Thursday’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. CSK says:

    Four people were killed and multiple others injured yesterday when a man with a rifle and a pistol shot up a medical complex in Tulsa. The gunman is dead of self-inflicted injuries.

    The shooting was not random, police say.

    This is becoming a near-daily occurrence.

  2. LPNM says:
  3. sam says:

    ‘Theocratic’ abortion bans will violate religious liberty, faith leaders say

    With abortion bans, some clergy object to what they see as a “Christian theocratic imposition on entire swaths of our country”, as Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, scholar-in-residence at the National Council of Jewish Women, put it.

    “There are very serious religious liberty questions here,” Ruttenberg said. “If you ban abortion, when my religious tradition tells me that I am a) permitted and b) possibly required to access abortion care, you are limiting my free exercise of religion.”

    The same questions arise in other faiths.

    “In the Muslim tradition, scholars from the medieval time had taken the position that until a fetus is ensouled, it is not a life,” said Abed Awad, a lawyer and commentator on Islamic law.

    “A Muslim woman living in Texas, or living in Alabama, who has a sincerely and genuinely held religious belief that in her tradition, she can terminate her pregnancy and it is not a violation of her religious requirements or theology up to 120 days, is going to be prevented from exercising her religious right to control her reproductive health,” Awad continued.

  4. Kathy says:


    That’s obviously an intended feature of such laws.

  5. DK says:

    @CSK: It’s okay, Republicans will say “something something mental health” while voting to defund mental health services and block universal healthcare. Then they’ll propose militarizing medical facilities like they want to militarize schools (not as if police will actually do anything once the shooting starts but whatever).

  6. CSK says:

    If you’d like a laugh this morning–and who wouldn’t–check out this:

  7. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @LPNM: My guess is no. The kids of the gun nuts will still be in school and probably grateful for the bigger share of the teacher’s attention they can get. Students not in school was an issue because it was interfering with the lives of the parents of those students. Gun nuts will not be affected by this.

    When everybody can attend school, no one cares about why any given student doesn’t–and that concern is mostly about state funding.

  8. Kathy says:


    Schools should be renamed “Maximum Security Child Internment Centers.”

  9. CSK says:

    @LPNM: @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    The students at my local high school staged a walk-out last week.

    They requested permission from the principal.

  10. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Yeah. The most important lessons that school teaches are “know your place–and stay there” and “do only what you are told to do–nothing more, nothing different.”

  11. Mister Bluster says:

    …something something mental health…

    I suggest that if improper use of firearms is an issue of mental health then all United States gun owners should immediately surrender all their guns and be subject to a mental health evaluation before the weapons are returned.
    I am sure that this will work.

  12. Kathy says:

    Any thoughts on part III of Kenobi?

    I hesitate to post spoilers, but I was baffled by the geometry of the secret passage. It seemed extradimensional at some point.

    Not to mention I’m even more baffled by the inability of some people to ask simple questions when they should.

    Amway, for those watching it, the latest ep of Young Justice should come out today.

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Mister Bluster: Over at WAPO they quote the mayor of Uvalde supporting compromise on gun laws. Besides questioning if we’re going to see a front page story on every self-serving statement from these people, I suggested destroying 200 million of our 400 million guns as a nice compromise.

  14. grumpy realist says:

    If anyone wants a page of amusement of how complicated national borders can get, take a look at the Wikipedia page on Baarle. Good thing that Belgium and the Netherlands haven’t had a war with each other since then!

  15. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I don’t think we’ll see any GQP action on guns until a large Republican or NRA gathering gets shot to hell, and the chances of that are slim to none.

    Or maybe once they are comfortable with public displays of overt racism and bigotry, and the pet courts find the second amendment only applies to straight white male property owners.

  16. CSK says:

    More on the Tulsa shooting:

    Louis had back pain after surgery. So he murdered the doctor who performed the operation.

  17. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    pet courts find the second amendment only applies to straight white male property owners.

    Well, that would be an originalist position, so it pretty much a lock.

