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:

    Looks like Rittenhouse took my advice:

    KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — A judge on Friday approved an agreement by lawyers to destroy the assault-style rifle that Kyle Rittenhouse used to kill two people and wound a third during a 2020 street protest in Wisconsin.

    Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger said the state crime lab would destroy the gun, probably in April. Judge Bruce Schroeder, the Kenosha County judge who presided over Rittenhouse’s trial, approved the agreement. Rittenhouse was not in court for Friday’s hearing.

    The judge also ordered that Rittenhouse’s $2 million bail be divided among his attorney, a foundation that solicited donations for his defense and actor Ricky Schroder, who donated to the defense fund.

    Rittenhouse shot the men during the protest in Kenosha in 2020. He killed Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz in the arm. Rittenhouse argued he fired in self-defense after each of the men attacked him. A jury last year acquitted him of multiple charges, including homicide.

    Rittenhouse’s attorney, Mark Richards, filed a motion Jan. 19 asking prosecutors to return Rittenhouse’s rifle, his ammunition, his face mask and other clothing he was wearing the night of the shooting to him. Richards and David Hancock, a spokesman for Rittenhouse, said last week that Rittenhouse, who is now 19, wanted to destroy the rifle and throw the rest of the items away so nothing can be used as a political symbol or trophy celebrating the shootings.

  2. CSK says:

    Donald Trump says that if he wins in 2024 he’ll consider pardoning the January 6 rioters because they’re being treated “very unfairly.” But he hasn’t yet confirmed that he’s actually running.

    He did add that “In 2024 we’re going to take back that beautiful, beautiful house that happens to be white.”

    “Happens to be white…” Talk about dog whistles. That’s a scream, not a whistle.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Georgia county purges Democrats from election board and cancels Sunday voting

    The judges met, in private, over a two-day period in May, for what might seem like a minor task: to choose the fifth member of an elections board in rural Spalding county, Georgia.

    But the meetings were by no means routine. There is no record of their vote or their discussions. The interviews with Democratic and Republican applicants were conducted in private, via Zoom calls. And the position was only vacant because of a new law, specific only to Spalding county, recently introduced by the area’s two Republican state lawmakers.

    In the end, the judges chose a Republican, someone who had never served in a government position related to elections, to be the fifth and deciding vote for the Spalding county board of elections and registration. Almost immediately, that Republican, James Newland, cast that deciding vote to cancel Sunday voting – a historically heavy turnout day for Black, largely Democratic voters.

    It was just the latest blow to the county’s Democrats, and another loss for a party that is losing control of election boards across the state as Republican laws make GOP takeovers possible. But what happened in Spalding county is also just a fragment of GOP efforts nationwide to take over the apparatus of American elections. Their goal? To secure party control at every level of government – from the White House to state legislatures and election offices, all the way down to the precinct level, by employing thousands of poll watchers to potentially call into question Democratic votes.

    I couldn’t read it all, my blood pressure wouldn’t let me.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Embedded link failed to embed correctly, but still works..

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    David Menschel

    COVID deaths in the month since Conor’s tweet:
    United States: 61,000
    New Zealand: 1

    Conor Friedersdorf
    · Dec 29, 2021
    If Omicron now takes off in New Zealand that should decisively end all debate about whether anyone could have “done better” and stopped its spread.

    One could be forgiven for thinking they would learn to just STFU, but apparently being wrong about everything is the goal.

  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    An echo to Matt’s post yesterday, The Children Must Be Protected.

    Protecting children isn’t as important as low taxes.

    The calls to Manchester police came in bursts in 2019, sometimes more than once a week. There were reports of loud fights, complaints about an aggressive pit bull named Mama, concerns about a child at a trash-strewn house that didn’t have electricity.

    A New Hampshire child welfare case worker came out at one point and took note of Harmony Montgomery, a blond-haired, blue-eyed, partially blind, 5-year-old. Around this time, the state’s child welfare agency received another worrying report: Harmony’s uncle had seen her with a black eye.

    As these warnings mounted in late 2019, and after being evicted from the house, Harmony’s father and stepmother moved the family into two cars. Soon after, the girl seemingly vanished, authorities said. And the state agency tasked with protecting children apparently never noticed.

    Emphasis added.

    If it weren’t for the fact that residents of NH are largely ensconced in the middle to upper income tiers, the state would be Mississippi or Alabama.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    Following up on yesterday’s Spotify post, Nils Lofgren has pulled his music from the service.

  9. MarkedMan says:

    Last night I posted a comment to the effect that since the start of the pandemic, even the worst performing county in the worst performing state (Neshoba in Mississippi) had seen less than 1% of the population die of COVID. My point was that if only 1 out of 135 people you know dies from a disease, it might not seem so dire.

