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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    New Zealand broadcaster reprimanded over ‘graphic’ dolphin mating scene

    Hmmmmm… I did not have dolphin porn on my 2023 headline BINGO card.

  2. Kathy says:

    Remember cold fusion?

    I think it’s a great example of why the dissemination of scientific discoveries should not be carried out through the media. For one thing, the media frenzy stemming from the initial announcement, failed to provide the data and methodology other scientists needed to attempt to duplicate the experiment.

    This features prominently in James Mahaffey’s book Atomic Adventures. He was involved in an attempt to replicate the effect in a team at Georgia Tech.

    After finally setting up the experiment (not as simple as it seems), the team got incredible results measuring neutron emissions. To be fair, they tried to falsify their results. moving the neutron detectors from the heavy water to the area surrounding the experiment, for example, to make sure the measurements were genuine. Also checking connections, voltages, etc.

    Unfortunately, they also decided to make an announcement in the media.

    Confirmation of the original experiment was huge, naturally. It was also in error.

    It turned out the neutron detectors had a flaw dependent on temperature. So when they were immersed in the hot heavy water in the experimental setup, they registered a spurious neutron count. When moved outside the experiment, they functioned well and stopped detecting neutrons that weren’t there.

    So, the Georgia Tech team had to hold another press conference later to walk back the confirmation.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: Speaking of science:

    An Enormous Gravity ‘Hum’ Moves Through the Universe

    Astronomers have found an extra-low hum rumbling through the universe.

    The discovery, announced today, shows that extra-large ripples in space-time are constantly squashing and changing the shape of space. These gravitational waves are cousins to the echoes from black hole collisions first picked up by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) experiment in 2015. But whereas LIGO’s waves might vibrate a few hundred times a second, it might take years or decades for a single one of these gravitational waves to pass by at the speed of light.

    The finding has opened a wholly new window on the universe, one that promises to reveal previously hidden phenomena such as the cosmic whirling of black holes that have the mass of billions of suns, or possibly even more exotic (and still hypothetical) celestial specters.

    “It’s beautiful,” said Chiara Caprini, a theoretical physicist at the University of Geneva and CERN in Switzerland who was not directly involved in the work. “A new era in the observation of the universe has opened up.”

    Pretty cool.

    eta: Then there is this which is straight to your point:

    Researchers had to map the correlations of these arrival times across dozens of different pulsars for decades in order to pick up the signal. “I had butterflies when I first saw this,” said Stephen Taylor, an astrophysicist at Vanderbilt University and chair of the team known as the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves, or NANOGrav. “I’m so excited we can finally talk about it.”

  4. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That is pretty wild. The history of man can be thought of learning just how unimportant we are. First, the land is much bigger than we thought, than the world is bigger. Next, the world is not the center of everything, followed by a realization of just how incredibly huge that “everything” is. And now with black matter and black energy we discover that the part of that “everything” that we can see is only a fraction of what’s out there.

  5. Kylopod says:

    If the race continues on its current trajectory, Trump is going to sweep all the primaries and caucuses. This would be a pretty remarkable feat. So far, it’s only ever happened once to a non-incumbent (Al Gore in 2000). But the current polls show Trump ahead of his rivals literally everywhere that’s been polled–even the rivals’ own home states. In South Carolina, where there are two candidates from that state running (Nikki Haley and Tim Scott), their total support combined doesn’t come anywhere close to Trump’s. He’s also ahead of DeSantis in Florida. His support in the party isn’t just overwhelming, it’s uniformly distributed across the country.

  6. Mikey says:

    @Kylopod: What can one say? Hate sells.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Man hoping to break record for living on Rockall rescued by coastguard

    Cam’s family said: “We are hugely proud of all his achievements but also that he had the courage to make what must have been a very difficult decision in the face of such dreadful weather.

    “We are looking forward to welcoming him home and hope that any future adventures will be a little less risky. Why couldn’t he just have bought a sports car in the first place?”


  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Oh no, no no no. God loves each and every one of us.

    (apologies to the religious among us)

  9. Jen says:

    @Kylopod: And I keep getting served ads in Facebook by Americans for Prosperity (this is the group set up by the Kochs, IIRC) saying things like “the Democrats want Trump as the candidate!” etc. They are trying so, so hard.