    But my oh my, going door to door disarming certain neighborhoods is certainly going to be an adventure, isn’t it?

  18. Jen says:

    @CSK: Murdered the doctor with a weapon he bought *hours before the attack.*

    If only there was some kind of…I dunno…waiting period? Or something?

  19. gVOR08 says:

    As I may have said once or a hundred times before in these threads. it ain’t just Trump. At The Bulwark Bill Kristol agrees,

    Which means that there is no Trump “fever” that is going to break, because Trumpism is now not a fever. It is an entrenched, all-encompassing fact of Republican and conservative life; one that is likely to be with us for quite a while. Trump may personally fade, but Trumpism is here to stay, for the foreseeable future.

    Which means that authoritarianism—with inflections, or at least overtones, of fascism—will be here for a while, too. With an infrastructure, with a popular base, and with elite enablers. In other words: With its own establishment.

    One should note that Kristol defines “establishment” earlier in the column without mentioning money or donors. A telling, and one suspects deliberate, omission.

    This could be a source of hope, as Bill Kristol has been consistently wrong about everything. But I don’t see how he is here.

  20. just nutha says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Meh… Just use the cracker-certified search method: knock, shoot whoever answers the door, conduct the search. Easy peasy.

    (No, you really don’t want people like me in government or LE. It’s really sad that the fields attract so many of us. 🙁 )

  21. CSK says:

    Be nice, wouldn’t it?

    Louis had been to see Dr. Phillips a day before the murder. I wonder of he threatened Phillips in any way then.

  22. JohnSF says:

    In the UK, first day of the Jubilee Weekend celebrations.
    Today and tomorrow are public holidays; the formal Jubilee Day is Sunday.
    (I think. Bad monarchist fail, JohnSF. 🙂 )

    Beacons are lit tonight; and I shall light a celebratory barbecue!
    (Still hoping Her Majesty chucks Johnson on the pyre at Windsor.)

  23. just nutha says:

    (Still hoping Her Majesty chucks Johnson on the pyre at Windsor.)

    Not sure, but I think that’s prohibited in the Magna Carta. 🙂

  24. JohnSF says:
  25. Kathy says:

    Don’t tell anyone, but there’s a new COVID surge underway in America.

    I’d hoped vaccines would help us end this thing by late 2021, but first dumbfuck antivaxxers and then Delta hit. Then Omicron to close the year on a high note (Yes, given all the many infections and deaths after wide vaccine availability, I have no choice but to conclude American find COVID infection desirable).

    Now I wonder if it will ever end.

    Of course, it has to. All pandemics end somehow. I just don’t see any more plausible scenarios.

  26. just nutha says:

    The devil’s always in the details, ain’t it?

    This has been Episode ([expletive, deleted] I’ve lost count) of “Why governments will still be wrestling with climate change when your grandchildren are dead.”

    (Sorry, no buttons for “link” etc.)

  27. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: Are you sure it’s not just a continuation of the first surge that never really ended to begin with?

  28. Kathy says:


    Not that anyone asked fo it, but in my opinion the position of British monarch should be made honorary as in “unpaid.”

  29. JohnSF says:


    …honorary as in “unpaid.”

    The argument there is that the Royal Estates actually generate more income than the Civil List, so the country is a net beneficiary.
    Then, of course, people reply: but the Crown Estates belong to the country not the individual monarch.
    To which: see you in court, peasants!

    Then you’d get in to arguments about expenses, properties usage, staff salaries; and the potential for grubby political patronage and outright corruption in Court appointments (court as in courtiers, not re. courts of justice)

    Non-starter, practically.

  30. grumpy realist says:

    @sam: I really hope that PETA (or whatever religion insists on being vegan) starts making a similar yowl about How Everyone In The US Needs To Turn Vegan, Right Now!) and makes just as much a stink about how eating meat is unethical and should be forbidden throughout the entire U.S.

