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:

    Another mass shooting. Must be a day ending in “Y” in America.

    In another SSDD headline, Clarence Thomas has another nail in his corruption coffin.

    In good news, Ford and the UAW negotiators have reached a deal.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Clarence Thomas’ excuse on this one is that he didn’t think he needed to report gifts from personal friends. “Meet my closest buddy, Joe Corporate Pollution Lobbyist, Jr.”

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: I thought his excuse was that he had no ethics.

  4. Tony W says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Why should he have ethics?

    Seriously. What would be the point?

    There is a zero percent chance he will be impeached under any circumstances. Full stop.

    His SCOTUS vote counts the same no matter what he is doing elsewhere. There are no repercussions at all for any behavior he wants to engage in.

    So why not cash in?

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rural residents in east North Carolina are being shit on. That’s the crude but literal way to put the very grave injustice captured in The Smell of Money, Shawn Bannon’s infuriating documentary about the harm committed by factory farming against humans, animals and the environment.

    The film captures the toxic hog waste produced in North Carolina’s concentrated animal feeding operations, which is then sprayed across fields near people’s homes, producing a foul and debilitating stench that has severe health impacts. Longtime residents like Elsie Herring and Rene Miller (who spoke out in a Guardian investigation on the same issue) are among the few who resiliently stand their ground and continue to fight back. They do so despite police harassment, intimidation and other insidious attempts to silence them in a state where many citizens are employed by the same industry.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tony W: Like I said, a complete lack of ethics. Except for, “Money money, money, money…”

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Astronomers have witnessed the creation of rare heavy elements in the aftermath of a violent collision between two neutron stars that were booted out of their home galaxy about 1bn light years away. The cataclysmic explosion unleashed a burst of gamma rays more than 1m times brighter than the Milky Way and blasted material into space that formed the rare element tellurium and others known as actinides and lanthanides. The more common elements iodine and thorium are also thought to have been forged in the event.

    It is the first time such a cosmic spectacle, known as a kilonova, has been observed with the James Webb space telescope, which enabled astronomers to identify the elements produced in the collision by their infrared signatures.
    Neutron stars are incredibly dense and compact objects, as massive as the sun but as small as a city. Astronomers were alerted to the potential neutron-star collision in March when they detected an intense burst of gamma rays from deep space, the second brightest recorded in the past 50 years. Drawing on an array of ground- and space-based detectors and telescopes, researchers first located the source of the 200-second radiation burst and then trained the James Webb space telescope on the aftermath.

    Over a period of days, the light from the collision changed from blue to red, a hallmark of a kilonova. The neutron stars appeared to have been kicked out of a bright galaxy spotted nearby before merging 120,000 light years away – the width of the Milky Way – several hundred million years later.

    Pretty cool. Gotta love that James Webb telescope.

  8. charontwo says:
  9. gVOR10 says:

    @Tony W:

    There are no repercussions at all for any behavior he (Clarence Thomas) wants to engage in.

    I always like to point out that there’s nothing unique about Clarence Thomas. The other eight are subject to the same lack of constraints. The law, in its majestic equality, allows Leonard Leo and the Billionaire Boys Club to bribe R and D justices alike.

  10. CSK says:

    According to the NY post, a half-naked man, Daniel Garcia, broke into a Jewish family’s home in L.A. on Wednesday, threatening to kill them while yelling “Free Palestine!”

  11. becca says:

    Looks like our new Speaker Johnson is a Leonard Leo acolyte, would not just nullify gay marriage, but criminalize homosexuality. National abortion ban, no aid to Ukraine, the man is a menace to humanity. All in for Israel, of course. What a f’cking nightmare.

    Jim Jordan would actually have been less dangerous.

  12. Mister Bluster says:

    People kill people with guns in this country because they can.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charontwo: I saw that earlier today. My first thought was, “That owner may get murdered in their sleep if they aren’t careful.”

  14. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Cats don’t have owners. The people who live with a cat are called “the staff.”

  15. Kathy says:


    That cat should get a Noble Prize 😉

  16. Kathy says:

    Enthusiasm for seasonal vaccines had fallen off a cliff.

    Last year around this time, there were numerous ads for flu vaccines, and some government ads for a flu vaccine campaign as well. This year, nothing. Government, in fact, once you find the info, is recommending flu vaccines only for those over 60*, pregnant women, or people with chronic disease.

    There’s also a COVID booster available. I must admit it makes me hesitate. The shot is the Cuban vaccine, about which I’ve little info. last I heard, it required three doses. I assume only one would do for a booster. But I’ve no clue what type of vaccine it is (virus vector, sub-unit, weakened trump virus, etc.), nor what strain(s) it targets.

