Thursday Open 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:

    “I mean, I’m sorry, but one thing about my marriage is it’s never involved me having to send hush money to a porn star after cheating on my spouse with him or her, so they want to debate family values? Let’s debate family values. I’m ready.”

    -Pete Buttigiege

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I would guess that Michael Bloomberg didn’t have a very restful sleep last night.

  3. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: If I had a billion dollars, do you know how many times I’d get my ass handed to me on national TV? None times, is how many.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Because you’d be smart enough to not get on the same stage as Warren?

  5. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: YUP.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Red-state Utah embraces plan to tackle climate crisis in surprising shift

    In a move to protect its ski slopes and growing economy, Utah – one of the reddest states in the nation – has just created a long-term plan to address the climate crisis. And in a surprising turnaround, some of the state’s conservative leaders are welcoming it.

    “If we don’t think about Utah’s long-term future, who will?” Republican state house speaker Brad Wilson said at a recent focus group to discuss the proposals.

    At the request of the Republican-dominated state legislature, a University of Utah economic thinktank produced the plan to reduce emissions affecting both the local air quality and the global climate. Project lead Thomas Holst, an energy analyst, never expected to be at the helm of an effort like this. A few years ago, the Utah legislature passed a resolution urging the EPA to “cease its carbon dioxide reduction policies, programs, and regulations until climate data and global warming science are substantiated”.

    But now the perspectives of some state lawmakers – and of Holst, who spent most of his career in the oil and gas industry – have shifted.

    Say what???

    “The economist Adam Smith talked about an invisible hand that guides the economy, and in this particular case, the cost of renewable energy, whether it’s wind or solar, has gone down so rapidly and made itself so market efficient versus fossil fuels, that there is a change, and the change can’t be ignored,” Holst said. “So now is the opportunity for a state like Utah which is rich in both renewables as well as fossil fuels to embrace that change and get out ahead of it.”

    Oh. They finally figured out they can make money off of renewables just as well as oil and coal and they come with the added benefit of not destroying the planet. Well, welcome aboard boys.

    Other red states and municipalities are slowly starting to address global heating. After banning the words “climate change” from state environmental agencies, Florida now has a chief resilience officer tasked with preparing for sea level rise. After a year of disastrous flooding, Nebraska lawmakers advanced a bill to develop a climate change plan for a full legislative debate.

    Will wonders never cease. Floridians don’t want to drown after all.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Adam Best
    Time to update Bloomberg’s Wikipedia page…

    Date of death: 2/19/2020
    Place: Democratic Debate stage
    Cause: Elizabeth Ann Warren

  8. Tyrell says:

    Questions for Sanders about his “Medicare for all” plan. I don’t want to be on Medicare. I would prefer a private plan. Why can’t I have that? Would you force me on to a plan that I don’t want? How can that be constitutional?

  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Sanders is never going to be President, and we are not going to do away with the Insurance Industry.
    Having said that…reforming Insurance is a much bigger deal than Tax Reform. Republicans just won’t tell you that.

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    Don’t kid yourself. The states can’t do anything meaningful, only nation states, and only in concert with others. Trump is now the odds-on favorite to win, which means we as a country will actively obstruct efforts. And without us the rest of the world will not be able to do anything effective, either.

    The full effects of climate change are coming, and it won’t be about getting wet, it will be mass displacements, famines, plagues and wars. Have a nice day.

  11. Scott says:


    Unless you are very wealthy, you couldn’t afford private health insurance if you’re over 65. And if you are that wealthy, you should just pay out of pocket.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:


    I would prefer a private plan. Why can’t I have that?

    It’s nice that you can afford it. What happens when you lose your job and can’t afford it?

    Of course, with the ACA you could afford it, couldn’t you? Sadly, it may not be the private plan you prefer, because you can’t afford those. And on the off chance that you were too poor to even afford one of the ACA plans, you could still get healthcare thru… wait for it…. Medicaid which is a *public healthcare plan.*

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I think you might be an Obamacare zealot!

    **I know I know, the horror of horrors, might be better to die. Or lose a leg. Which, when my waiter son got ran over on the Pontchartrain bridge, he almost did lose his leg, but the NOLA hospital he was in managed to save it and even got paid for the job.