    The one thing I’d note after working on campaigns is that the most dangerous assumption any candidate can make are the first eight words of your post.

  10. Scott says:

    Speaking of science:

    Rampant Groundwater Pumping Has Changed the Tilt of Earth’s Axis

    The Earth has lost enough groundwater to thirsty humans to measurably tilt the planet’s axis of rotation.

    The net water lost from underground reservoirs between 1993 and 2010 is estimated to be more than 2 trillion tons. That has caused the geographic North Pole to shift at a speed of 4.36 centimetres per year, researchers have calculated. The results appeared on 15 June in Geophysical Research Letters.

  11. Daryl says:

    SCOTUS shuts down consideration of race in College Applicants.

  12. CSK says:


    I’m a bit surprised that Trump didn’t erupt into rage over that Newweek story concerning him sharing his lustful fantasies about Ivanka eith John Kelly and others. Does he think it demonstrates his virility?

  13. Mu Yixiao says:

    Medical waste facility sues hospital over hidden human torso.

    Put simply, this relationship has turned from a mutually beneficial, environmentally sound solution for the disposal of medical waste, and potentially positive business relationship, to a made-for television movie complete with decaying human remains and staged photographs.

  14. Daryl says:

    Clarence Thomas, who has benefitted from affirmative action his entire life, helps kill affirmative action.

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: His sexual attraction to his daughter has been public knowledge for ever. I can’t say if he is proud of it but he is definitely not self aware enough to realize it’s perverted nature

  16. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: He was once on a show with Ivanka, and he said openly in front of her and on camera that if she wasn’t his daughter he’d be dating her. He’s not ashamed of it in the least.

  17. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Kylopod:

    I wonder how the MAGAs justify it, since they’re all up in arms about Biden’s alleged pedophilia.

  18. Daryl says:

    MAGAts are just angry…if it isn’t this, it’s that.
    And it’s so f’ing tiring.

  19. Jen says:

    @Daryl: Asha Rangappa, a former FBI special agent, lawyer, and college admissions officer, has an interesting take on the decision. She thinks it’s narrower than people are suggesting:

  20. Kylopod says:


    I wonder how the MAGAs justify it, since they’re all up in arms about Biden’s alleged pedophilia.

    I don’t wonder at all. That ship sailed a long time ago. Their contempt for pedophilia is as genuine as Trump’s hair. They don’t care about Trump’s own connections to Epstein or his being credibly accused of raping a 13-year-old who (now a woman) only dropped the charges after receiving death threats. They don’t care about the charges against Matt Gaetz or Roy Moore or any of the others. They either ignore it or call it fake news. They don’t care that some red states have legalized or tried to legalize child marriage, or that anti-LGBT crusaders like Matt Walsh have openly defended such policies. When they attack pedos and groomers, it’s nothing more than code for LGBT folks. Period, end of story. There’s no complexity or nuance to it. It’s not even hypocrisy in the ordinary sense–it’s way beyond that. It’s a pathological inversion of reality through the manipulation of language where they apply the label of pedophilia to identities they oppose in order to attach the social stigma to them, while being fairly tolerant and accepting of actual predation against minors.

  21. CSK says:


    I was asking a question that was mostly rhetorical/satiric, but your answer makes considerable sense.

    The only time they mention Trump and Epstein in the same context is when they praise Trump for allegedly expelling Epstein from Mar-a-Lago after the latter approached a 15-year-old towel girl.

  22. Slugger says:

    @Kylopod: I agree; they don’t care about harm to minors. It would be easy to show that drag queens have not been disproportionate child predators, but they are targeted as part of our culture wars. Let’s ban youth ministers!

  23. Daryl says:

    Mike Pence declares racism “long over” because he has three white daughters who graduated from college.

  24. Daryl says:

    Yes…that is clearly what the majority decision would like us to believe.
    IMHO it is wrong.
    The SCOTUS is merely dressing up the MAGA anti-woke nonsense in fancier words.
    On the flip side will we now finally end admission preference based on the $$$ contributions of parents, or legacy admissions?

  25. Kylopod says:


    Mike Pence declares racism “long over” because he has three white daughters who graduated from college.

