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. Kathy says:

    Well, at long last the government of King Manuel Andres has admitted the real death toll of COVID-19 in Mexico.

    He should be tried for genocide.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Earlier this week, Kim Janey, the first woman and Black person to lead the city of Boston, became acting mayor. She was sworn in by the first Black woman to lead Massachusetts’ highest court, Kimberly Budd, and the first Black Massachusetts congresswoman, Ayanna Pressley. That’s a lot of firsts for a city that was central in the abolition movement and educational home of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr, who studied at Boston University.

    Fifty-four white men have led Boston since it was incorporated as a city in 1822, most described as being of “New England Yankee” or Irish descent, and before that numerous white selectmen from when it was settled in 1630. That changed this week with the rise of Janey to the position of acting mayor, with the strong prospect she will run for election this November in hopes of cementing her position.

    The ascension is a far cry from when she was an 11-year-old being bussed from the predominantly Black neighborhood of Roxbury to a middle school in much whiter, grittier neighborhood of Charlestown in 1976, watching angry white faces protesting the effects of a court-mandated effort intending to desegregate the school district.

    “For months I saw them throw rocks, bottles, sticks, yell racial slurs … ‘Go back to Africa’, ‘You don’t belong here’,” she told the Guardian.


    “A hundred and ninethy-nine years is long enough. Madam. Mayor. Kim. Janey,” reads a video posted on her Twitter account, showing all of Boston’s mayors’ white male faces, ending in her own.

  3. Teve says:

    Abuse of Force

    For years, a tactical police unit in Mount Vernon, New York, reigned with impunity—protecting drug dealers, planting evidence, brutalizing citizens. Then one of its own started covertly documenting the abuse.


  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    A note on the Moderna vaccine…

    Having had our first shot about a week and a half ago, my wife commented that she had some swelling, redness and heat at the injection site.

    It seems that this nonthreatening issue is not an uncommon reaction in women to the Moderna vaccine. Picture and discussion at the following link.

    Just posting this, so that if you should see this type of reaction, as they say in the Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy: DON’T PANIC.

    And down here in the wackadoo panhandle, I drove past a home that still had a Trump sign on the lawn, with a new sign saying “IT’S NOT A VACCINE”. I wanted to stop and ask so that I could hear the machinations, but crazy does not prevent gun ownership, so I passed.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The UK professor, a fake Russian spy and the undercover Syria sting

    A more sceptical academic than Paul McKeigue might perhaps have wondered if the emails flooding into his inbox from “Ivan”, a purported Russian spy, were too good to be true.

    Ivan appeared to share many of McKeigue’s own personal obsessions, particularly his desire to discredit investigators who compile evidence of war crimes committed in Syria. And he claimed access to both ready cash and secret intelligence.

    The Edinburgh genetics professor – who devotes large quantities of his private time to pursuing fringe theories claiming that attacks on civilians are staged to smear the government of Bashar al-Assad – dived eagerly into his new correspondence.

    Over three months he filled hundreds of pages with speculation, including accusing journalists, researchers and diplomats of working as conduits for western intelligence agencies. He revealed the identity of a confidential source, and shared information she gave him.

    But McKeigue was not writing to a Russian spy, or even a man called Ivan. The email account was controlled by a group of staff at one of the organisations he hoped to discredit, who say they went undercover because of concerns over the tactics McKeigue and his allies were prepared to deploy in an effort to defend the Syrian government and its Russian allies.
    “Why did we do it? We’d watched what had happened to James Le Mesurier,” Jelacic said. “We knew they would not just go after the organisation but the leader, Bill Wiley, and they would say: ‘He’s a spy. He’s corrupt.’”

  6. Teve says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: when I was about 13 I became obsessed with H2G2. I don’t have any tattoos, but if I ever get any, the first one will just say


  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: but crazy does not prevent gun ownership

    Not only does crazy not prevent it, crazy encourages gun ownership.

    @Teve: Mine would be “42”.

  8. Teve says:
  9. Kathy says:


    Did you ever try to miss the ground?

  10. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve: An increasing number of museums are making high-resolution scans of their collection available. I can get a 300-dpi foam board print, 18×24 inches, quantity 1, for $20-30 at most of the local business supply stores or print shops. My to-do list includes trying this out.

  11. Teve says:

    @Michael Cain: I didn’t know foam board printing existed until your comment. That looks neat. You wouldn’t even need a frame you could just mount that on the wall.

