Sunday’s Forum

Have at it.

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:

    Missouri hairstylist may have exposed 91 people to Covid-19, officials say

    A Missouri hairstylist may have exposed 91 customers and coworkers to coronavirus, public health officials said, after the state’s governor allowed businesses including salons to reopen on 4 May.

    The stylist who tested positive for Covid-19 worked at a salon in Springfield on eight different days while experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

    Because the stylist and the customers wore face coverings, health officials said on Friday, they hoped the interactions would lead to “no additional cases”. Those potentially exposed would be contacted and offered testing, officials said.
    In Missouri, county health officials said local residents who had been in the same location as the hairstylist with coronavirus but who had not had direct contact were “believed to be at very low risk”.

    While infectious, the same individual also visited a Walmart and a Dairy Queen and made three visits to a local gym, they said.

    Look on the bright side, if any of her customers end up in the ICU, at least their hair will be well trimmed and stylish. Now how does one do the same for a respirator?

  2. Kathy says:


    A person testing positive for COVID-19 tried to board a flight in Lansing, Michigan.

    I wonder what such people use in place of brains.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Fox? OAN? Rush Limbaugh? Alex Jones?

  4. Sleeping Dog says:


    That idiot should be billed for the airports cost to sanitize the areas where he/she passed through.

    Idiocy should have consequences.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    More Darwinian experimentation: Crowds Line Up to Get Into Missouri Ross Store Because… Why?

    Like we don’t have enough things to embarrass us in Missouri, here’s a huge crowd of people packed shoulder to shoulder during a pandemic while lining up to get into a freakin’ Ross Dress For Less discount store on the day of its reopening.

    Joplin News First posted a video to Facebook Wednesday afternoon of what must be the entire population of southwest Missouri trying to cram into a place that specializes in grandma shoes and resealed bags of Lindor Truffles.

    Bless their hearts….

  6. Teve says:


    Today Donald Trump retweeted people who visciously spread misinformation about other politicians, including calling Nancy Pelosi an alcoholic, mocking Stacey Abrams‘ weight, and referring to Hillary Clinton a “skank.”

    The President is a misogynist and an abuser who hates women.

  7. Teve says:

    [Last night] on Twitter Donald Trump is insinuating that Joe Scarborough may have killed a staffer in 2001.

  8. Tyrell says:

    It’s Memorial Day weekend. So where is the iconic Indianapolis 500?
    NASCAR is running the traditional holiday weekend Coca Cola World 600 at big track in Charlotte. What’s the deal with the Indy cars? Evidently NASCAR has it together.
    I have been to several 600’s. It was a long, hot day in the sun watching a race that went on for five hours or more. The first 600 I attended was in 1963. It was won by Fred (“Fearless Freddie”) Lorenzen driving a Ford Galaxie, built by the legendary Holman & Moody team. Lorenzen was NASCAR’s “golden boy”; very popular and a threat to win any race.
    It took a week for my hearing and skin to get back to normal.

  9. sam says:

    From Marie DeCotis’s twitter feed, Andrew Cuomo’s calendar.

  10. CSK says:

    I don’t know, but I suspect whoever it was simply didn’t care about infecting other people. Look at Trump. By refusing to wear a mask, he advertises the fact that he’s willing to risk infecting others.

  11. Teve says:

    I don’t usually read anything on atheism vs religion, that stuff’s tired and tedious, but I was missing Hitchens the other day so I downloaded God is Not Great.

    I once heard the late Abba Eban, one of Israel’s more polished and thoughtful diplomats and statesmen, give a talk in New York. The first thing to strike the eye about the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, he said, was the ease of its solubility. From this arresting start he went on to say, with the authority of a former foreign minister and UN representative, that the essential point was a simple one. Two peoples of roughly equivalent size had a claim to the same land. The solution was, obviously, to create two states side by side. Surely something so self-evident was within the wit of man to encompass? And so it would have been, decades ago, if the messianic rabbis and mullahs and priests could have been kept out of it. But the exclusive claims to god-given authority, made by hysterical clerics on both sides and further stoked by Armageddon-minded Christians who hope to bring on the Apocalypse (preceded by the death or conversion of all Jews), have made the situation insufferable, and put the whole of humanity in the position of hostage to a quarrel that now features the threat of nuclear war. Religion poisons everything. As well as a menace to civilization, it has become a threat to human survival.

