Sunday’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:

    State supreme court dismisses Ohio’s effort to enforce abortion ban

    God speaks to them and only they know what he wants.

  2. Mr. Prosser says:

    Wow, second person to post, that’s never happened before. Off to participate in the national annual Christmas Bird Count. Temp here on the Colorado western slope near the Utah border is 27F, but will be sunny and up to 50F by noon; a perfect day.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I want to pass this along: Wishes come true for trans youth thanks to Transanta donors’ goodwill

    At first glance, they could be letters to Santa Claus from any excited young child, hoping they have been good enough to earn a special gift. Meek is looking forward to hearing sleigh bells: “I think I have tried my best this year. I try to be positive,” they wrote. Alex, meanwhile, would love a bicycle and gift cards to bring some cheer to the end of an “extremely hard year”.

    Look a little deeper, and all is not as it seems. The letters are genuine, but their authors are young people who are transgender or non-binary, writing not to the North Pole but to an alternative seasonal benefactor named Transanta, whose workshop exists in cyberspace.

    Transanta is, unlike their world-famous namesake, more of an idea than an individual. A project from the anti-discrimination creative arts organization Allies in Arts, the website pairs LGBTQ+ youth in need of help with anonymous donors willing to give it, by way of an Amazon gift registry.


    I generally ignore the whole xmas thing but I think this Grinch will make an exception in this case.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A couple of genetic observations:

    Neanderthal DNA may explain why some of us are morning people

    My wife is always saying what a Neanderthal I am, and now I know why I am such an early riser.

    Reindeer’s blue eyes act as night vision goggles to help them find food in winter

    I’ve always had excellent night vision, even on a moonless night I don’t need a flashlight to navigate. I have to wonder if it’s because of my blue eyes.

  5. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I don’t know. I’ve always been an early riser, even in my youthful days. In my retirement, I’m up between 0430 and 5. However, my 23 and me test show me having fewer Neanderthal traits than 88% of the general public. Which my wife doesn’t believe at all.

  6. Kathy says:

    Good news, Pfizer will sell COVID boosters in Mexico. Given the government is still downplaying the trump disease, this is all we’ll get.

    More good news, I saw ground turkey at the store yesterday. Hopefully they’ll still have some today, and I can cook some. I’m thinking a kind of stew with potatoes and rice.

    Bad news, I need to hurry to the store, get back home, and cook, because I need to get to the office by 1 pm to try and finish the crown jewel of Week 3 of Hell Week. And Week 4 doesn’t look any better…

  7. Slugger says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Bad news for the reindeer and other boreal mammals: wolves have light colored eyes, mostly blue with some green or golden.

  8. Kathy says:

    I’m sure the coffee is overpriced, but in the unlikely case I ever visit Miami again, I would definitely try it.

  9. CSK says:


    The Premium Coffee is priced between $3.50 and $5.

  10. CSK says:

    The worst of the worst:

  11. CSK says:

    Melania did not accompany Donald to the UFC fight in Vegas Saturday night. His date appears to have been Alina Habba.

    Does this mean that Trump is dumping the wife young enough to be his daughter for a wife young enough to be his granddaughter?

    ETA: Ms. Habba was wearing an FJB necklace.

  12. Kathy says:


    Maybe Adolph wants to make Ivanka jealous.

  13. Michael Cain says:

    Alina Habba as in the lead attorney for Trump’s civil trial that the judge will be deciding soon? The same judge who has placed a gag order on Trump for certain subjects? Seems like the simplest explanation is that Habba is there to keep Trump from saying the wrong thing and winding up in jail for contempt.

  14. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:

    I wonder what she stuffs in his mouth to shut him up.

  15. Kathy says:


    I doubt she carries around either Kim’s or mad Vlad’s dick. But maybe a reproduction of them? We know he likes to put them in his mouth.

    On related things, I read a book called “are we smart enough to know how smart animals are?” I forget by whom. I can’t recommend it. In the introduction, the author, a primate cognition researcher, goes into detail about the dismissive attitude of researchers through most of the XX century on this subject. Mostly that they regarded animals in lacking intelligence, but also emotions, feelings, etc., as stimulus-response automata.

    Fair enough. but he keeps bringing up the same subject over and over again. Sometimes sensibly, but mostly because it seems to be a grudge he holds and won’t let go. It gets tiresome. It’s like listening to detailed explanations from one side of an argument between someone you’ve just met and someone else you don’t even know.

    Another thing he keeps harping on, is that the differences between animals and humans is one of degree and not kind.

    I can buy that. But there’s such a qualitative difference in how humans think that seems to be lacking, or at best underdeveloped, in animals. One can argue differences in degree to the point of being ridiculous. For example, is there a difference in degree between a firecracker and a hydrogen bomb? Yes, they are both explosives. One is just some kajillions of times stronger. That’s a difference in degree, right?

    There are some interesting points about animal cognition, mostly to do with primates.

  16. DrDaveT says:


    But there’s such a qualitative difference in how humans think that seems to be lacking, or at best underdeveloped, in animals.

    If humans are actually capable of reason — that is, of applying logic and inferring consequences from premises using valid arguments — then that would seem to be something that any species lacking language can’t do, and perhaps even some that have language.

  17. Kathy says:


    I don’t think we have definitive evidence for language in other species, except perhaps those like chimps and gorillas who’ve learned a human language. And there’s much debate even then. I’ve no doubt all animals can communicate, even with other species, but that’s not the same thing as language.

    In any case, my point is that a difference in degree that’s big enough, pretty much becomes a difference in kind. like a firecracker vs a nuke.

  18. DrDaveT says:


    I don’t think we have definitive evidence for language in other species

    Agreed. Dolphins and whales are the best candidates, but it’s iffy.

    If you had to ask me what humankind’s greatest invention was, I’d have to say language. The idea that sounds/signs can convey meaning — and that meanings can be encoded — is so commonplace that we never notice it, and so unfathomable that philosophers still don’t have any notion how it’s possible.

  19. Kathy says:


    On the one hand, humans have always been able to learn other languages. On the other hand, these were human languages. It may be it’s impossible to learn cetacean languages, if any exist.

    Oh, this is funny. I asked ChatGPT whether humans can learn cetacean languages. the reply wasn’t definitive, but it was informative. Here:

    Cetaceans, such as whales and dolphins, have complex communication systems that include whistles, clicks, and other sounds1. While humans have not yet learned to speak cetacean languages, scientists are using artificial intelligence (AI) to decode the whistles, clicks, and whines of sperm whales in an attempt to establish communication with them1. The Cetacean Translation Initiative (CETI) is leading the interspecies communication program that aims to decode whale songs and establish their language1. However, it is still unclear whether these songs constitute a conversation or a language1. Young whales are known to exhibit their own “beluga babble talk” as they try to learn vocalization from their parents and wider pod1. Decoding these whale songs could be pivotal in establishing whether these songs constitute a conversation1. While there is still much to learn about cetacean communication, the use of AI to decode whale songs is a promising step towards understanding these intelligent creatures1.

    Not bad. but then I asked “Is it certain dolphins or whales have a language? And it gave me the exact same reply.