    What a concept.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I don’t kid myself, Michael. But before we can do anything of real consequence Republicans have to be convinced of the need first.

    Baby steps. First they roll over, then they crawl, then…

    Today, Utah. tomorrow, N Carolina? Who knows, we might even convince Texas before Australia has been reduced to a sunspot.

  14. DrDaveT says:


    I don’t want to be on Medicare. I would prefer a private plan. Why can’t I have that?

    A serious question for you, T-man: Why do you think that the private plan you could afford would be better than what Medicare would look like if it were universal?

    You seem to have this weird notion that Medicare must always stay exactly like it is today, regardless of the size of the risk pool feeding it, and that private plans always provide better benefits, regardless of how little they cost. That’s… not how it works.

  15. Teve says:

    WaPo has got an audio recording of Mick Mulvaney saying this:

    “My party is very interested in deficits when there is a Democrat in the White House. The worst thing in the whole world is deficits when Barack Obama was the president. Then Donald Trump became president, and we’re a lot less interested as a party,” Mulvaney said at the Oxford Union to a group of several hundred people.

  16. Bill says:

    Can I just live long enough to be Medicare eligible.

    Yesterday I had the first of my semi-annual tests before going to see the oncologist on March 4th. Between now and then the last number I want to see on my caller ID is that for their office. That means some result isn’t good and the doctor needs you to come in now.

  17. Gustopher says:

    @Bill: May you live to milk Medicare for millions of dollars over many, many years.

    I had to get lots of tests because of unexplained weight loss (10% of my weight over a year) and it was really, really stressful. And they found nothing which means… probably IBS leaving me a little nauseous so I don’t bother eating, or they just didn’t find the horrible thing.

  18. Kathy says:

    Roger Stone got sentenced to 40 months in prison.

    I think the odds are lousy he’ll even serve 40 minutes.

  19. Tyrell says:

    @DrDaveT: That is a good point. There are supplements from many companies. Most of them for dental and vision. That would be a good idea – load up more options on Medicare, and open to anyone. That way everyone who needs insurance can get it: through work, Medicare, or the Affordable plan.

  20. Bill says:
  21. Teve says:

    This is a difficult essay and I’m going to have to chew on it a bit. I don’t think I’m going to decide where I come down on it yet, I’m just going to ponder it a little more in the future.

    Identity politics isn’t hurting liberalism, it’s saving it.

  22. Kathy says:


    Without clicking on the link, it seems reasonable:

    1) giving alcohol to a minor.
    2) denatured alcohols ins’t potable and shouldn’t be ingested; it can make you sick.
    3) I reserve corporal punishment exclusively for those who inflict corporal punishment.

  23. CSK says:

    And a $20,000 fine.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: @Kathy: If it had been my kid? She’d never work with children again. I was a very strict parent, the rules were the rules and there were consequences for violating them, but my 2nd never got spanked because my first taught me once and for all when he was 2 that violence in any form is just plain wrong.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: All politics is identity politics.

  26. de stijl says:


    There is a reason that bizarre, outlandish stories arise in Florida: proximity to The Bermuda Triangle. Maybe too much humidity.

    People go especially bonkers there (as the cliche says). They lose their damn minds. Is it true? Vanilla crime rate comparisons do not capture the whole story.

    Actually, it would be interesting to see if Florida produces more weirdness per capita than other states beyond, but acknowledging the “Florida man…” cliche.

    The taxonomy would be difficult.

  27. de stijl says:

    Americans are disdainful of socialism.

    But hands off my Medicare / Medicaid or SSI benefits! Touch that and I will gut you: I earned that!

    Willful ignorance.

  28. Kathy says:

    I’ve been to busy today, but I managed to skim the news a bit. So:

    Trump is furious that the House was told in an intelligence brief that Russia is meddling in US elections again, with the express purpose or reelecting Trump. Apparently he’s upset democrats will use this against him. the obvious solution of strongly condemning this interference, and ordering all relevant federal agencies to step up any and all means of defense, escapes his most stable unmatched idiocy.

    Bloomberg posted an edited video that makes him look better than he actually was in the debate, and his opponents worse than they actually were. This does disqualify him, IMO. It’s exactly the tactic Dennison uses, the most toxic one: to replace lies for inconvenient facts.

    It feels like we’re watching a slow-motion train wreck.