  12. Michael Cain says:

    @Kathy: It’s a small, dying airport with so few passengers that they could manage to match up the test results and the ticket lists. Or possibly, someone reported the ticket holder. It does make me curious about how many contagious passengers, tested or not, are boarding every day at the big airports.

  13. sam says:

    A thought: Given the number of Americans who’ve lost their health insurance, if the Dems don’t run on health care, they deserve to lose.

  14. Kathy says:


    I thought those were CDC approved substitutes for bile.

  15. Kit says:

    Something tells me that this has already been posted here, but just in case it hasn’t, In think this recent poll is telling: New Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows coronavirus conspiracy theories spreading on the right may hamper vaccine efforts

    According to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll, 44 percent of Republicans believe that Bill Gates is plotting to use a mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign as a pretext to implant microchips in billions of people and monitor their movements — a widely debunked conspiracy theory with no basis in fact.

    In contrast, just 19 percent of Democrats believe the same

    Half of all Americans (50 percent) who name Fox News as their primary television news source believe the disproven conspiracy theory, and 44 percent of voters who cast ballots for Trump in 2016 do as well — even though neither Fox nor Trump has promoted it. At the same time, just 15 percent of MSNBC viewers and 12 percent of Clinton voters say the story is true.

    But when it comes to actually getting vaccinated, Clinton voters are nearly 30 points more likely to say they will (72 percent) than Trump voters (44 percent). A majority of Trump voters say either that they plan to skip the shot (29 percent) or that they aren’t sure (27 percent), even though the president himself has been pushing hard for a vaccine.

    As a result, only half of Americans (50 percent) now say they intend to get vaccinated “if and when a coronavirus vaccine becomes available,” with nearly a quarter (23 percent) saying they won’t — a 5-point decline in the percentage of “yes” responses and a 4-point gain in the percentage of “no” responses since the previous Yahoo News/YouGov survey two weeks ago. The rest (27 percent) say they’re not sure.

  16. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    @Michael Cain:

    There is precedent for charging passengers for costs incurred due to their disruptive behavior, like when an airplane has to divert to deal with said passenger. that costs a bundle on fuel, landing fees, etc.

    People who refuse to wear masks and thus help reduce the spread, should be held collectively liable for any and all infections which occur after the order to wear masks in public places is issued. They should be, but they will never be. They seem to be aware of this.

    Since tests are few, even in countries with high per capita tests, and since SARS-CoV2 spreads pre-symptomatically , I’ll bet a large sum that infected people have taken flights.

    A modern commercial plane is about as safe an enclosed space for preventing infection. Ventilation is constant, and goes through HEPA filters. It’s a little-known fact aircraft take in outside air through the engine compressor, cool it down (compressing air heats it up), and then circulate it inside the cabin. Afterwards it goes back out.

    Still, even with masks and even with blocked middle seats (which isn’t a given), people are cramped close together. Therefore contagion is likely, just not of the whole complement of crew and passengers.

    Sir travel does spread the infection by moving people from the outbreak zone elsewhere, which is what happened with COVID-19. Granted other modes of travel also contribute to this. That’s why I now favor an immediate to flights and travel out of outbreak zones and any hot spots that develop early. This would do the most to control and contain a future pandemic. If it turns out the pathogen is not as deadly or not as contagious, adjustments can be made. It would cost a great deal, but far, far less than the failure to act and finding out it’s as deadly and contagious as COVID-19, or even worse.

    This time we didn’t know how bad it was or how quickly it spread, nor that it spreads pre-symptomatically (this is what allowed it to get out of control so quickly). Next time we won’t have any excuse. If we fail to act early and forcefully, we’ll deserve it.