  31. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I thought Kenobi Ep 3 was great. Not sure which simple questions, and the secret passage is workable if it’s the issue I think it is. But… I propose a 3 full day waiting period to avoid showing spoilers to those who care. Sunday?

  32. just nutha says:

    @grumpy realist: I’m not sure what your point is. The nation as a whole probably cares about the ethics of eating meat and the threat of Christian-Dominionist Theocracy to the religious liberties of Muslims, Jews, and Buddhists to about the same degree.

    (Now, I need to see if the Supermarket pizza concession across the street from my high school has any thin crust vegi pizza left. It’s lunch time.)

  33. Kathy says:


    Someone could have asked someone else how another someone else died.

  34. Gustopher says:


    Don’t tell anyone, but there’s a new COVID surge underway in America.

    The current surge seems to have peaked in Seattle. And assuming Omicron 2 is as severe as Omicron 1, we are missing a little under half of the infections in the case counts.

    Eyeballing these graphs.

    I would not be surprised if my eyeballing is off, or if my assumptions of severity are valid (an Omicron 1 infection might prevent severe outcomes from Omicron 2) but I would be surprised if it was off by 30 as that article states may be the case.

    (They are using NYC as a baseline, and I’m assuming a similar level of testing and healthcare access in Seattle… they are both blue cities, in blue states, with major income disparities)

    Not that I haven’t been surprised in the past, or am unlikely to be surprised in the future, but I think the very alarmist conclusions of that article don’t pass the initial semi-informed sniff test.

    I wish we were getting decent community estimates though — reliable tests of everyone going to the doctor’s office for non-covid complaints would give us a good baseline, unless we find covid causes toes to break at different rates or something.

    Not to minimize risk, mind you. There’s a lot of infection out there, but not necessarily “p100 respirators with face shields when popping into the market for blueberries” levels, unless that’s just your thing. N95, sure… that’s easy.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Well, that and “Die well.”

  36. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was thinking of regular schools, not schools full of POC and crisis actors. 😉 But yeah, that too.

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: (Sorry, no buttons for “link” etc.)

    If you are having the same issue as I, refresh the page and the buttons will reappear. So will your last (or first) comment. Hilight, delete, and all should be well.

  38. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: Sure, but no one would expect that the entire monster of the week plot would turn on whether the star-nosed mole man’s uncle’s college room mate died from his own cancerous cells or his tapeworm’s cancer?

    Ok, your statement was vague enough that it could be anything, and I want to give people who care a chance to watch it, so I’m not asking any follow questions. In the meantime, there’s this:

    So cool.

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: I was thinking of regular schools

    Well, yeah, so was I.

  40. Michael Reynolds says:

    First time at the Pompidou in Paris. It’s now my third favorite museum after the V & A in London, and the Orsay. Had a great meal in the rooftop restaurant – sardines, hummus, smoked salmon, sea bass carpaccio, caviar, cod a la Georges, pasta with (summer) truffles and a couple bottles of Sancerre, finished off with a Macallan, neat.

    I mention this all only to earn your hatred.

  41. CSK says:

    But they were all brave patriots out for a peaceful stroll through our nation’s Capitol…

  42. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I assume cod a la Georges is named after Pompidou himself.

  43. Kathy says:


    I was vague on purpose to avoid spoilers.

  44. Kathy says:


    Official figures show a higher incidence of cases than in the early days of the pandemic in 2020. Therefore the pandemic is far from over, no matter how much or how badly people want to believe otherwise.

    And we’ve no idea what other variants might pop up.

  45. Scott says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Did you smile broadly at the waitstaff?

  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    The waiter was an African immigrant. My smile-fu is powerless against them. But my French was actually better, so I pulled a reverse ollie.

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I mention this all only to earn your hatred.

    Mission accomplished, asshole.

  48. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    I can’t find a recipe for cod a la Georges. How was it prepared?

  49. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I know, we would either have an elaborate framework of vagueness to discuss, or accidentally reveal spoilers. I don’t know if anyone cares that much about the show, but I think it’s easier to give them a few days.