    I haven’t heard it has caused any problems or major issues. So, I’d take it in lieu of nothing, but what I really want is any shot developed for something other than the original strain.

    *Those over 60 would benefit greatly if those under 60 weren’t passing flu around.

  17. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..Noble Prize.

    Or maybe a Doorbell Prize…

  18. Jen says:

    @gVOR10: Well, Thomas is the only one of the nine who has clearly had a chip on his shoulder since his hearing, and his behavior just reeks of entitlement.

    I think there is something different about him, he thinks that he is OWED this largesse.

  19. Rick DeMent says:


    The law, in its majestic equality, allows Leonard Leo and the Billionaire Boys Club to bribe R and D justices alike.

    Sure, but are they? I am absolutely positive that the liberal justices’ haven’t done anything in the same galaxy as Thomas. Why? Am I just a smooth brained commie liberal that is spoon fed and uncritically believes anything I am told but the deep state? Well maybe but that not why I believe what I do.

    I believe it because we know for a fact that the Right wing spin machine has been looking at all three Liberal judges going over every single piece of information they can lock onto and if there was even an out of place coupon or anything that they could possibly spin up they would have created a committed to investigate and get to the bottom of it. They would be spinning up tails of cozy relationships to known pedophiles and late term abortion doctors, and that would be just for starters. The only way all this information against Thomas is going unchallenged with a fire hose of whataboutisum is that the liberal justices must be actual living saints.

    Also, what case(s) exactly could they be bribed about?

  20. gVOR10 says:

    @Rick DeMent:

    Sure, but are they? (The Billionaire Boys Club bribing liberal justices)

    No, of course not.

    Also, what case(s) exactly could they be bribed about?

    And that’s why. Everyone want to look at this legalistically as garden variety bribery, here’s an envelope of cash, vote my way on the rezoning. This is the big leagues. The Harlan Crows and Paul Singers and Anthony Welter aren’t bush league bribers offering cash for a quid pro quo, which they all know would be illegal if proven. The Federalist justices were selected, groomed, and promoted, at great expense, for loyalty to a point of view and a class. There’s always a risk that they’ll pull an Earl Warren and go all squishy and reasonable. These wealthy “friends” are handlers, coordinated by Leonard Leo to stroke and reward the justices to maintain their class loyalty.

  21. gVOR10 says:

    @gVOR10: Serendipity. I read WAPO and NYT earlier this morning. I just pulled up The Guardian to get the actual news. They have an in-depth article on the influence of the Koch network on the Court.

    The network has been working behind the scenes to bring cases before the court that, if successful, could undermine many of the core functionings of the US government. At least two of the biggest cases to be considered by the justices this term have been spurred by groups bankrolled and coordinated within the Koch universe.

    This is what the Kochtopus has been working toward. They care about guns and abortion only to keep the rubes on board. The regulatory state, along with taxes, are what they really care about. This article doesn’t mention the Federalist Society. The Kochtopus is not only selecting cases to put before the court, they’ve selected several of the justices that will hear their cases.

    But the scope of Charles Koch’s reach remains formidable, as was demonstrated earlier this month when the 87-year-old told Forbes that he had given $4.3bn of his Koch Industries stock to Believe in People, a newly created group named after his book of the same title. He has transferred a further $975m to another new entity, CCKc4, which carries the initials of his son Chase Koch.

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: I think you left out Samuel “the public has no business commenting on our conduct” Alito.

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: You’re right, I should’ve said “slave.”

  24. Bill Jempty says:

    @just nutha: My wife used to have a blouse that said- ‘Slave to my cat’.

  25. Kathy says:

    I did a little more reading on the Cuban vaccine. It’s a sub-unit type, meaning it’s made of bioengineered spike proteins, and I suppose an added adjuvant for immune response.

    there’s little data besides, and most of it dates to the mid 2021. By then it showed 92% effectiveness against disease. That was in Cuba at the time, and probably before they got hit by Delta.

    I would take it. Sub-unit shots are safe. Thing is, it will likely be given only to people above 60, pregnant, or with a chronic health condition.

  26. Kathy says:

    on the little things front, I just made the shallowest cut ever.

    We were packing some old documents in boxes. When I cut the tape a little too close to my left index finger, the tip of the cutting knife barely grazed the epidermis along maybe one centimeter.

    You can see a line, if you look hard enough, but there was no blood. When I cleaned it with hydrogen peroxide, it didn’t sting. I think I got just the top layer of dead skin cells on the surface.

  27. CSK says:

    Trump is ranting against “Maggot” Haberman for her coverage of his fraud trial.