  17. Sleeping Dog says:


    And there is another infectious hair stylist in Missouri.

    If you really want a haircut, I’d avoid Great Clips, screening their employees doesn’t appear high on their priority list.

  18. CSK says:

    Trump is really stepping up his Twitter torture of Jeff Sessions, now asserting that Sessions wasn’t “mentally qualified” to be A.G. (Really, Don? Then why did you pick him to be A.G. if he lacked the most basic qualifications?)

    I’d feel sorry for Sessions, but…you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. I don’t know Trump personally (thank God), but I’ve known enough about him for the past three or four decades to be fully cognizant of the fact that he’s an oaf, a bully, and an ignoramus. That much should be obvious to anyone even on first acquaintance with the man. Sessions gambled he could prevail, and lost. Badly.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    Best headline I’ve seen this week.

    Bolivian orchestra stranded at ‘haunted’ German castle surrounded by wolves.

    A week later Bolivia closed its borders — and the group was stranded at the 600 acre estate surrounded by 23 packs of wolves and haunted by the ghost of Frederick the Great.

  20. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    That is good. I’m getting a flashback to s short story by Saki entitled “The Wolves of Cernogratz.”

  21. Bill says:
  22. CSK says:

    Trump did not go to church today, despite the fact that he’s so eager to get houses of worship reopened toute de suite.

    He did, however, manage to haul his fat carcass out to the golf course for the second day in a row.

  23. Kylopod says:


    I’d feel sorry for Sessions, but…you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

    I’d feel sorry for Sessions if he wasn’t an odious racist who put children in cages.

  24. CSK says:

    And even that wasn’t enough to get him back in Trump’s good graces.

  25. Bill says:


    Trump did not go to church today, despite the fact that he’s so eager to get houses of worship reopened toute de suite.

    He did, however, manage to haul his fat carcass out to the golf course for the second day in a row.

    I find the criticism of Presidents enjoying some free time to be ridiculous. My view was the same for Bush and Obama. Being President is a stressful job where you’re on call 24/7. So if any of these people want to do things outside the oval office, we shouldn’t be criticizing it.

    Counter point- Try recalling what most people thought of Jimmy Carter’s rose garden strategy back in 1980. It worked so far as the democratic primaries went, but didn’t help Carter’s image with the rest of the electorate.

  26. CSK says:

    The interesting thing about G.W. Bush playing golf is that he didn’t after 9/11, at least as far as I know. He is reported to have said that he didn’t ever want to be out on a course again when something dreadful happened. I’m paraphrasing, but that was the intent.

    Trump, on the other hand, assured us while he was on the campaign trail that if elected he would never play golf because he’d be too busy working toward the goal of Making America Great Again.

  27. DrDaveT says:


    I find the criticism of Presidents enjoying some free time to be ridiculous.

    Define “some”. Trump spends far less time (and far less effective time) working than any POTUS in living memory — possibly than any POTUS ever.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Meh… that hardly matters because Reagan almost never went to church while he was President either, and everybody knows that he was the first born-again Christian to ever occupy the White House. A man chosen by God for the grand and divine purposes of restoring the country from economic ruin and eliminating both big government and the scourge of abortion.

  29. CSK says:

    Well, now, clearly Trump believes that watching cable news and Tweeting is working.

  30. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    This is interesting. I can’t recall anyone saying that Reagan was sent by God–although I’m sure it happened–but there are plenty of religious fundamentalists who will happily tell you that Trump was sent by God to deliver us from gays, abortion, etc. They will also claim that he’s an observant Christian while happily ignoring his profound ignorance of the most basic Christian tenets. Plus ignoring his three marriages, various adulteries, pay-offs to models and actresses, and indiscriminate serial pussy-grabbing.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog: And they bury a key part of the insanity… it was a Bolivian Pan-Flute Orchestra trapped in a haunted castle surrounded by wolves.

  32. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    …Reagan…and everybody knows that he was the first born-again Christian…

    Again, everyone is wrong again, that would be Jimmy Carter.

    Like Trump, the Christianists treated Reagan as one of them, because they got what they wanted. It was transactional.