    Given one of your known fondnesses, I’m surprised your main complaint wasn’t earlier in the episode. (Also being vague…)

  50. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Meh. Sounds gross.

  51. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Alternate headline: Unarmed Mountain Lion Kills no Children after Entering School thru Unlocked Door.

    A mountain lion entered a California school on Wednesday morning and was safely confined in a classroom, authorities said. All students and staff at Pescadero high school in the town of Pescadero were safe, the San Mateo county sheriff’s office said in a social media post.

    “Staff and Deputies have been able to isolate the puma to a classroom and there is no immediate threat,” the post said. The USFish and Wildlife Service was notified to come to the school and remove the cougar.

  52. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: it’s definitely not over. The baristas at my coffee shop are back to wearing masks. We are also not missing 30x as many cases as we are detecting as that article says is very possible.

    I think the alarmist reporting does nearly as much harm as the “everything is fine” stuff. Well, half as much.

    Or I’m just being an asshole. I smacked my foot the other day and 1.5 toes are a massive swollen bruise (blood thinners cause extra bruising!) and I’m hobbling and in pain. That can make me be an asshole as men are weak when in modest pain.

  53. CSK says:

    You must be jesting…or mad.

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I’m an asshole all the time. Of course, 35 years of carpentry has left me in pain all the time. Hmmmm…..

  55. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Evening meal was barbecued Moroccan style lamb kebabs, tabbouleh, hummus, tzatziki and salad with pitta bread.
    Washed down with a bottle of Rasteau; followed by roquefort cheese, then raspberries, with a glass of Jurancon.
    And finally a filtered coffee and a glass of XO brandy.

    All on the terrace of the Palais d’ JohnSF.
    (Washing up can wait till later)

  56. CSK says:

    Sorry I missed it.

  57. JohnSF says:

    Need to book early to miss the rush.
    It is the Jubilee holiday, after all.
    Gluttony is compulsory.

  58. CSK says:

    And alcohol over-indulgence, I gather.

  59. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Amateur astronomers are preparing for a heavenly treat from Friday as the five planets visible to the naked eye line up in order of their distance from the sun across the pre-dawn sky.

    For those who can face the early start, and have an unobstructed view of the horizon to the east and south-east, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, could all be visible before the faintest, Mercury, vanishes in the glare of sunrise.

    It is not uncommon to see two or three planets close together, but the five that can be spotted with the naked eye have not appeared in order, as viewed from the northern hemisphere, since December 2004.

    “This is really cool,” said Prof Beth Biller, personal chair of exoplanet characterisation at Edinburgh University’s institute for astronomy. “We now know of many other stars hosting multiple planets. This is a rare opportunity to see the same thing closer to home, with all five ‘naked eye’ planets in our solar system visible at once.”

    At 30 minutes before sunrise on 3-4 June it will be possible to
    see five planets in a row, in their correct order from the sun …

    … and at 45 minutes before sunrise on 24 June
    the moon joins the planetary lineup

    Mercury will be easier to spot later in June as it rises in the sky and brightens. On 24 June, the five planets will be joined by a crescent moon between Venus and Mars, making for an “extraordinary scene”, according to Dr Samantha Rolfe, the principal technical officer at the University of Hertfordshire’s observatory. Because Mercury will be so faint as dawn is breaking, Rolfe recommends using an app such as Stellarium to find its position in the sky.

    Something worth getting up for. Sky charts at the link.

  60. Michael Reynolds says:

    I should have taken notes, but it was sweeter than you’d expect, perfectly cooked, very tender, with none of that sliminess you can get with bacalao. The restaurant is on the top floor, al fresco with amazing views all around. Museum restaurants are upping their game – the one at the Getty in LA is excellent.

  61. Kathy says:


    I, too, am baffled about a meal with so few edible dishes included in it.

  62. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: @Kathy: Weenies.

  63. JohnSF says:

    A loyal subject must do his duty!