  12. Joe Heron says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: worse than that up here in New England I listened to a local news reporter actually praising Joe Biden on his magnificent performance during his press conference. “Ignorance is bliss”

  13. Michael Cain says:

    @Teve: Some of the scans that have been done are incredible. All 11×14 feet of Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” at 1200 dpi. Use your scroll wheel to zoom in, and in, and in…

  14. Teve says:

    @Michael Cain: wow

  15. Thomm says:

    @Joe Heron: if ignorance is bliss, you must exist in nirvana. Still sad sleepy joe beat your boy like he owed him money?

  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I suspect that the whackdoodle is going for the argument that because the shot doesn’t create sterilizing immunity, that it’s not the same as, say, measles vaccine. They’re right, it’s more like flu vaccine, except with greater potential for asymptomatic carriers. When (note that I didn’t say “if” and also that I hope that I’m wrong) the disease becomes endemic–out of neglect, anti-vaxxing furor, or simply just because it’s durable like the common cold–whackdoodle will proudly proclaim “see, I was right” with their last, dying SARS CoV-2 gasp.

    Not engaging the person was the right choice, and it’s not just about guns.

  17. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Spent about a week up there a several years ago. I felt more comfortable in Mississippi. That town really has a problem with black people who aren’t entertaining them with a ball.

  18. Mikey says:

    @Jim Brown 32: It’s not for nothing that SNL’s Michael Che called Boston the most racist city he’s ever been in.

  19. Joe says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    I lived in Boston for a couple of years. The racism was pretty incredible. While I was there (beginning of the ‘80s), the Globe’s Sunday magazine was devoted to racism in Boston one week. The Sunday magazine was usually 20-30 pages. This one looked like a phone book.

    To Mayor Janey’s point, per OzarkHillbilly, one story was about a white family in Charlestown – where the Bunker Hill Monument is – explaining that when they saw black tourists in the area, they would throw bottles toward them, not to hit them (because they were just tourists), but to let them know they didn’t belong there.

    Although I am very Irish myself, I took to wearing gray on St. Patrick’s Day because I realized it was mostly a day when Boston’s Irish dropped to their knees to thank god they had not been born black or Italian.

  20. Joe says:

    @Teve: I am just some guy

  21. CSK says:

    A good way to get beaten up in Boston is to wear orange on St. Paddy’s Day.

  22. Teve says:

    Steve bannon’s been indicted for scamming a bunch of Trumper idiots.

  23. CSK says:

    All I can find is that he’s being investigated. Trump had pardoned him for his “We Build the Wall” scam.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Boston is really bad. From what I hear, it’s worse than STL, and it’s bad.

  25. charon says:

    The aggressive pitch to Republican contributors comes as the number of independent money operations connected to Trump — some directly associated with the former president, others that have his tacit blessing — has been rapidly expanding since he left office.

    The groups, which include both nonprofits and big-money super PACs, are seeking to capitalize on Trump’s fundraising firepower, which drove a record $2.2 billion into the three Republican Party campaign committees during his time in office, campaign finance records show.

    GOP officials are now trying to keep that pipeline going, a prospect complicated by Trump’s ambivalence about letting the party continue to fundraise off his name — and the separate fundraising efforts springing up around him, some of which could take aim at Republicans who have crossed the former president.

    Trump himself has encouraged supporters to donate to Save America, a leadership PAC he launched at the end of 2020. Corey Lewandowski, his 2016 campaign manager, is setting up a Trump-blessed super PAC to solicit unlimited contributions, according to people familiar with the efforts. And a number of his other allies are dabbling in fundraising efforts of their own — including what appears to be an effort to create a version of Democracy Alliance, the liberal donor network.

    The competing endeavors have left some donors confused and stoked worries inside the party about whether the former president is committed to the GOP’s interests.

    In recent weeks, Trump has both publicly and privately railed against the party committees, and has told advisers he wants to raise as much money as he can to remain a formidable candidate for a White House bid in 2024 — and to have leverage against political foes, according to people familiar with his views.

    Some in the GOP are bracing for a nasty fight. “There is going to be a war,” said a senior Republican involved in discussions about the future of the party, “It is inevitable.”

    I’ll need to stock up on popcorn.

  26. charon says:


    Trump himself has encouraged supporters to donate to Save America, a leadership PAC he launched at the end of 2020

    Note that leadership PAC’s can spend on almost anything, the restrictions are pretty limited/toothless.

  27. CSK says:

    Yes; this pac will be Trump’s personal piggy bank. Emphasis on piggy.

  28. Teve says:

    @CSK: weird. Maybe I clicked the wrong button and was looking at an old Tweet. I thought I double checked the date but I guess I didn’t.

  29. CSK says:

    New York may yet get Bannon on state charges. He diverted over a million bucks to pay Brian Kolfage and to cover hundreds of thousands of his own personal expenses.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    “The competing endeavors have left some donors confused and stoked worries inside the party about whether the former president is committed to the GOP’s interests.” [emphasis added]

    They have to wonder? REALLY????????????