  33. sam says:


    Being President is a stressful job where you’re on call 24/7. So if any of these people want to do things outside the oval office, we shouldn’t be criticizing it.

    Well yeah, if you’re talking about folks who take the job of president with the seriousness it deserves. From all the reporting I’ve read, 45 gets to work around 11 AM, after watching hours of network news shows and knocks off about 3 or 4 PM. Never reads a thing. Drives his intel people nuts because of his short attention span. Etc., etc., etc. The only thing that seems to really stress him is when he thinks he’s being dissed. Come to think of it, though, we might all be better off if he just stayed on the course all the time and continued to do what he does best there: cheat.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Normally I would agree with you, but this is trump. A POS who made a BIG deal out of Obama’s time on the links, barely does anything like presidenting, and spends 3 or 4 the time golfing that Obama did.

  35. CSK says:

    Ann Coulter is really letting Trump have it for trashing Sessions. So far she’s called him a retard and a blithering idiot.

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Carter doesn’t count. Everybody knows that Democrats can’t actually be Christians. That’s why their called Demoncrats. 😉

  37. Kylopod says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Carter doesn’t count. Everybody knows that Democrats can’t actually be Christians. That’s why their called Demoncrats.

    And Carter’s presidency, leading into Reagan’s, could be looked upon as the turning point when that attitude first started to develop. The 1976 electoral map is a deeply weird one by today’s standards. He won almost the entire South, including states like Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. Yet he lost states like California, Illinois, New Jersey, and Vermont. It resembles a lot of the maps in the decades following Reconstruction, when Dems absolutely dominated the South and struggled everywhere else. It was kind of a last gasp of the old Democratic coalition.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I remember people in the fundy/evangelical circles in which I traveled asserting that they “knew” that Reagan was “born again.” “Called by God” in those days was only emerging as an argument, usually based on the passages in Paul’s letters asserting that governments were “ordained by God” (mostly in Romans, but as I recall, other letters, too). In the past, such sentiments were used to suggest that governments needed to be obeyed as a spiritual principle; later, we evolved to some ‘God is calling us to repentance because X was elected’ and ‘X’s election shows the influence of Satan on our country’ stuff.

  39. Liberal Capitalist says:


    I find the criticism of Presidents enjoying some free time to be ridiculous. My view was the same for Bush and Obama. Being President is a stressful job where you’re on call 24/7. So if any of these people want to do things outside the oval office, we shouldn’t be criticizing it.

    On the other hand, in the less than 4 years that Trump has been POTUS, Trump has stayed over a year at a Trump property, with all the travel and secret service costs going into bolstering his net worth column.

    So, no, not like Bush or Obama. Not at all.

  40. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I wonder what it’s like to live life with that kind of absolute certitude.

  41. Teve says:

    Speaking of Carter, can somebody tell me what Carter actually did that was terrible? I’ve heard people talk about the economy but starting in 1973, OPEC was wrecking shit. According to economists, that’s where the stagflation came from. My flimsy understanding of politics in the late 70s and early 80s is that a bunch of negative economic shit happened, it was out of Carter’s control, he got the blame for it, and Reagan was a former Hollywood actor with cheap charisma and people glommed on to him. Is this wrong? Did Carter really do some terrible boneheaded things? Or was he just a victim of circumstances?

  42. Bill says:


    Ann Coulter is really letting Trump have it for trashing Sessions. So far she’s called him a retard and a blithering idiot.

    I have read books written by Coulter and Frank Rich and some how my head didn’t explode.

  43. Liberal Capitalist says:


    Did Carter really do some terrible boneheaded things? Or was he just a victim of circumstances?

    Reagan took advantage of it.

  44. Teve says:
  45. CSK says:

    And? I’m not sure I understand your point.

  46. Liberal Capitalist says:

    The more I thought about your comment, the more it struck me as a real fine example of whataboutism.

    In 8 years (two terms), POTUS Obama played 333 rounds of golf.