    But I’ve been thinking about that number a bit further. If we make the assumption that vaxxed versus un-vaxxed segments of the population are significantly separated from each other socially, that 1 in 135 number might be the average of two very different groups, one with a significantly lower mortality rate and the other significantly higher. And even in god-forsaken Mississippi half the population is vaxxed. On top of that, in every state the younger you are, the more likely you are to be unvaxxed, which, of course, is offset by the fact that those under 24 almost never die from a COVID infection and that age group accounts for a third of the population.

    There’s a lot of back-of-the-envelope calculations but my gut feel is that the unvaxxed in Mississippi might be seeing a COVID mortality rate a something like 1 in 50 of all their adult family, friends and coworkers. That’s a big ass number. I’m 61 and I’ve never had a year when 1 out of 50 of all the adults I know die from all causes put together, much less from a single cause.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I’m 61 and I’ve never had a year when 1 out of 50 of all the adults I know die from all causes put together, much less from a single cause.

    I had a stretch of 7 or 8 years during the 80s where I was losing 2 or 3 friends and family every year. It left a mark on me.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:


    I’m 61 and I’ve never had a year when 1 out of 50 of all the adults I know die from all causes put together, much less from a single cause.

    Wait a few years and that will change. August, 21 through years end, five people who at various times in my life had been part of my social circle have died. None from Covid, three due to cancers and two by heart attacks, all but one in their 50’s, 60’s or 70’s. The only friend who passed that was anticipated, was an 83 yo that had been dealing with prostate cancer for ~15 years. Fortunately 2022 has yet to add to the toll.

    But your point about different social circles having different death experiences is reasonable.

  12. Jen says:

    Behold, the worst song ever written.

    Kid Rock is trying too hard to remain relevant.

  13. Kylopod says:

    @Jen: I’ve had a running theory for a while that Kid Rock’s entire career has consisted of being a parody of Kid Rock.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I hear you. My wife and I have lost 3 of 4 parents, with my mother still alive but quite frail at 93, and of course their siblings are quite elderly too. Our contemporaries are increasing being diagnosed and treated for cancer. So we know it is coming.

  15. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Protecting children isn’t as important as low taxes.

    Related story:

    Pa. fuel tax meant for bridge repair went to state police instead

    Cities and towns in Republican areas of Pennsylvania don’t want to have proper taxes to pay for police, so they just rely on the State Police. To pay for this, the Republican controlled legislature has been stealing money from the transportation budget, which is why there’s now bridges collapsing in Pittsburgh.

  16. CSK says:

    I lasted 31 seconds and couldn’t stand listening any longer.

  17. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    By the time my mother reached 80, she had become the old joke and read the obituary page first to see if anyone she knew had died. By the time she reached 90 she gave up on that because she had outlived most of them.

  18. Kylopod says:


    I lasted 31 seconds and couldn’t stand listening any longer.

    I only lasted to briefly considering playing it, until my gag-reflex got the better of me.

  19. CSK says:

    Ah, those lyrics! I was reminded of the soaring grace of Keats, the somber majesty of Milton…

  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Cain:

    My mother started the day by reading the obits, she passed at 83. Her sisters did that as well, they are now 95 & 96 and have stopped reading them as well.

    A friend cringes everytime he logs on to Facebook.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    OK kids, the official picnic table snow total here is 11″ of fluffy light snow. It was easy to snow blow the drive and even the plow pile at the end wasn’t difficult.

  22. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    That’s pretty much what we got here in northeastern Mass.

  23. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: And this was how Kid Rock responded in his next song:

    My teachers wanted me to read Keats and Milton
    I pissed on the pages while stayin’ at the Hilton
    Then I said to my teachers I ain’t taking shit from you
    So fuck you Milton, and fuck you too

  24. CSK says:

    Excellent, but shouldn’t that be:

    So fuck you Milton, and fuck Keats too?

  25. Beth says:

    I once saw Kid Rock open for Fishbone at a House of Blues. This was, 20 odd years ago; right before he “made it”. I was actually impressed by what a musician and showman he was. The music was whatever, but the talent was pretty cool.

    Now, my kids are fighting in the other room. I’d much rather listen to them do that than any Kid Rock. It would probably make more sense.

  26. Scott says:

    Just dropped my phone on the bathroom floor. It’s dead. I am already in panic and curling up in the corner with withdrawal pangs.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:


    Look at the bright side, now you can get a new phone and maybe a technician can access the memory to enable you to move your data.

  28. CSK says:

    Don’t despair. Clearly you have another means to access OTB.

  29. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Already ordered the new (used) phone. I’ve had great experience getting used iphones off of Gazelle. Hopefully, most everything is backed up to iCloud. Getting the same thing (Iphone SE, 2nd Gen) I had so I won’t need a new case.