  64. Michael Reynolds says:

    Barbecued lamb sounds excellent. Would sound better if I were not stuffed to the gills.

    I’d live in Paris if not for two factors: I like London better, and the IRS makes it essentially impossible to go expat if you’re still earning. London black cabs kick the ass of every other taxi force on earth. Also working on a laptop in a Paris café is punishable by a day in the public stocks, and I’m sorry, but gotta have my laptop. OTOH the French have a line on food below which they simply will not fall, whereas Greggs sausage rolls, black pudding, and Heinz beans on toast as a national dish. . . Dishoom was great, though. London does have the (second) best Indian food in the world.

  65. Kathy says:


    Mexico conducted few COVID tests through much of the pandemic, and I’ve no idea yet whether privately conducted PCR tests are counted or not. OS I know the numbers here are woefully underestimating the actual impact (unless you can believe the death rate of 5 to 10%, completely out of sync with the rest of the world).

    Under counting elsewhere may be less flagrant, but it should be there. I agree not 30 times as many as are officially counted, but far higher than the official numbers. More so now with home tests, or people who fall ill and don’t even get any tests (and possibly don’t isolate).

    It’s getting numb through long exposure. If a pandemic started with the numbers we’re seeing now, we’d all panic.

  66. Jen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: No hate from me, it sounds wonderful and I hope you are having a delightful time!

    For anyone else obsessed with menus, here’s the Menu Restaurant Georges (PDF).

  67. CSK says:

    Of course you must. Those of us in the colonies salute you.

  68. Jen says:

    In other news, if anyone is looking for the gun-culture version of Inception, five people were shot today attending the funeral of a man who was shot by police. 😐

  69. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It doesn’t trouble me. I just wanted to explain why the messy surfing title bar presented as the hot link rather than my witty repartee follow-up showing as the hotlink.

  70. Michael Reynolds says:

    BTW, Iran is now believed to have enough uranium to make at least one bomb, and Biden is traveling to Saudi Arabia. Is my imagination over-active?

  71. just nutha says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Big time seafood allergy. Not envious at all. Glad you enjoyed it.

  72. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Just when I thought you couldn’t be even more of an asshole… 😉

    I’ve always said that when it comes to adventures, food is a great and cheap one. I suspect in your case, it isn’t quite so inexpensive. I’m still jealous as all f…

  73. OzarkHillbilly says:
  74. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Is my imagination over-active?
    It’s the truffles.
    Mildly psychoactive.
    (Would I lie?)

    I suspect the reason is oil, not Iran; though that will doubtless surface.
    Main issue at the moment is the crippling price of oil; especially in Europe with the embargo on Russian oil announced.
    Europe is quite possibly looking at double digit inflation plus recession by late this year.
    That could knock the scaffolding out from under the whole global economy.

    President Biden may be saying to MBS, in effect: …pump oil, dammit, or you can swing in the wind when the Iranians come knockin’

  75. grumpy realist says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Based on my year-and-a-half in London, I’d say nope nope nopity nope. Unless you like rain, clouds, rain, rain, and did I mention it rains? Winter was so depressing I headed off to Belgium to get some sun….

    Also, if you want another great museum in Paris, go to the Jacquemart-Andre Museum. It’s small, with some spectacular pieces of art, and you can easily get through it in an hour-and-a-half or less before catching a bite on the way out.

  76. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Growing up, my mother made a lot of weird stuff. She was a cookbook-aholic and absolutely fearless in her gastronomic explorations. Some of them… Did not work out so well.

    At any rate, the rule at the dinner table was always, “You don’t have to eat it, but you do have to try it.”*

    And that included stuff we had had before.

    “Just because you didn’t like it the last time doesn’t mean you won’t this time.”

    It’s amazing the number of things I hated the first time I tried them, and eventually ended up liking. I’ll try anything and the only time I’ve been sorry was when a can of Russian caviar that had gone bad was passed around a campfire. That one gave me pause.