    In less than 4 years, Trump is already at 251 days, at an estimated Cost to Taxpayers of About $134,000,000

    And that is only the rounds to which he will admit/. If you look at the days he has spent at resorts, it’s likely higher. has some really-eye opening stats.

    And why does this matter? Because of what we were told:

    “I’m going to be working for you. I’m not going to have time to go play golf.” –Donald J. Trump, August, 2016

  47. Bill says:


    And? I’m not sure I understand your point.

    Does there have to be a point? I was just trying to be amusing. Yes I have a read a book authroed by both those writers.

    Maybe you would have laughed if I wrote it caused me to write dung beetle fiction.

  48. CSK says:

    Well, sure, but generally there has to be a connection somewhere for the humor to emerge. Your statement was a non sequitur. It’s sort of like me saying “It’s raining out” and you replying “I like chocolate cake.” I observe that Ann Coulter is trashing Trump for trashing Jeff Sessions. Your response to that is to tell me you’ve read a book by Coulter, a book by Frank Rich, who has absolutely nothing to do with anything I mentioned, and that your head didn’t explode. That’s nice–not especially amusing, mind you–but it’s beside the point.

  49. CSK says:

    Trump says he has completed his course of treatment of HCQ. I cannot begin to express my relief.

  50. Bill says:


    “It’s raining out” and you replying “I like chocolate cake.”

    That would never happen. You know why?

    I like vanilla cake.

    Authors are unpredictable. Pundits can be too sometimes. At least ones who saying what they believe and not catering to an audience.

    You want to hear something totally out of left field- Today I discovered there is a real-life person doing the same activity as that of my all-time favorite character in any of my books. They are both 8-year-olds and third graders, My character’s name is a combo of a very common Chinese family name with a not very common American girl name. In the state of Oklahoma during 2017 there was a girl who is a match for a character I created in 2002*. I would have thought this as likely an occurrence as Donald Trump showing sincere signs of empathy.

    *- The story was available on the internet for free for over ten years. I suppose it is possible the child’s parents could have gotten the inspiration for their daughter’s name from me but again I think Donald Trump showing empathy is just as likely.

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I found that it worked in some elements of my life, but not so much in others. The breakthrough for me in terms of my own sense of self (or whatever) came when I decided that I could not reasonable argue or debate with others on topics for which my sense of certainty was inviolable. That transferred into some good teaching–at least according to my students–about the differences between “arguments” and “quarrels” where I would note that one key feature of debate (or argument) was that both parties in such discourse needed to acknowledge the possibility of being determined to be “wrong” about their beliefs.

    I’m still “so vain that [I] probably think this song is about [me];” I just don’t try to prove it anymore. 🙂

  52. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..God is Not Great

    A while back, mid late ’80s, Linda Ellerbee hosted a one hour daytime weekend TV show that dealt with the news of the day. Not sure if this was a series or a one shot production.
    She had invited adolescents from the Middle East to share their views with the audience. There might have been ten total. Five Israeli and five Palestinian.
    I don’t recall who spoke first. Not that it mattered.
    “It says in our Holy Book that God gave this land to us thousands of years ago and we have the right to fight and defend it!” said a boy child.
    Then a girl child spoke: “Our Holy Book tells us that God gave us this land thousands of years ago and we must fight to defend it!”
    There was more discussion between the two groups and I really can’t remember what else was said.
    I sometimes wonder where those teenagers are today.
    All I came away with was the notion that the only way to resolve this ancient conflict is to
    burn all the Holy Books!

  53. Teve says:

    @Mister Bluster: where is that quote from?

  54. Mister Bluster says:

    @Teve:..where is that quote from?

    Are you asking about the prose that begins: “A while back, mid late ’80s, Linda Ellerbee hosted a one hour daytime weekend TV show that dealt with the news of the day.”?

    I wrote that about the Linda Ellerbee TV production I saw a while back. Mid late 80’s.
    I am the one who wants to burn all the Holy Books.

  55. Matt says:

    @Bill: I would normally agree with you but this video shows you why Trump is a special case. I actually started to write out a full text response with quotes and stuff but this works better.