    That puts him in the moderate camp. The MAGA position is that there is deep-seated, systemic racism in the US today, and it is racism against white people.

  26. Daryl says:
  27. Jen says:

    @Daryl: I really don’t know what the majority decision wants us to believe…I’ve just come to believe that Rangappa’s analysis is usually pretty solid, and she’s hardly an apologist for conservative SCOTUS.

    She’s a college admissions officer, I am not. I’m hoping that she’s right, that somehow the application of this won’t be as devastating as we all think. That’s all.

  28. Daryl says:
  29. Daryl says:

    No, I get it. I hope she is right, too.

  30. CSK says:

    Human remains have been found in the wreckage of the Titan submersible.

  31. Daryl says:

    Abortions rights.
    Affirmative action.
    Donald Trump.
    Hmmm…I wonder what kind of Democratic turnout we can expect in Nov. 2024?

  32. de stijl says:

    The other day I was walking home from the grocery store hauling my bags thinking to myself I’m really glad I’m not 30 lbs. heavier, cuz that would be a lot of hard work just walking around daily.

    I was walking up a side, residential street towards a major thoroughfare and spotted three buzzards. They were gyring above the parking lot of a pediatric clinic two blocks from my house.

    I stood and watched them for probably 15 or 20 minutes to see if they ever flapped their wings once. They didn’t. Just continued to circle around gliding on the slight updraft off of a mostly empty asphalt parking lot baking in the midday sun. That’s adaptive!

    They just glided and circled for 15 minutes and did not flap their wings once. It was mesmerizing! Fascinating.

    Eventually I realized my frozen purchases were unfreezeing rapidly and continued on walking home, but that display of raw ability to glide forever was fucking damned impressive. I was awestruck. They did not flap their wings once and just glided seemingly forever.

  33. Mu Yixiao says:

    @de stijl:

    The common swift says “hold my beer”.

    Common swifts have one of the longest migrations in the world, travelling some 14,000 miles every year from the UK to spend their winter in Africa. Whilst this in itself is astounding, new research from the University of Lund has now revealed that incredibly, they spend a whole 10 months in the air without landing.


  34. DK says:


    I’m a bit surprised that Trump didn’t erupt into rage over that Newweek story concerning him sharing his lustful fantasies about Ivanka eith John Kelly and others.

    I’m not. Trump is a gross sex predator who doesn’t think lusting after his daughter is wrong. He therefore had no reason to rage. His probable response to yet more evidence of his perverted, pedo fantasies was, “Yeah, and?” He knows that the mainstream media will yawn and that his Republican enablers and “conservative” fanboys won’t care.

    As others pointed out above, it’s predictable that the same fascist hatemongers accusing teachers of being groomers and gays of sexualizing the kids with Pride merch are defending Trump’s desire to bang his daughter since she was underage — and going radio silent on the weekly stories uncovering more and more Catholic Church child sex abuse.

    Rightwing amorality, hypocrisy, and bigotry is a far bigger problem for Democrats than LGBT/liberal messaging.

  35. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl: I would say it’s a good day to be a white man, but it’s always a good day to be a white man.

  36. gVOR10 says:


    He was once on a show with Ivanka, and he said openly in front of her and on camera that if she wasn’t his daughter he’d be dating her.

    And she probably encouraging him to think he could. Don’t think for one minute she doesn’t know exactly how he feels about her and use it to manipulate him. Probably learned at her mothers’ (biological and other) knees. Like everyone else in his orbit, she hung around for whatever she can get out of it. And from what little I pay attention to on her, she’s apparently decided the prez grift is played out.

  37. DK says:


    I would say it’s a good day to be a white man, but it’s always a good day to be a white man.

    Some here might accuse you of resorting to racism and sexism by saying this.

  38. gVOR10 says:

    @de stijl: The aerodynamics are simple enough, you have it right with the empty parking lot in the sun. The mysteries are sensory and cognitive. Human sailplane pilots do the same thing, but with a very sensitive rate of climb meter and a lot of trial and error.

    We have a wooded vacant lot across from us. One early evening I drove home, got out of the car, and saw a bunch of vultures sitting in the trees. WIKI says in flight they’d be a “kettle”, feeding a “wake’, and otherwise on the ground or in trees a “committee”. Had to be two dozen of them. Just sitting there. Creeped me out. I’m not suspicious, but you have to wonder if they sense something bad gonna happen.