  28. dazedandconfused says:


    Said Cohen was “Chocking (sic) like a dog..” too. Classic covfefe.

  29. CSK says:


    Did he chock on a hamberder?

  30. CSK says:

    Jack Smith has accused Trump of threatening Mark Meadows.

  31. gVOR10 says:

    But after action Congress took last year he’ll (Johnson) have little ability to interfere with the 2024 presidential election, unless he refused to follow the law. – Reuters

    Why do I find that less comforting than Reuters seems to have intended? At least Biden will be Commander in Chief.

  32. Kathy says:


    If Smith wants to get anywhere, he’ll quit asking for a gag order and charge Benito with witness intimidation.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Bill Jempty: I find “slave” to be pejorative. The fact that the cat pays no wages to its employees is clearly due to its lack of capital resources. Cats would undoubtedly pay much higher wages than say… McDonalds or Dollar Tree… if only cats had money (and opposable thumbs with which to hold the paycheck-writing pen, of course).

  34. charontwo says:

    This is my district. Lesko is pretty far right, Masters is extreme right. The district is +R enough this putz probably gets elected.

    Blake Masters, a Republican venture capitalist who lost an expensive bid to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate last year, announced Thursday that he’s running for a seat in the House of Representatives.

    Masters, an ally of former president Donald Trump, is running to replace Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) in the state’s 8th Congressional District, which encompasses suburbs northwest of Phoenix. Lesko announced last week that she will not seek reelection in 2024.

    In a campaign video accompanying his announcement, Masters, 37, says he will focus his legislative efforts on tackling inflation, U.S.-Mexico border security and water security. A cover image for the video shows Masters side by side with Trump

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Either that or Diet Coke.

  36. Paine says:

    What’s especially infuriating about this latest shooting is that it really highlights the hierarchy of “rights” in this country. Commonsense gun regulations in hopes of keeping guns out of the hands of nutjobs? No way. Locking down an entire city of 30,000+ people in hopes of tracking down the guy with the gun? Business shutting down, causing people to lose work hours? Innocents getting gunned down while bowling? Not a problem. Zero rights violated. Rights of a minority take precedent and the rest of us have to cower in fear or die as a result..

  37. Kathy says:

    Odds and ends while I wait for a customer to upload a file to the platform. it was due at 9 am, so it should be any minute now…

    Microsoft announced an “autopilot” feature for their Office suite and other popular software. It’s supposed to integrate ChatGPT to aid in tasks. It seems to me like an updated Clippy, now with data mining! It hasn’t rolled out in Office, as far as I know, but it’s on Edge already, at least in Win11 (I don’t run Edge at home on Win10 often enough to notice). Look for an off icon in Edge theme colors in the upper right corner of the browser.

    I may have found a decent good coffee at a reasonable price. My stockpile of coffees from Veracruz, Chiapas, and Oaxaca have run out. At the supermarket, there are all kinds of fancy coffees, claiming to be from these states, but also from Brazil and Colombia. they are all hellishly expensive, especially against what I can get when one of our department goes to Veracruz or Oaxaca.

    But I found one with the name of a Chiapas roaster I recognized from earlier purchases. So I tried it. it’s approx. $10 US for 454 grams (also known as a pound for some reason). It was good, considering it wasn’t roasted nor ground recently.

    The other day I wondered what would happen to an organism without a working immune system if it were infected. I don’t mean a weakened system, or one suppressed with drugs, or even one ravaged by HIV. Rather no immune system at all. No macrophages, neutrophils, interferons, complement, B cells, T cells, natural killer cells, etc.

    This is an impossibility. But if it could happen, then I concluded a virus would simply keep multiplying in whatever cells it could, until it damaged the organism’s organs or structures enough to kill it.

    Well, duh. What happens to a structure without a fire suppression system if it catches fire, and no fire department ever shows up? Same thing.

    But in tracing what wouldn’t happen, I realized I don’t have a clear picture of how memory B cells work. That is, how they “know” or are “told” to get back into action. Memory T cells stay around the infection area, so it’s plain to see how they’d operate. But memory B cells find a spot in the bone marrow, presumably near the infection area as well.

    What exactly happens then, and how, I’m really fuzzy on.

  38. DrDaveT says:


    Clarence Thomas’ excuse on this one is that he didn’t think he needed to report gifts from personal friends.

    Did he report it on his income tax? Did his benefactor report the gift tax hit?

  39. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: Bing is already providing rudimentary answers for Web search questions in a sidebar box. The scripts it uses seem consistently appropriate to the questions but usually only repeat what I can read in the headers for the search links. Hmm…