  30. Scott says:

    @CSK: Yeah, I don’t use phones for anything longer than sending texts. My fat fingers are too clumsy. But I’m a quick typist on a laptop.

  31. James Joyner says:

    @Scott: Honestly, if dropping your phone on the bathroom floor killed it, you really do need a new case. I’ve never had more than a cracked screen from dropping a phone and I’ve done it more times than I care to count.

  32. Kylopod says:

    @Beth: I sometimes hate to admit that I’ve enjoyed some of his music over the years. But I never respected him, and I always viewed him as essentially a hack. Maybe part of the problem is that he’s such an obvious poseur–a white boy from a Michigan suburb who’s spent his entire career trying to appropriate the style of both Southern rednecks and black rappers. Not that there’s anything particularly new about that sort of thing. But some musicians are just better at getting away with it. CCR fans never cared that John Fogerty was a California kid pretending to be from New Orleans. Plenty of people have done country well without being from the American South or West. And there are at least a handful of good white rappers over the years. Part of the problem with Kid Rock isn’t that he’s a white rapper, but that he feels like he’s never progressed past the Beastie Boys, so he feels like a relic of an earlier time that hasn’t aged well. But actually I think the biggest problem is his total lack of awareness of his own absurdity. If he understood the vibes he gives off, he just might be able to pull it off as camp. That’s off the table for him. He takes himself too seriously. Which makes him a perfect fit for Trump, another walking parody who doesn’t know he’s a parody.

  33. Scott says:

    @James Joyner: Point taken. It wasn’t a cracked screen, it fell and landed smack face down from about 4 feet. The screen is intact. An unusual fall.

    I’ve gone to carrying just two credit cards and two forms of ID in the case with a $20 folded up. Wallets are not part of my life anymore.

  34. Kathy says:

    @James Joyner:

    It’s been ages since I last dropped my personal phone. the company phone has fallen a number of times, but remains working and the screen un-cracked. I don’t have a case for that one*. If it ever breaks, I’ll just switch the SIM card to my phone**.

    *I don’t buy stuff for the company stuff.
    **My phone has no SIM card, because it’s not really a phone***. It’s a palm-top computer that could, with a SIM card, make phone calls.
    *** Technically it is. Galaxy Note something or other.

  35. Beth says:


    If I’m not mistaken, an upper middle class white boy from the suburbs. I agree with you. I think he had a whole bunch of raw talent and then let it get curdled before he squandered it and blamed everyone else. He could have been interesting with some growth and change.

  36. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Good thing they were cognizant of not entering a race to the bottom.

  37. de stijl says:

    @Sleeping Dog: commentaries.

    Big love for fluffy snow. Easy to shovel.

    Wet snow is a bear. Wet snow sucks!

    I live directly on a major street. My south (long) sidewalk. It’s a major thoroughfare so lots of snow plowing. All the snow that was on the north side of the street gets plopped on to my sidewalk which I am obligated to clear.

    Thanks, DMPS! I am so grateful. Grr!

  38. de stijl says:


    Got a new phone recently. My old phone had all of my contacts saved to that phone / SIM alone and did not transfer over.

    Lesson learned.

    Ouch! That was brutal. The process allowed me to cull the list, though. Cut some deadweight.

  39. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I missed out on the last 2 rounds of discussion of the forthcoming Black female SCOTUS nominee but wanted to offer this:

    1. ‘Qualified’ is not as objective as people want to believe it is. Sure it is inclusive of milestones and achievements. But what’s implied is that this career progression takes place within an “approved” network of people and institutions. Achievement outside of said network = lesser. Well if certain people were excluded from said network, and don’t have legacy and social status on ramps into said network. Members of that group can then never be “qualified “. Nice little way of protecting the exclusivity of your guild.

    2. There will always be the Sadducee/Pharisee tension in the legal guild of whether the law serves man or the man serves the law. It’s clear that the feeder pool for the current SCOTUS Justice is the latter. Hence, HL92s emphasis that none of us are qualified to criticize them from the technical aspects of their legal reason. He is actually right. These people have dedicated their lives to studying the law. Much like I’ve dedicated a lot to the art of war.

    The difference between the military guild and the legal guild is their technicians run a branch of government whereas my guild has a civilian buffer to protect our citizenry and way of life from our bullshit. There is no such filter between citizens and lawyers. I use the word technician lightly as a JD is essentially a reading degree with a small amount of training in logic. The logical aptitude in the community is certainly not on par with other abstract disciplines such as Mathematics or Physics … so I take any accolades of “brilliance” in a lawyer with 2 grains of salts.

