.

    To shed light on the mystery, researchers at Rochester’s Department of Earth and Environmental Studies examined ice cores from Greenland, as well as data from Antarctica stretching back to about 1750, before the industrial revolution.

    They found that methane emissions from natural phenomena were far smaller than estimates used to calculate global emissions. That means fossil-fuel emissions from human activity — namely the production and burning of fossil fuels — were underestimated by 25 to 40 percent, the researchers said.

    The scientists were helped in their analysis by different isotopes found in methane emissions from natural sources, compared to emissions from the production of fossil fuels. Isotopes are versions of an element that have very slight differences, allowing the researchers to differentiate between them.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘What Part of Illegal Don’t You Understand?’

    My family has been running from danger for nearly 100 years. The Nazarios are refugees; their remnants have scattered around the world to survive. My Jewish mother fled Poland in 1933. My Christian father fled Syria two years earlier. They met and married in Argentina, whose right-wing dictatorship imprisoned and almost killed my sister. By giving us a home, the United States saved our lives.

    Would it do the same today?

    The Trump administration has barred those seeking refuge from our borders and turned our immigration courts into a joke. This is a betrayal of America’s decades-long role as a world leader in refugee protection. It also breaks our own laws and treaty commitments, which say we will take people in, give them a fair court hearing and not return them to harm.

    But it is not a total historical anomaly. America has gone through spasms of nativism before. In 1939, Congress shelved a bill to take in 20,000 Jewish children, and the ocean liner St. Louis, which carried 937 Jewish refugees, was turned away from the docks; hundreds aboard were murdered in the Holocaust.

    Then, as now, many on both the right and the left have argued that the choice Americans face on immigration and asylum is between zero tolerance and opening the floodgates. But this is a false choice. We can have an immigration policy that is sane and humane.


    My mother, Clara Aberbach, was 9 when she left Chodorow, Poland, now part of Ukraine. It was 1933, the year Hitler came to power in Germany…..

    It’s a hell of a story.

  9. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I live in one of the least populated counties in the nation, 6,000 people or so in a county larger than the state of Rhode Island, and we’ve had air quality alerts since the beginning of January due to the oil and gas fields. During the Obama years, the EPA was on them like flies on shit, issuing fines and warnings. Ever since Trump was elected, I don’t think they care enough to even find out which companies and which wells are responsible for it.

    Another 4 years of Trump and we probably won’t even get alerts when the levels spike.

  10. Gustopher says:


    Another 4 years of Trump and we probably won’t even get alerts when the levels spike.

    And the problem will be solved.

  11. Jax says:

    @Gustopher: Right?! Ignorance is bliss! Fake news! 😉

  12. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s good to know that some people still have the knowhow and equipment available to do things like smoking their own hams. My grandfather used to make his own cheese and cure prosciutto.

    I live in a studio apartment in a tiny-ish city (pop 26,000–60,000 including the “twin” across the Cowlitz river) and live in a world where milk comes from Safeway, not cows.

  13. EddieInCA says:


    I was smoking a ham yesterday

    I’m such a city creature that my first thought was “How the f**k do you smoke ham? What kind of rolling papers do you even use? Or is it ground ham that you use in a pipe? WTF?”

    Sadly, it took me a few more posts to realize what it meant. That was an “Ohhhhh” moment.

    City. Boy.

  14. Gustopher says:

    @EddieInCA: I cannot read of someone curing prosciutto without assuming it’s a medical procedure.

    Or a miracle.

  15. Liberal Capitalist says:


    My story is that of a war refugee as well.

    Or I should say, that is my parent’s story. I was born here, to green card parents, and born a US citizen.

    And yet, near the age of 60, and I still do not feel that I am “american”.

    This is such a strange thing to try to explain to others… that I, some obviously successful white guy, identifies more with those trying to escape their horrid lives in central america than the folks who live next door or down the street.

    Especially now, I feel that I am continued to be an anomaly.

  16. CSK says:

    Seventy-five years ago today U.S. troops raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi after the Battle of Iwo Jima.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK: This is the anniversary of the flag raising. However it did not mark the end of the battle, which went on for another month, with 20,000 American casualties, including 7,000 killed, and essentially the entire 20,000 man Japanese garrison killed. American casualties were far worse than expected. The island was of limited strategic value, perhaps not worth what it finally cost.