    Concerning the various reactions about the democratic field as it stands, I’m reminded of a kid who meets Santa Claus, and finds he is old, fat, and smells of reindeer s**t.

    Politicians are lowlifes. Some grow to be leaders, and some of them can be noble and inspirational and accomplish great things. But as politicians, its hard to feel any enthusiasm for them.

  29. de stijl says:


    Counterpoint: some politics are principle driven.

    The 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act were civilly good actions, derived from principle.

    LBJ knew his actions would harm his party politically. He was a bastard, but he did it because it was the correct and right thing to do. LBJ was an unreconstructed dick, but he did do the right thing even though it cost his party.

    Arguably, LBJ created the modern conservative movement.

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Tyrell needed to move on this when he first went on Medicare. I remember that about 6 months before my 65th birthday, insurance brokers started calling me to offer me insurance plans that would have covered 100% of my medical expenses–deductibles, co-pays, consumables, dental, vision, hearing aids, the whole enchilada. And I could pick whatever doctor I wanted–no PPO, no HMO, no restrictions, nothin’! All for the bargain basement price of something like $900 a month. (Or in layman’s terms a little over 200% of my annual maximum out of pocket expense [which I haven’t ever reached any year so far even though I have COPD, atrial fib, and type 2 diabetes, and see the doctor roughly 30 times a year]).

    Tyrell’s big problem, just like mine, is that he didn’t board the train when it pulled into the station. Too soon old, too late wise, I guess. 😉

  31. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: There’s a hell of a lot more to that article than a bumper sticker.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill: Allow me to second @Gustopher’s wish for you and your efforts to qualify. Best wishes from one “high maintenance” patient to another.

  33. Teve says:


    Bloomberg posted an edited video that makes him look better than he actually was in the debate, and his opponents worse than they actually were.

    That video stunned everybody with how lame it was.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill: Seems to me that headline ought to read teacher charged with assault for… but maybe my attitude is bad.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: My favorite poster from the Tea Party protests era:

    President Obama, please don’t turn Medicare into some socialized medicine scheme.


  36. Gustopher says:

    Jazz Shaw posted a weird and cryptic tweet about having spoken to Doug Mataconis and him being okay.

    My instinct is that Doug prefers his privacy, and that the tweet is weird and cryptic to help preserve that. Which is totally fine. But, I was pleased to see even that much of an update.

  37. de stijl says:


    I already cast my vote. My electoral input has come and gone.

    I have preferences as to who it should be, but at this point, it is entirely out of my hands.

    I am not an advocate at heart, I would suck as a salesperson. Nothing I can say will change who the eventual nominee will be.

    There will be a nominee, and I know he or she will be better at presidenting than Trump is, so my vote is guaranteed.

    It sorta makes me less interested in the horse race aspect. I can flag my interest or approval for candidate or policy here or on other forums, but those who will vote will decide the outcome.

    I would prefer not to eventually vote for Bloomberg or Sanders, myself, but I would anyway.

    Trump is an abomination.

    He must not win a new term.

  38. de stijl says:


    I missed the debate last night.

    Apparently, Bloomberg got stomped.


  39. de stijl says:

    A lot of the folks who argue for a fully private medical insurance market have never paid full market price.

    If you have employer provided medical insurance, you are generally getting bargain pricing with nominal co-pays. White collar basic medical insurance is a relatively small deduction of your net paycheck.

    But if you go entrepreneur, it is stupidly expensive. Like ten times as much as when you were an employee.

    Tyrell is comparing massively subsidized employer provided insurance with Medicare. Apparently, cooperative bargaining is good for employers, but shunned if attempted by employees.

  40. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl:..Apparently, Bloomberg got stomped.

    Warren was wearing her combat boots.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: I wish the camera showed Bloomberg’s face before the big reveal.

  42. Gustopher says:

    Please enjoy your daily dose of covid-19 anxiety:

    Coronavirus-infected Americans flown home against CDC’s advice

    A decision had to be made. Let them all fly? Or leave them behind in Japanese hospitals?

    In Washington, where it was still Sunday afternoon, a fierce debate broke out: The State Department and a top Trump administration health official wanted to forge ahead. The infected passengers had no symptoms and could be segregated on the plane in a plastic-lined enclosure. But officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention disagreed, contending they could still spread the virus. The CDC believed the 14 should not be flown back with uninfected passengers.