  31. charon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Here is why they play along with him:

    During his time in the White House, Trump was the most prominent fundraising figure for the Republican Party, which enjoyed a financial bonanza.

    The RNC took in more than $890 million in the 2020 cycle, up from $343 million in 2016. The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $338 million in 2020 compared with $138 million in 2016. And the National Republican Congressional Committee raised $280 million, compared with $170 million four years ago.

    Many of the party committee appeals continue to feature Trump, even after he has left office.

  32. James Joyner says:

    @charon: But what good is raising money if you lose elections? And how much more did Trump help Democrats raise?

  33. Sleeping Dog says:
  34. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Anybody stupid, crass, and tacky enough to hold a wedding reception at Mar-a-Lago was probably thrilled with the speech.

  35. Teve says:

    Somebody on Twitter joked that Republicans were perfectly fine with giving black voters water, as long as it comes at high velocity from a fire hose.

  36. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Not engaging the person was the right choice, and it’s not just about guns.

    This morning, as I was cleaning up the detritus from some trees that I had taken down, an older female jogger stopped to ask a question about a small palm that was downed … and that led to a conversation, which lead to her telling me about her daughter in the medical field, which led to her telling me it was great that people are using less masks (I disagreed) , and that the pandemic was no worse than the flu.

    At that point I asked her to stop. And that I was shocked that she was in the medical field and talking that way.

    She said in that case “we agree to disagree”.

    I said no, there is no agreement, you are just flat out wrong.

    And I went about my business as if she no longer existed. Because I choose not to interact with the Fox News brainwashed willfully ignorant pod people.

    Trump’s gone, but they continue to try to square the circle. So far down that rabbit hole.

  37. Teve says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    which lead to her telling me about her daughter in the medical field, which led to her telling me it was great that people are using less masks (I disagreed)

    I hope you told her it was ‘fewer’ masks, not ‘less’.

  38. flat earth luddite says:

    folks out there promoting the “Secret Jewish Space Laser” shirts and pins. May have to go shopping there to go with the Racoons of the Resistance t-shirt I got for my birthday. I’d post the link, but when Luddite does that, he has to go to his corner.

  39. Jax says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Our school nurse has also gone down that rabbit hole, she’s pushing hard for the school district to request a variance from the state. And here I used to value her opinion….she was one of the smartest kids in our graduating class.

    Meanwhile, our county case count went from 0 for two weeks straight, to 10 confirmed and 70 people in isolation as of last Wednesday and the neighboring school district (who already requested the variance) coming back from spring break.

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: If they got married at Mar-a-Lago they’re Trumpers and probably got what they wanted. And better than they deserved.

  41. CSK says:

    Trump announced today that officials at ICE and CBP have asked him to visit the border. He announced that he will do so in the next few weeks.

  42. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve: Teve goes grammando!

    Dr. Anne Curzan commented on the whole less vs. fewer thing at a recent Smithsonian Associates event.

  43. CSK says:

    Don’t get me started on this.

  44. Jax says:

    @CSK: Do they want him to climb through the holes cut in his big, beautiful wall? Or the grates that have to be left open for flooding?

    Riiiight. More fundraising and soundbites. (eyeroll)

  45. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: it was a joke. While there is a time and place for prescriptivism, I’m generally a descriptivist.

  46. Teve says:


    Fox host Maria Bartiromo just complained to Eric Trump about Biden’s 5th trip home to Delaware.

    Eric -“I don’t even know where to begin. It’s heartbreaking to us. I saw how much time & effort my father put into the job.”

    That line is funnier than anything from last night’s SNL.

    For the record, DC to Delaware is 90 miles. DC to Mar-a-Lago is 992 miles.

  47. CSK says:

    The Trumpkins seem to think it’s a trap. He’ll be taken into custody and tried by an international criminal court on bogus charges.

  48. flat earth luddite says:

    Jesus Never Condemned Slavery’: Florida Board to Rename Robert E. Lee High School. White People Object by Being Racist AF.

    For nearly a year now, a community in Duval County of Jacksonville, Fla., has been in the midst of a controversy regarding the name of this school, which featured the following comment from a local resident opposed to the change.

    “It says in the bible, Jesus himself never condemned slavery,” one man who clearly has no qualms with his own bigotry said. “In fact, he said slaves have an obligation to obey their master.”

    Judas Iscariot on Roller Skates. F***.

  49. Jax says:

    @CSK: Well….there’s still an Iranian bounty on him, right?

