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. charontwo says:
  2. Jen says:

    As I was saying the other day, if we were to learn that Justice Thomas doesn’t pay for his own groceries, I would not be surprised. A day ending in “y” brings more revelations:

    More revelations emerge about billionaires’ gifts to Clarence Thomas

    […] Thomas’s friends and acquaintances “have treated him to far-flung vacations aboard their yachts, ushered him into the premium suites at sporting events and sent their private jets to fetch him — including, on more than one occasion, an entire 737,” Brett and Alex report.

    The gifts include:

    “At least 38 destination vacations, including a previously unreported voyage on a yacht around the Bahamas”
    Twenty-six private jet flights and eight helicopter flights
    A “dozen VIP passes to professional and college sporting events, typically perched in the skybox”
    “Two stays at luxury resorts in Florida and Jamaica”
    A “standing invitation to an uber-exclusive golf club overlooking the Atlantic coast”

    “While some of the hospitality, such as stays in personal homes, may not have required disclosure, Thomas appears to have violated the law by failing to disclose flights, yacht cruises and expensive sports tickets,” ethics experts told ProPublica.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Snort: Trump requests to review classified documents at Mar-a-Lago ahead of trial

    He has been indicted for doing just exactly that once already. I guess he’s a really slow learner.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The app, created by supermarket chain Pak ‘n’ Save, was advertised as a way for customers to creatively use up leftovers during the cost of living crisis. It asks users to enter in various ingredients in their homes, and auto-generates a meal plan or recipe, along with cheery commentary. It initially drew attention on social media for some unappealing recipes, including an “oreo vegetable stir-fry”.

    When customers began experimenting with entering a wider range of household shopping list items into the app, however, it began to make even less appealing recommendations. One recipe it dubbed “aromatic water mix” would create chlorine gas. The bot recommends the recipe as “the perfect nonalcoholic beverage to quench your thirst and refresh your senses”.

    “Serve chilled and enjoy the refreshing fragrance,” it says, but does not note that inhaling chlorine gas can cause lung damage or death.

    New Zealand political commentator Liam Hehir posted the “recipe” to Twitter, prompting other New Zealanders to experiment and share their results to social media. Recommendations included a bleach “fresh breath” mocktail, ant-poison and glue sandwiches, “bleach-infused rice surprise” and “methanol bliss” – a kind of turpentine-flavoured french toast.

    A spokesperson for the supermarket said they were disappointed to see “a small minority have tried to use the tool inappropriately and not for its intended purpose”. In a statement, they said that the supermarket would “keep fine tuning our controls” of the bot to ensure it was safe and useful, and noted that the bot has terms and conditions stating that users should be over 18.

    Disappointed? Have they never met a human before?

  5. gVOR10 says:

    @Jen: I see this is WAPO reporting on Pro Publica’s investigation. Last week NYT did their own reporting on Thomas’s luxury RV. Be good if WAPO would contribute some effort to investigating SCOTUS bribery, it’s their back yard.

    Looks to me like there may be a consensus forming to throw Thomas under the bus. Somehow I doubt it’s just Thomas.

  6. Jen says:

    @gVOR10: I think it’s entirely possible that Thomas is the most egregious offender. He has a MAJOR chip on his shoulder about his confirmation hearings (still), and I believe he decided then that he was going to squeeze everything he could out of this gig. He’s also stated in speeches that all he ever really wanted was to be rich, something that doesn’t happen when you work on the taxpayer’s dime.

    Nothing can force him out, which is why I think he feels he can get away with this sh!t behavior.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @gVOR10: Somehow I doubt it’s just Thomas.

    For sure. Leonard Leo takes good care of his Justices.

  8. gVOR10 says:

    There was a fuss a few weeks ago about a possible room temperature superconductor, a material called LK-99. I fear today WAPO (jail broke) has a story about failures to replicate it.

    I fear for some the story will be “Scientists wrong again!” Have you ever tried explaining the concept of falsifiability to a religious conservative? They’ve failed for two thousand years to settle whether the eucharist is really the blood and body or just represent the blood and body. And both sides are absolutely convinced they’re right. (IIRC my long ago Lutheran Catechism said it was the body and blood, but that would be icky, so it’s not. But it kind of is anyway. Sorta.)

  9. Kathy says:


    Thanks for the link.

    It would help science journalism a great deal if no studies, discoveries, findings, etc., were reported until there was at least one confirmation. Failing that, if they didn’t go on to speculate wildly on all the incredible, marvelous, fantastic, magic developments this will lead to before you’re even done reading this article.

    Most times, especially in the popular press, there’s not even an “if this is confirmed,” or “if this is true,” to temper expectations.

    But then, “Possible revolutionary discovery might lead to gradual advances in this and that field over the next few decades,” is not click-bait worthy for a headline.

  10. gVOR10 says:

    I recall a few weeks ago we had a little discussion of “ghost” flights. Flying to, say, Denver, and saving money by booking a flight to San Diego via Denver and getting off in Denver. The airlines hate it and make some effort to stop it while consumers tend to see it as taking advantage of a rigged system. NYT has an article on the practice today. They call it “skiplagging”. Yesterday The Guardian had an article about Qatar Airlines. Australia limits them to 28 flights a week to their four major airports, including Melbourne. But they’re allowed additional flights to minor airports. So they’ve added a Doha to Adelaide flight. Via Melbourne. The 354 seat 777 flies empty or near empty on the Melbourne-Adelaide leg. They’ve created a ghost flight. (I assume they’ve created some dodge to allow Adelaide passengers to claim their bags when they get off in Melbourne to “stretch their legs”.) Seems to me sauce for the goose should apply.