    What would the CDC know about things like this?

  43. de stijl says:


    Doug has the hard brief: produce 5 to 7 topical posts per day about whatever arises. Any schlub can just report, you also have to analyze and critique.

    I will argue that OTB should engage with a fresh faced recent J School grad (or two) to cover the basics, nail the quotes, flag the links, ascertain it is actually true.

    The role is boat loads of expectations with little or no acknowledgment or recompense.

    I would be totally cool with quick posts with links to source articles. (Just without the “Indeed!” kicker.)

    Not everything needs to be analyzed in-house. Outsource most of the analysis, and do a drive-by comment on someone else’s take.

    Just nailing the basics is an enormorous role. Doug does that + analysis. Daily. Forever.

    I myself freaked hard over a too large expectation as to what I should be able to accomplish in a specified timespan. Public panic attacks are traumatizing.

    It inalterably changed my life.

    I would never operate under those conditions again.

  44. Kathy says:


    It’s the thought that counts.

    I understand using a portion of debate video, unedited, where a candidate looks good in an ad. Or one where a candidate looks bad in an attack ad. Even if the result of the debate was completely different than the clip indicates. that’s deceptive, but it’s not false.

    What Bloomberg did goes beyond the pale, even if it was amateurish and crappy, especially in the age of Trump.

    BTW, How long before we see a deep fake of a candidate? My prediction is, as soon as there is a clear Democratic front-runner who’s very likely to win the nomination.

    And it will be very ugly.

  45. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Dude! Warren went hard, fast, and incisive at Bloomberg.

    Not just at squishy personality critique, but at actual mayoral conduct.

    Warren impresses me.

    Dude did get stomped.

  46. de stijl says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Watch Mister Bluster’s linked vid above. That was impressive.

  47. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:



  48. de stijl says:


    Social Security payments and Medicare are viewed by some of us as nigh to communism. Every effort must be made to reverse those. Endlessly.

    That is utterly alien to my take on our society. Baffling.

    It makes it hard to meaningfully engage. We want entirely different societies. Where is the engagement point?

  49. Kathy says:

    What passes for “socialized medicine”?

    Mexico has several government-owned hospitals, divided among several federal and state agencies. For example, there’s the Mexican Institute for Social Security (IMSS), which provides healthcare through clinics and hospitals for private sector employees who are 1) enrolled in the IMSS, and 2) pay a monthly fee deducted from their paycheck (if you’re self employed or an “independent contractor,” you have to withhold your own fee, and you can choose not to). There’s a similar agency for federal employees, the Institute for Social Security for State Workers (ISSSTE). The military has its own hospitals and clinics for active duty and retired members and their families.

    Along all this, there are private hospitals, clinics, and private doctors’ practices, along with private insurance.

    The latter, though, does not cover everything, and deductibles are high. meaning some expenses are out of pocket, but insurance is far more affordable. Most policies provide unlimited care, or very high amounts of care, which is a good thing to have at the end stages in life, or if you have a major illness or accident.

  50. de stijl says:


    US citizens of a certain age got tremendous amounts of anti-communist propaganda tossed their way. Socialism is akin to, and a precursor to, Communism, as they were taught back when.

    They are now old enough age where they also routinely receive SSI benefits and Medicare. It is a dichotomy they are unwilling to address. I earned my benefits, but others who avail themselves are social parasites. Otherness is deeply ingrained.

    It is disconcerting. It is odd. It is true behavior. We are deeply hypocritical solely based on who is in the circle societally and culturally, and who is outside.

    Social welfare for me and mine was earned and proper, social welfare for you is unearned and Commumistic.

    Sad, but true.

  51. de stijl says:


    I am not so foolish to believe that the aging out of racism, sexism, mysoginy will solve all our problems. It won’t. Many.

    It will be easier.

    We are in an era of rapidly changing social mores. The concept of sanctioned gay marriage was a pipe dream a generation ago, and now it is the law of the land.

    Concepts of self and fluidity that would have been instantly marginalized a decade ago are in every parents head.

    That is astonishing.

    For decades, society was markedly behind my expectation of inclusion and acceptance. It caught up rapidly recently.

    The old regime has fallen in disgrace. Good riddance.