  18. Jax says:

    It’s 10 degrees at my house right now. It’s a goddamn heatwave! 21 was the high and I had teenagers out helping feed cattle in t-shirts and shorts. 😉

    I might still survive the winter.

  19. Teve says:

    “A new pandemic mysteriously spreads across the globe while President Donald Trump is clearly having neurological problems? Is this the prequel to The Road?”

    -seen on Twitter

  20. de stijl says:

    I am not sure what I think about new Better Call Saul episode.

    Which is indicative of a less than positive first take.

    Jimmy is definitely becoming Saul, so inherently less relatable.

    Jimmy and Kim can barely look each other in their eyes when alone.

    The content is often comedic, but this a tragedy.

    I fear most for Kim.

    Jimmy / Saul is likely bound to a bad, ugly end. She is drawn to the scam, as has been shown before, but lightly.

    Kim is a good egg.

    She disintegrated after going past professional bounds tonight. She is okay with doing scams on a deserving asshole in bars when suggested by Jimmy when she is sorta drunk.

    This was too far.

    I did enjoy the open on paranoid “Gene”. Plus the irony of managing a Cinnabon in an Omaha mall.

    I do like the way they nail the realities of operating a restaurant in tiny cut-aways. Always washing and fiddling with shit. That was cool.

    How is “Gene” going to deal with Jeff (intrusive guy at mall)?

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR08: I probably would not be here if they hadn’t. Without it my old man’s B-29 would have had 2 choices: Ditch it in Tokyo Bay(and hope a US sub got to them before the Japanese did), or ditch it in the Pacific.

    Option #1 usually ended in being beaten to death.
    Option #2 usually meant never to be seen again.

    A lot of bomber crew lives were saved because they took it. So personally, I’m glad they did.

  22. de stijl says:


    My furnace died a few weeks ago.

    I woke up to 62.

    I monkeyed around most of that day, decided I could fix this. I was wrong.

    Woke up next day to 44.

    A lot of Southerners will freak out at that, but it is entirely do-able. Layers.

    I caved and called the pros.

    It was a solenoid. Fixed it in a half hour.

    It took my furnace half a day continuous running to get back up to 70. Next month’s bill will be big.

  23. de stijl says:


    Coldest I ever witnessed was – 48. That was intense. We went outside, gawked about. Just being out there so we we could say we did it. We were idiots.

    An hour later I got the bright idea to take a bucket of water out to chuck it in the air. Watch it freeze in mid air.

    It does not work.

    My bucket of water arced into the frigid air came down and splashed like normal room temperature water. Utterly dissapointing.

    That day I learned myths are not true, and that – 48 is truly dangerous. A bare, few minutes and you scurry for warm shelter. Pretty brutal. No many how many layers.

  24. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Huh. Maybe you had too much water in the bucket? We’ve tried it with a little bit of water and it worked. Also….freezing bubbles is awesome!! You can see them turn into icy, irridescent globes, then poof! The bubble turns into a snowflake! Like magic! 😉

  25. de stijl says:


    Too much water.

    (which is also the payoff to a Louis C.K. joke decades old)

    Not enough time to surface ratio.

    The water from a spritzer bottle would have a better chance to freeze. Tiny droplets, way better ratio.

    I did like half a bucket so probably near a gallon so probably way too much.

    Once you reach the point of this is real freaking cold, there is not substantial difference between -5 and -25. It is really cold. It doesn’t scale in perception like 95 to 115 does.

    The -48 was beyond invigorating. That was death of the universe, Kelvin 0 stuff.

  26. Jax says:

    @de stijl: Yeah. And 10 degrees feels pretty dang good after an extended period of time in negative double digits! We’ve got a 40 mph wind today, though, kinda sucks the enjoyment out of it.

  27. de stijl says:

    Major weather events that do not impact media centers go largely unreported.

    Bismarck, Whitefish, Fargo.

    Maybe a quick standup by a local affiliate.

    3 feet of snow in Buffalo possibly merits a mention.

    8 inches in NYC and it is the snowpocalypse. All news stations 24/7. The world as we know it is ending.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    I was born in Rochester NY in January of 1948 and our family left the shores of
    Lake Ontario in the summer of 1961.
    This year Rochester is in the lead to accumulate the Golden Snowball Award with
    80.9 inches to date.
    I remember many snowstorms every winter when we lived there but the weather event that convinced me to move south was the 1967 Chicago blizzard when I was living by
    183rd St. and South Kedzie Ave.

  29. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I believe you might be mocking me, which I totally deserve.