  39. CSK says:


    And in zanother interview, he told Wendy Williams that what he wished he had in common with Ivanka was sex.

  40. de stijl says:


    Do you think Trump looks at family like most people do? He doesn’t have time to be a dad or a husband. He hires folks to fill those roles.

    I guarantee you Donald has not had a meaningful, emotional, bonding moment with any of his kids or spouses ever. That’s what servants are for.

    He doesn’t have the time for any of that shit. I doubt he can recall their names.

  41. DK says:


  42. de stijl says:


    One day during Christmas break I cut through the Drake campus on my way to Walgreen’s. There was nobody on campus except for one very lonely and bored security guard. Been there, myself.

    In the main quad at the center of the campus was the biggest murder of crows I’d ever seen. I stepped through into the space through an archway between two buildings and beheld several thousand crows just resting, strutting around, making odd guttural crow noises like quork and kwaa.

    There were so many and so tightly packed that my brain could not compute the number.

    Every branch on every tree was filled with roosting crows, several hundreds in every tree. Every inch of every roof edge of every building surrounding the quad had a crow on it. On the ground were thousands more everywhere densely packed.

    Strutting, squawking, pooping. Corvids have that distinctive martinet soldier quick stride.

    I stopped immediately. What I saw was overwhelming. I felt like I had stepped into something that no human was meant to see – a massive conclave and meeting of the minds. Everybody who was anybody in the crow scene was there that day. I was stunned and just stood stock still.

    I know there were thousands of crows there. Multiple thousands. Impossible to know precisely, but my guess is that were 4 to 6 thousand crows in the space of roughly a small stadium.

    I was the outsider, the inadvertant intruder so I stood still and watched as they shat, and quorked, and strode about. Every now and again an entire tree would erupt suddenly and every crow on it would fly around only to settle back down on the same tree just rearranged 20 seconds later.

    This will seem dumb and kind of weird but I sensed a kind of hive mind thing going on. Although that is probably my overactive imagination.

    It was so cool to witness and one of the spookiest things I have ever seen. The sight and sound of that gathering is indescribable.

    The coolest and weirdest thing I have ever with my own two eyes. I stood there for at least a half hour taking it all in. Backed away very slowly and walked around the edge of campus.

  43. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    I guarantee you Donald has not had a meaningful, emotional, bonding moment with any of his kids or spouses ever.

    The thought of a Trump family dinner makes my skin crawl. These aren’t normal people.

  44. Mister Bluster says:

    @de stijl: @gVOR10:..
    Vulture Fest

    For some reason the graphic for this years celebration, October 21-22, won’t display so this one will have to do.

  45. Gustopher says:

    @DK: simply noting that my unearned privilege is increasing. Good for me, bad for the country, and brown folks and women.

    Honestly, one of the nice things about being a progressive-ish white man is that I’m almost always winning — either my values are winning, or I’m in a materially better spot.

    If I were straight it would be winning all the time.

  46. de stijl says:


    I’m white, male, straight, fairly well off, and middle aged. A home owner. Unless I severely fuck up really hard publicly on purpose, I’m basically untouchable. I hit the lottery on skin color, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic class.

    If this were a video game, this is the easy mode geared for beginners. I have built in LUCK + 10.

    All my other stats I like to think I earned on my own, but how much of that is dependent on societal factors? I think I earned it, but did I really?

    I know my life is set to easy mode.

  47. CSK says:


    Where everyone gets served burnt-to-a-crisp steak anointed with ketchup? Yum.

  48. Mister Bluster says:

    Daily Beast is reporting:

    Ex-Trump Campaign Official Joins Giuliani in Proffer Deal: Report
    Mike Roman is now the second known associate of the former president to take such an agreement…


    House Democrats Have Document That Refutes GOP’s Biden Bribery Claims
    Mykola Zlochevsky, the Ukrainian oligarch Republicans claim may have handed Biden a $5 million bribe, said he never had contact with Biden while he was vice president.

  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    No offense to the religious among us.

    And none taken. I see no cognitive dissonance between the two statements/viewpoints.