  11. charontwo says:


    This FBI whistleblower’s complaint confirms what I’ve been saying all along, that Rudy Giuliani was working with Russian operatives like Andriy Telizhenko to spread disinformation related to Hunter and Joe Biden, in order to help Donald Trump with his bid to win the 2020 Presidential Elections. #LevRemembers

  12. Michael Cain says:


    It would help science journalism a great deal if no studies, discoveries, findings, etc., were reported until there was at least one confirmation.

    In that case you need to shut down, whose purpose is specifically to make preprints available prior to peer review. In this case, the papers’ authors used arXiv in exactly the way it was intended. They published “something unexpected here” papers with enough information for others to fabricate the material, apply tests beyond the authors’, get theorists to discuss what the unexpected something might be.

  13. Daryl says:

    Seen on Threads…

    There hasn’t been a single case of windmill cancer since Joe Biden took office.

  14. DrDaveT says:


    IIRC my long ago Lutheran Catechism said it was the body and blood, but that would be icky, so it’s not. But it kind of is anyway. Sorta.

    There’s a scene in Stranger in a Strange Land where Jubal Harshaw (Heinlein’s Mary Sue) points out to one of his employees that the employee’s religion practices ritual cannibalism. I believe the employee was Lutheran.

  15. Scott says:

    @DrDaveT: Of course, Heinlein got it wrong. Martin Luther originated consubstantiation in place of transubstantiation which was Roman Catholic doctrine belief that bread and wine were transformed into body and blood.

  16. DrDaveT says:


    Of course, Heinlein got it wrong.

    …or I did. I looked up the passage, and Heinlein was carefully nonspecific:

    “Duke, what church were you brought up in?” Duke told him; Jubal nodded and went on: “I thought it might be; in Kansas most belong to yours or one enough like it that you would have to look at the sign out front to tell the difference.”

    Subsequent text makes it clear he’s some flavor of Protestant, but not which flavor. I had misremembered it as at least implying Missouri Synod Lutheran.

  17. Kathy says:

    @Michael Cain:

    The purpose of pre-prints is as you state. Not to disseminate unverified, non-reviewed studies to the public, along with added speculation. Most of the public couldn’t make much sense of scientific papers (i know I can’t).

  18. Ha Nguyen says:
  19. charontwo says:

    BREAKING: Jack Smith requests a JANUARY 2, 2024 trial date for the coup trial.


  20. Kylopod says:

    @charontwo: Two weeks ahead of the Iowa caucus. This will be fun.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charontwo: You gotta give Jack this: He is efficient and economical.

  22. CSK says:


    Well, that’ll start the new year off with a bang.

  23. JohnSF says:

    The whole “body and blood” business got a lot of unfriendly rumours going about Christians under the pagan Roman Empire.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Interestingly, Protestants of most denominations and sects (including the Southern Baptists of your childhood, IIRC) don’t believe in substantiation of any sort and hold that the eucharist/Lord’s supper/communion service is not a sacrament, merely an ordinance–something we do because Jesus commanded it (“do this for the remembrance of me”). Nonetheless, I started being accused of belonging to a sect that practiced “ritual human cannibalism” as a joke shortly after people started reading Heinlein. Getting this point wrong is as common as dandelions and scotch broom.

  25. Mikey says:

    So my 81 year old mom who has COPD and refuses to get vaccinated just got COVID again. Ugh. She’s starting Paxlovid tonight which should take care of it, but still worrying.

  26. Rick DeMent says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Interestingly, Protestants of most denominations and sects (including the Southern Baptists of your childhood, IIRC) don’t believe in substantiation of any sort

    Really? I was a Lutheran growing up (Missouri Synod) They taught us transubstantiation, hell 13 year old me wanted to snake a camera down my throat to try and prove to the world the righteousness of my, imposed upon me by my family, deeply held religious faith.

    I was a handful at catechism.

  27. Jax says:

    @Mikey: I decline to “thumbs up” your post, but I wish her and you the best possible outcome. My Mom is going through her second round of cancer treatment, and “just hasn’t found the time” to update her Covid shots from the original one.

  28. Kathy says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    You could try consuming large quantities of host, eucharist, or whatever it’s called now, and check stool samples for DNA not your own over several days.

    I sometimes wonder how much the people in late antiquity understood about digestion, and if they knew where the “blood and body” of Jesús wound up.


    The Romans were civilized by their standards. One beef they’d had with Carthage, some centuries prior, was their practice of human sacrifice.

    How they squared that with the Roman practice of abandoning “unfit” infants outside their cities, you’d have to find and ancient Roman and ask them.

  29. Jax says:

    We have some folks in the commentariat from Hawai’i, are you safe?

  30. just nutha says:

    @Rick DeMent: Do remember that most, numerically at least, Protestant denominations are non-conforming and thus do not celebrate the mass. Misery Synod people believe in con-/trans-substantiation. So do other Lutherans, Anglicans, and Episcopalians. And thus ends the list of Protestants who do. At least pretty much.
    ETA: You’re not mistaken, only narrow in view.

  31. Rick DeMent says:

    @just nutha:

    Damn, thanks for sending me down a rabbit hole. The number of nominally Christian denominations and sub-groups is endless.