    *if you tried it and refused to eat any more of it, OK, going hungry was an option. There were a couple things that I found so vile I would just refuse to eat them on principle. KFC was a biggie, everybody else in the family loved it on a road trip but I wouldn’t touch the 17 herbs and spices with a 10′ tongue. Ma gave me a little leeway on those things.

  77. CSK says:

    Lima beans make me gag. Can’t swallow them.

  78. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    London is too crowded for my tastes; I’m a country mouse.
    Not been there this century.

    I did briefly live down the road and round the corner from the V&A for a while, decades ago, when rents weren’t insane in Kensington.
    (But OTOH at that time they genuinely did serve beans on toast in the museum restaurant, LOL)

    French food still wins the day.
    Though, funnily enough, I’ve had more bad meals in France than in Britain, IMHO the general standard is still higher in France.
    But what I really love in France is the quality of the produce in the shops, including the supermarkets.
    The bread! The tomatoes! The peaches! The melons!
    With fruit in particular, UK retailers just don’t seem able to do ripe, non-rock hard, peaches (etc).
    (Also wine that isn’t extortionately taxed. And cafes with good coffee at a sensible price. And better weather. Bloody French! ‘Taint fair.)

  79. OzarkHillbilly says:

    CJ Ciaramella

    cool drug war you got there

    And I need to get back to that little thing we all call, “a life.”

  80. Beth says:


    It’s taken a lot of work to just admit I’m a picky eater. I don’t like it, but here I am. The only thing that sounds edible was the hummus. I think @JohnSF: dinner sounds way better.

  81. Mikey says:

    @CSK: The only lima beans I have ever liked were the ones my Grandpa grew in his garden.

    We lost him six years ago today, at the enviable age of 96. And I haven’t enjoyed a lima bean since.

  82. CSK says:

    But surely if you have a taste for hummus, you must like tabouli…
    I never could stand lima beans as a kid–and I’d eat anything. I finally decided to get over my childish distaste for limas. Unfortunately, the occasion I chose to do so was at the high table at Trinity College, Oxford. The beans went to the back of my throat and came right back. I’m pretty sure no one noticed me spit them into my napkin.

    Your grandfather sounds like a champ.

  83. Beth says:


    I dunno, maybe? I like a lot of Middle East/Mediterranean food, but I don’t think I’ve ever had good tabouli. It always strikes me as aggressively ok.

  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: Sign me up as another person who doesn’t care for tabouli. On the other hand, I had an absolutely amazing falafel ball gyro at a food truck in East Portland (OR) a couple of weeks ago. The lamb gyro the week before was sensational, too. Best I’ve had since the kebab stand in Itaewon years ago.

  85. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I’ve spent a lot of time and money trying to learn to cook lamb just right for gyros. I fear I’ll never get it QUITE the same due to lack of access to fresh spices, but it’s pretty dang close. Now if I could just figure out the trick to authentic pita bread, I’d be set!

  86. Just nutha says:

    @Jax: Good luck! On bread baking, my go to advice is handle the dough less. And I have no “authentic” pita recipes to suggest. Sorry. ☹️

  87. Jax says:

    @Just nutha: I got the “pocket” part right, one time, but the whole thing was so heavy it was an entire meal with just the bread. All the other times it was more like large crackers. 😛

    I’m about to try my hand at fermenting rhubarb honey wine, so if anybody has any tips on that, feel free to sound off!

  88. Jen says:

    @Jax: For pita bread, an even thickness across the entire dough circle is key (about a 1/4″ or so, which is slightly thicker than people often realize), along with a screaming hot oven. This allows for the rapid steam expansion that creates the poof, which becomes the pocket. If the bread was heavy, it likely had too much flour and/or not enough proofing time. They only take a few minutes.

  89. Tony W says:

    You people are killing me. Here I am suffering with smoked brisket and my home brewed Hazy IPA, because I’m just not ready for indoor dining yet.

    We are probably overly cautious, but have not had even a sniffle in 2-1/2 years – so there’s that.