  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    I’m a bit surprised that Trump didn’t erupt into rage over that Newweek story concerning him sharing his lustful fantasies about Ivanka eith John Kelly and others. Does he think it demonstrates his virility?

    I think that Trump’s attention span is short enough now that all he registers is that he sees his name on the press clippings that I assume he still gets every morning.

  51. Just nutha ignint crackerdd says:

    @Daryl: Your post and his tweet remind me of the story I read about someone (forget who) who grew up in the rural South (where sometimes, by his/her account, racial differences were not as pronounced) and was disappointed to discover the “Coloreds only” water was the same as the water that came out of a “Whites only” fountain on an early visit to a big department store.

    That said, Justice Thomas isn’t the first black person who thinks and acts this way and won’t be the last either. In less enlightened times such people were sometimes called “Toms,” which seems ironic under the circumstances.

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    schools will have a much easier time DEFENDING why race mattered in admitting that person…and test scores, etc. become less of the comparison point

    Yes, I suppose some schools will go that direction with this decision. The SCOTUS challenge will be interesting.

  53. de stijl says:

    I have been a bored and lonely campus security guy stuck on duty during Christmas break before.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but my working assumption is that campus security has become way tighter and much more professionalized than back in the early 80s.

    I assume in this era of high-profile random shooting incidents, that campus security has been tightened considerably and student employees have been replaced by professionals.

    I was a scholarship kid and had to work odd campus jobs 30 hours a week at least, mostly overnight or very early in the morning. Campus security was way cushier than kitchen work where I hauled stuff around sometimes but was required to stand still in the corner mostly. I’m a night owl, not an early bird.

    I have worked Christmas break before. A couple of years in a row. There were at most 20 people on campus and most of those in International House. A few folks in the various dorms who had no where else to go. I feel you brother/sister. I’m there, myself.

    Campus security back then was a joke. The day squad was ex-cops or wannabe cops collecting the easiest paycheck on the planet. Nothing ever happens during the day on a college campus, all the cool, exciting stuff happens at night. My boss was a blatantly obvious alcoholic. Ex-cop from the suburbs. He was shitfaced on the job every day. Why did no one with oversight stop that? He was obviously drunk daily!

    By far the most intense time on a college campus is after dark on weekends. No duh!

    Guess who is on duty? It’s the extremely underprepared and inexperienced college aged kids tasked with policing their own peers. On Friday night 3 AM. The day shift dudes were long gone and did not care in the fucking slightest. This was an us problem.

    We slowly developed a code of ethics and behavior. If some dumb-ass student is drunk and acting stupid tell them to walk home or walk her or him home. The cops or the day shift do not need to know. Hey, man, we’ve all been there.

    Dumb shenanigans are not a problem. Actual vandalism is a problem and we would call the St. Paul cops on your sorry ass.

    Inconsequential shit gets a blind eye. No harm, no foul. You’re being a dumb asshole. You’re drunk – go home and go to sleep. I’m going to walk you there. Consequential dumb-assery, otoh, property damage meant a call to the nearby St. Paul cop shop.

    It is surprisingly effective how easily having a sober peer show up and tell you you to knock it off and go home actually works.

    Why the hell were unqualified, underprepared kids in charge of Friday night and Saturday night security response on a college campus? I mean we sort of figured it out on our own, but no responsible, professional adult was on duty at the most obviously out of control time of the weekend. Drunk kids doing basic mayhem everywhere all at once. Your bog-standard basic Friday 1 AM certitude.

    We did our best.

  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Slugger: I’d love to! But youth pastors became a thing as congregations became rich enough to move the management of programs for children to hired hands. You’re not gonna get parents to fall for taking back responsibilities they sloughed off generations ago.

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’ve heard of The Deciders. The others were probably between gigs at the show lounges of airport motels and the Holiday Inn.

  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl:

    Inconsequential shit gets a blind eye. No harm, no foul. You’re being a dumb asshole. You’re drunk – go home and go to sleep. I’m going to walk you there. Consequential dumb-assery, otoh, property damage meant a call to the nearby St. Paul cop shop.
    We did our best.

    Yes, you did! And good on you for it!

  57. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..gigs

    You’re ahead of me. I can’t read the names the script is so bad on my screen. The last time I was at Vulture Fest 30? years ago most of the entertainment was local.