  50. Jax says:

    One positive note from the pandemic year is that my area has food trucks now. We are 100 miles from the closest fast food, there’s no delivery pizza, or anything like that. In fact, there’s only one sit-down restaurant at all, the Mexican place. Some of the enterprising chefs in the area went mobile, and I AM SO HAPPY!!!

    It gets really tiresome cooking from scratch allll of the time.

  51. Teve says:

    @Jax: we were promised food trucks on every corner*, maybe we’re finally getting it.

    *”don’t threaten me with a good time!”

  52. Mister Bluster says:

    @flat earth luddite:.. “In fact, he said slaves have an obligation to obey their master.”

    Even if this honkie provided a verse from the Bible to support his claim, the earliest the scripture could have been written is 40 years after Jesus died. Almost 2000 years ago.
    Jesus never wrote anything.

    Too bad Fox News couldn’t send Tucker Carlson to cover the resurrection.

  53. mattbernius says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I felt more comfortable in Mississippi. That town really has a problem with black people who aren’t entertaining them with a ball.

    Honestly, that’s pretty much the case for a LOT of the Northern States/Northeast. We get a lot of coverage for being on the right side of the Civil War and not having as explicit racism baked into our legal system. But if you go even a little bit beneath the surface, you’ll see a history of racism (explicit and structural) that can rival most Southern States.

  54. Teve says:

    @Mister Bluster: “Live, from Golgotha…”

    (Not my joke, someone beat me to it)

  55. Mister Bluster says:

    @flat earth luddite:..Racoons of the Resistance t-shirt

    Try this link:

  56. Jax says:

    @Teve: Ha!!! I laughed about food trucks for a long time after that.

    It really is great, though. There’s a bagel/donut truck in the mornings, a philly cheese steak truck, a smoked goods (ribs, etc) truck, and a pizza truck! It’s like the county fair came to town and stayed.

  57. CSK says:

    That was the title of one of Gore Vidal’s novels: Live from Golgotha.

  58. Teve says:

    @CSK: What a coincidence! it’s almost like I owned that book many years ago… 😛

  59. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’ve spoken of first dog on The moon here before. Confounding how aussies haven’t hunted him down yet. Got a t-shirt from the site for my birthday.

  60. Teve says:

    @Jax: this may sound racist, but when I lived in Raleigh 15 years ago I would occasionally just drive around randomly looking for food trucks surrounded by latinos. When I spotted such an event I knew I was 10 minutes away from some delicious barbacoa or al pastor.

  61. Teve says:

    And, of course, a big Igloo cooler full of Horchata.

  62. DrDaveT says:


    it was a joke.

    Likewise. The whole internet tone thing is a pain.

    I do like Dr. Curzan’s term, “grammando”, though. She explicitly recommends it over “grammar Nazi” on the grounds that the word “Nazi” should be confined to actual Nazis. And possibly soup.

    More subtly, I think she navigates a useful path between “you’re an ignorant moron” and “anything goes”. She both explains to her students why it can be useful to cater to the prejudices of entitled white people, and explains to those entitled white people why the things that they thought were Laws of Nature are instead the personal foibles of some dude from 1847, or 1912. And she feels that those who command the most different modes of discourse have the most power.

  63. CSK says:

    Well-read lil devil, aren’t you?

  64. Mimai says:

    @Jax: Do you not have a burrito van that makes the rounds of the various ranches out there?

  65. Liberal Capitalist says:


    It gets really tiresome cooking from scratch allll of the time.

    We are subscribed to Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. That is six dinners for two weekly that make pandemic life easier.

  66. Jax says:

    @Mimai: Up until the last 3 months or so, we had no vans doing any such thing, and only the Mexican restaurant, as far as the eye can see. We did have a great couple that makes homemade tamales in bulk if you ask.

    We’re pretty remote. We have no stoplights, and the closest WalMart or McDonald’s is LITERALLY 100 miles away. We got a drive thru coffee stand two years ago and thought we were pretty uptown. 😛

  67. Jax says:

    Watching Beavis and Butthead Do America, and I’m afraid I’m not high enough for this.

    DAMN, I’m old!!!

  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: And “one less thing to worry about” is idiomatic anyway–as it “10 items or less” now that it has lasted about 35 or 40 (at least) years.

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: One of my favorite things living in Korea was while I was living in Daejeon, the roast chicken truck would park on my street about 4 or 5 times a month most of the year. It was particularly nice during the summer when it was too hot to cook. Nice price, too $4 a bird or 3 for $10. Yum!

  70. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I am actually envious when people mention their ability to get “authentic” food. One can only eat one’s own cooking for so long before gas station food becomes the best thing one’s ever tasted. 😉

    That said….I made some lamb roasts last week and shaved them thin, best damn gyro meat I’ve ever tasted. Too bad it’s so much work!