    I would argue that you don’t need a technician as the Justice. You need a legal philosophy and approach to how the law should enhance the lived experience of citizens that is consistent with constitutional values. The clerks are the ones who should work out the legal reasoning and do the homework with the cross check of a trusted senior technician to check their homework.

    Maybe Sotomayor isn’t “qualified”… but at least she gets who serves who between man and the Law.

  40. dazedandconfused says:

    Kid Rock captures something very well there though. It’s something I think of as a collective inferiority complex. A massive chip on the shoulder which develops in those who feel they aren’t well informed or feel un-smart, but instead of buckling down and working the problem they get angry and intensely defensive. Trump displays these traits openly.

    So much information getting tossed at people these days, and for many it’s overwhelming. An intellectual “small man’s disease”.

  41. dazedandconfused says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    The best stinger in a qualification argument I ever heard was “Einstein was a patent clerk.”

    Wise POTUSes should consider personality too. The goal should be more than just qualifications and outlook, it should be the potential to influence the other justices. This is where Sotomeyer was probably a bad choice, and Kagan a good one for Obama. Kagan IMO is more likely to be like RBG, who was capable, despite being on the opposite end of the spectrum, of being a friend to Scalia. Can’t tell me Scalia wasn’t, at times, paying serious mind to RBG’s opinions.

    The crowd Bush II and Trump collected call for an Octavia Spencer.

  42. Mu Yixiao says:

    A friend of mine had a stroke recently. A circle of his friends has been taking care of his kitten, but couldn’t offer a long-term (or forever) home for Tomcat.

    I said I’d take him in–if not “forever”, at least until we could find him a “forever home”.

    Tomcat is about 6 months old. My cats are almost three (brother and sister). Tomcat is absolutely terrorizing them. He just wants to play, and they’re reacting like it’s the storming of Anzio, and they’re the Italians.

    And the siblings are so pissed when Tomcat jumps up on my lap.

    It’s fucking hilarious.

    My house is going to be a warzone for a week or so, but they’ll get used to each other. The irony is that a previous renter had an older cat, and my two were the antagonists. Now the tables are turned, and they’re having none of it. 😀


    Health update: Pre-HA, I averaged about 13k steps per day. I’m under 3k today–almost all of it just walking around the house–and I’ve had to stop and rest several times. I have no problem admitting that I can’t toss 4×8 platforms like I could when I was 20. It’s a real kick in the balls to admit that I can’t walk upstairs without getting winded.

  43. gVOR08 says:


    One could be forgiven for thinking they would learn to just STFU, but apparently being wrong about everything is the goal.

    I commented yesterday on how many high IQ, well credentialed people are functionally stupid. Speaking of which you may remember Richard Epstein who beclowned himself early in the pandemic by predicting 500 dead in the U. S. You’d think he’d keep his head down, failing that, his home, the Hoover Institution, would keep him out of sight. But no, via LGM, he’s back, offering advice to the Supremes before the OSHA mandate ruling. The money quote from Epstein is,

    Clearly, if the vaccines were undeniably as safe and effective as the government claims, there would be no need for any mandate at all.

    Kicker 1 – This idiot is one of our most respected and most cited conservative legal “scholars”.

    Kicker 2 – He’s right. In his world true or false is determined by the personal beliefs of five Fed Soc functional idiots, evidence be damned. And their statements on the OSHA case made clear they were working from an unstated but obvious belief there’s some undefined something bad about the vaccines.

  44. Mu Yixiao says:

    I am currently bleeding from my eyebrow.

    Fucking kittens.

  45. Monala says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: did you see Friedersdorf’s response? He basically said that if COVID had taken off in New Zealand it would prove no country could have done better, but the fact that COVID deaths didn’t take off there proves nothing at all.

  46. Mu Yixiao says:

    Why…. yes. I did adopt a kitten today. Why do you ask?

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  48. Gustopher says:


    Conor Friedersdorf
    @conor64 Dec 29, 2021
    If Omicron now takes off in New Zealand that should decisively end all debate about whether anyone could have “done better” and stopped its spread.

    And the cow up:

    COVID deaths in the month since Conor’s tweet:
    United States: 61,000
    New Zealand: 1

    To be fair to the Dorfmeister, he did say “if”, and Omicron could arrive in New Zealand at any moment.

    But honestly, we can tell just with county per capita death numbers in the US that some places are “doing better.”

    Unless we assume that vaccination and masking has nothing to do with the “doing” part of “doing better”.

    Conor is the thinking man’s … um … break from thinking?

  49. Miter Bluster says:

    Dr. Johnny Fever is dead.

    Howard Hesseman, who played off-the-wall disc jockey Dr. Johnny Fever on the 1970s sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati,” died Saturday. He was 81.